Doune Castle in Stirlingshire

A couple of weeks ago we visited Doune Castle which is not far from Stirling, we hadn’t visited it before although we’ve been to Doune quite a lot and even looked at a house in the village when we were house-hunting prior to J’s retirement. The castle was built in the 14th century.

Doune Castle

There’s some work requiring scaffolding going on at part of the castle.

Doune Castle
Like many such places it has been used as a location for TV programmes and films and probably because of the plummeting pound it has seen a big increase in visitor numbers, especially from the US. I’m beginning to think that Diana Gabaldon should be given some sort of award from the Scottish government – for her services to tourism in Scotland.

Doune Castle

There was also a wedding going on in the kitchen of all places while we were there and the bride was due any minute so we only got a quick look at the kitchen, the guests were already waiting for her to arrive.

Doune Castle Courtyard
Doune Castle has been famous for quite a long time though as it was used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Game of Thrones.

Internally it has some quite grand rooms that would have been more suitable for a wedding I think, but maybe that would have meant closing down most of the castle and they wouldn’t want to do that.

Doune Castle Interior
You can see more images of Doune Castle here.

Doune Castle Interior

The staircase below started off fine but got progressively narrower and steeper, it’s amazing to me that people manage to negotiate them without breaking something, although I did hear of one lady who got stuck in a staircase at Culross Palace!
Doune Castle Interior
Most of these National Trust properties have a dressing up box for the children, but at Doune it’s for adults who fancy dressing up as Clare from Outlander! One lady was desperate to try a dress on but I think they were all in Claire’s size so she had to give up trying. In the shop they have for sale replicas of Claire’s riding jacket priced at £200. I think you would have to be a fairly dedicated fan (or nutter) to shell out that sort of money.
Castle Interior  Dressing up

We went for a walk around the castle and it was only then that we realised how well positioned it is. They built it on high ground at the confluence of two rivers, the River Teith and the Ardoch Burn so it wasn’t going to be easy for any attackers to gain access from those sides. There were a few men fishing in the Teith.
River at Doune

Doune,River

There isn’t a tearoom at the castle but we enjoyed coffee, scones and cake at Willows Dell which is in the village of Doune nearby. You can see photos of the village here.

Willows Dell

Callander

Recently, we’ve got into the habit of going for a drive at the weekend to have a bit of a snoop around towns which we think might have possibilities as a good place to move to. My husband is hoping to take early retirement in a year or so. So as we didn’t have anything else planned we found ourselves setting out for the Callander area in Stirlingshire on Saturday.

Callander 1

On the plus side Callander is situated in a lovely scenic area, all hills and lochs instead of the usually grey North Sea which we live close to here. It’s a nice wee town, more scenic than the photos make it look and it’s closer to the west of Scotland and our home town of Dumbarton, so my husband might be able to see more home football matches during the season. Every part of Scotland seems to be stuffed full of history but this bit is probably even more so than others. It’s close to Stirling with all its ancient Royal and William Wallace connections and it’s Rob Roy MacGregor country too. There is a second-hand bookshop in the town!! But there are quite a lot of things which aren’t so good.

Callander 2

We don’t really know the area well and we don’t know anybody there – that could be a plus I suppose! The town is in a tourist area and most of the shops cater for tourists. There are lots of whisky shops, woollen mill shops and outdoor clothing/camping/hiking shops – but there isn’t a big supermarket. It’s much more rural than we’ve been used to, at the moment we live a short walk away from Marks and Spencer and the usual shops in a medium sized town. We’re near a railway station and Edinburgh is a hop and a skip away.

On the other hand I hardly ever go to the shops because I’ve reached that stage in life when I don’t really need anything, in fact I’m trying to de-clutter! So Callander isn’t being written off – it’s a maybe. I wonder what it’s like during the winter?

We do enjoy hill-walking but most of the hills around that area are really steep. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop the car at any of the really lovely hills. These ones are rather tame looking but you can just see a wind farm in the distance. I don’t mind them actually but I don’t suppose I would like to have one on my doorstep. So, the search goes on!

Hills and Wind Farm near Doune.