When we visited Edzell Castle last week we realised that there must have been a source of water nearby, although it certainly wasn’t obvious, so we went on a wee walk in search. About a half a mile as the crow flies from the castle and maybe double that by the road we found the West Water which if you were travelling by car you would have no idea it was there as it’s down quite a steep and wooded path off the road. It’s lovely and clear, quite fast running, and with rocks to sit on it would be a lovely place for a picnic.
As you can see the surrounding rock is red sandstone, the same rock which Edzell Castle was built from, presumably there’s an old quarry nearby.
We walked across Pirner’s Brig, which is quite a high and not very steady feeling metal bridge, but we survived!
The photos below are the ones I took on my phone.
Some of the surrounding rocks are conglomerate, with big pebbles stuck in the sandstone, when they are washed out by the water it leaves big indentations in the sandstone.
And just to finish off, here’s photo I took of the view of the castle gardens from a window seat within the castle ruins. You have to imagine how it would have looked with cushions on the stone seats and maybe a nice tapestry to lean back on, and of course glass in the window. That would have been my favourite place to read a book, but the view of the garden would have been a distraction!
The garden at Edzell Castle dates back to 1604. Apparently Sir David Lindsay wanted the protection that a medieval castle gave him and his family, but he also wanted his children to experience the more beautiful things in life such as this renaissance garden. You can read about it here.
The niches in the walls are normally planted with flowers but due to Covid it hasn’t been done this year, most of the historic places have just reopened to the public, the gardener is also having a tough time with the box hedging which was famous for its intricate topiarised Latin inscriptions, but sadly the box got blight and is nothing like it should be, it is being replanted I think but it’ll be ages before it’s back to its former glory as in the old image below.
The wee house in the next photo is a summerhouse which was used for entertaining in the garden.
The walls have carvings of planetary gods on them and the swallows often nest in the small wall niches, especially the star shaped ones.
There’s a well in a corner of the garden and when I had a look down into it (as you do) I could see that there was no water in it, just some sweetie wrappings deposited there by some ‘charmer’. So that led us to go on a search for the source of the water as you can’t have a castle without a water supply. Presumably there was a burn (stream) which supplied the well in days gone by but it must have been diverted or drained, probably by modern farming. We found the West Water about a mile from the castle, it’s a lovely walk down to the river with fast flowing clear water, but I’ll leave that for another time.
On Monday we visited Edzell Castle which is near Brechin in Angus. It’s the first time we had visited anywhere like that since Covid because they’ve all been shut until recently – and now you have to book a time slot for your visit, so you have to think ahead which isn’t something we normally do much of nowadays. Since retiring we prefer to see what the weather is like and what we feel like and then just visit places on the spur of the moment. In other words, we’re not terribly well organised! We had been to the garden 30 odd years ago, before digital cameras.
The castle was built by the Lindsay family in the 1500s but prior to that they had built a motte and bailey nearby. From the photo below you can see it’s now just a mound in the landscape. It is now owned by Historic Scotland.
Back to Edzell, the doorway below leads into a courtyard and from there you can see the remains of the kitchen and you can get upstairs via a modern wooden staircase.
But there’s also an ancient staircase, just mind your ‘heid’ as the lintels are very low!
The photo of the archway below is all that remains of the collapsed oven, it was quite a size.
In the photo below you can just catch a glimpse of the garden which is well known for it’s unusual and beautiful design, but I’ll blog about that tomorrow.