I do hope that I’m not repeating myself because I could have sworn that I had already done a post on our visit to Crichton Castle, but it doesn’t seem to be on the blog, and the photos weren’t on Flickr, so I must just have written the post in my head – and got no further!
Anyway, as I remember it was a lovely visit to the castle which has quite a long footpath leading to it after you park your car. We had it all to ourselves although as we were leaving some other people turned up.
Crichton Castle is near the village of Pathead in Midlothian, not that far south of Edinburgh. The oldest part of the castle was built in the late 14th century, but by the time Mary, Queen of Scots attended a wedding there it must have looked quite different.
It was owned by the Earl of Bothwell who became Mary’s third husband – really that poor woman should have been much wiser and been more like her cousin Elizabeth I and eschewed marriage altogether.
The castle has a scale and platt staircase, in other words a straight staircase with landings, instead of the normal spiral staircase that castles of that age have. Francis Stewart who owned the castle in the 1580s was inspired by a trip to Italy and copied an Italianate style, adding fancy diamond rustication to the courtyard wall, medieval stone cladding I suppose.
You need to put your initials on your castle obviously!
The setting is lovely, high above a river with plenty of trees around.
The castle features in Sir Walter Scott’s Marmion and was painted by J.M.W. Turner in 1818.
We’ve been having fab weather recently and as we were travelling to Perthshire again to visit our youngest son we thought we would set off early and squeeze in a visit to Elcho Castle on the way. I must admit that I had never even heard of Elcho until recently. It’s very far off the beaten track, unlike many castles which you can see clearly from roads. Elcho is a 16th century tower house, one of the best preserved in Scotland. It’s a combination of a keep and a mansion house, it was built for defence but by the time it was finished there was not much fear of it being attacked.
Elcho is miles down a narrow road and you think you’re never going to get to it, you even have to drive through a farmyard, but when you get there it’s definitely worth it as you can see.
Elcho Castle still has its roof on although some of the internal floors are no longer in existence you still get a feeling of how it must have been in its heyday.
The photo above is of the main staircase which is quite a bit wider than in most castles of this age. There are a lot of much narrower spiral staircases all around the castle, those ones were meant to be used by the staff who weren’t supposed to use these ones.
That wider staircase leads to the room above which is the grandest room, it’s full of light on a bright day anyway, it must have been lovely when it was all furnished, panelled and hung with tapestries.
And below is a view of the River Tay from the top of the castle. As you can see it’s a great location. The castle has always been accessed by river and road but given that the road nowadays is very twisty turny and narrow I think that most people and ‘stuff’ would have been taken to and from the castle via boat.
I have lots more photos to show you but I’ll leave that for tomorrow. If you’re interested in the architectural details of this building you can read more here.