To make up for the prior day’s shortened excursion, this day will be jam packed with sight seeing. This is also our last day staying near Stirling so we need to fit in whatever we can. Our trip is more than half completed now. The pressure is on not to miss one morsel, though I know some destinations will have to be sacrificed as time will catch up to us all too soon.
Somehow we have missed something exquisite near where we are staying. Dunblane Cathedral (kirk) is a true gem that dates back to the 13th century. It survived the reformation only because the Marquis of Argyll requested it be saved. Only the Catholic statues and imagery were taken out. The kirk is still in use today with services each Sunday morning.
Being in this space nearly made me weep. a few times my lashes wet with overwhelm. Incredibly deep feelings stirred. As a protestant, I am so thankful this masterpiece was not put to ruin simply for a difference of ideology and theology.
Every visitor was in quiet awe and reverence. This kirk is a must see for the religious and non-religious alike. It is that fantastic.
Back into the car to Campbell Castle we venture. Nestled very remotely into the upper hillside, it is quite a trek up the hill for us. I seriously complained as are my overworked calves. I can see children running and playing in the hills. They are so inviting. The castle was built in the late 15th century through the 16th century. Interestingly the most preserved portion of the structure is the oldest part. The Clan Campbell rose to importance out of relative obscurity before getting caught up in the reformation madness because the Marquis of Argyll allowed it’s use by Cromwell’s army.
As we head back down the hill, a middle aged couple and her well aged mother, who used a cane no less, were about 70% up the hill. Impressed barely describes my reaction. I shall not complain about how difficult the terrain is again. A determined, stubborn “old lady” who won my heart and gives me hope utterly fortified me.
Like clowns we jam back into the vehicle finding our way to Huntingtower Castle. I am so grateful my kids are excellent travelers and going along for the ride very well. Very few spats and grumbly moments between us this trip, but I doubt I’d want to go on Amazing Race with the husband.
This castle was built as two distinct buldings prior to a common room attaching them together. I especially liked the upper rooms and catwalks around the tower tops. Lovely land surrounded this small family estate.
A tale from Huntingtower is the daughter Dorothea leapt from one building to the next because she heard the footsteps of her suspicious mother who thought she was having improper relations with the man staying in that tower. She saved herself from getting caught by leaping tower to tower more than 30 feet up and swiftly getting back into bed before her mother was able to get to her room. Her mother apologized for doubting her. The next night Dorothea and her beloved ran off and eloped. I am sure her mother was none to pleased with her after all.
Our last stop of the day is Elcho Castle. Built as a castle in the 1560’s likely by Sir John Wemyss. It became a family retreat due to calmer political times. This by far is our favorite in the matter of being a truly livable floor plan. Of note, the lady of the house must have had a hand in the design as each room had it’s own en-suite style latrine shoots.
The outside garden must have been enviable with an orchard plentiful with fruit trees and herbs for cooking and medicinal use.
Unfortunately it’s time to go to the cottage and pack for our trip northward in the morning. Last minute laundry is accomplished before we settle in for the night.
Tomorrow is travel day to Inverness.
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