Monday, April 23, 2012

My Scotland ~ Her Castles ~ A Little History by Allison Butler


I find it hard to believe it's been almost nine years since my husband and I travelled to Scotland. For my husband, it was the first trip back to his homeland in thirty-two-years. For me, it was the first trip to the destination of my dreams.

I remember my excitement - I started the countdown a year before our departure date, so had plenty of time for my anticipation to build:) - and armed with my new camera - analogue back then - I took many amazing photos. I'd like to share a few of them with you, along with a little history on things I found fascinating. Please sit back and enjoy ~

We crossed the Border into Scotland on a bright Summer's day ~

Heading west we came upon Gretna Green's Blacksmith's Cottage where many couples still get married ~
We continued on and then...that's when I realised I was no longer dreaming. That's when I laid eyes on my very first real, live Scottish castle -

The gatehouse entrance with its two great drum towers.
Isn't she lovely?
I was in AWE! I took a ridiculous amount of photos - I think we have at least a dozen identical shots to the one above - I refuse to take full responsibility in this matter for my husband stole my new camera from me and took an even more ridiculous amount of photos:)
As you can imagine, Caerlaverock Castle has since held a special place in my heart. Not only because it was the first real, live Scottish castle I ever saw, but because of its formidable beauty and its timeless strength.
Please allow me to share a little history about this medieval fortress ~
The family appear on record in the early twelfth century in Roxburghshire when Maccus, son of Undwin was granted lands by the king. But it was the estate granted to Maccus's grandson, Sir John De Maccuswell, at Caerlaverock about 1220 which was soon adopted as the principal seat of the family and stayed as such for the next four hundred years.
Sir John built the original castle which was situated in the woods to the south of the present castle. Occupied for a short time due to being built too close to the salt marshes of the Solway Firth, only the grassy earthen mound and the occasional stretch of stonework are visible now. The new castle was built 200 meters to the north, more securely founded on rock.  
Caerlaverock Castle From The Air ~ Surrounding the castle are two moats, the outer one now dry, but the inner moat still has a good amount of water lapping at the walls and towers.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Due to its position so close to the Border and with the constant power struggle between England and Scotland, Caerlaverock withstood several sieges and underwent numerous rebuilding's from 1300 until 1640. Depending on its keeper's allegiances, Caerlaverock wavered between being known as an English stronghold or a Scottish stronghold.
Caerlaverock Ruins and Inner Moat
Caerlaverock Inner Court - the heart of every castle - and Nithsdale Lodgings (added about 1634)

Fireplace, Oven and Well
After the 1640 siege, the castle was partially dismantled by the Covenanters and this time fell into decay. Caerlaverock was placed in state care in 1946 and having gained a secure structural reinforcement, visitors today and in the future can be awed - as I was - and learn from its remains.
Caerlaverock West Tower
Thanks for accompanying me as I relive my trip to Scotland. I hope you'll return and enjoy my next treasured memory as I journey on to...Ah, but that's another blog:)
Do you have treasured memories from a particular place you've been? Or do you have a dream destination you'd love to visit?


Cheryl Leigh said...

Thanks for a fascinating post into Caerlaverock's history, Allison!

I felt the same excitement when I first visited Scotland. It's a magical country, isn't it? I think I took the same amount of photos as you, LOL. I'm looking forward to your next post on Scotland.

Allison Butler said...

It sure is a magical country, Cheryl. I fell in love with Scotland before we went and fell all over again the moment we arrived:)
I'm so pleased we aren't the only ones who take a ridiculous amount of photos *g* I love every one!
Thanks so much for popping in:)

Anonymous said...

Thank-you Alison for sharing your wonderful memories and the interesting history of that particular castle.
I loved your photos. My dream as a wee lass (lol) was to wonder what it would be like to see any part of the UK.
Over 40 years later, I got my dream.
And we greedily took in Wales, Cornwall and Scotland.
No-one could ever tell me that is not God's land over there.
Truly magnificent.

Allison Butler said...

Hi Mary,
I'm so thrilled your dream as a wee lass finally came true. From what you've said it was well worth the 40 year wait. I totally understand and don't think you were greedy at all:)
I'm stoked you love my photos. Thanks so much for stopping by to share your dream:)

Connie said...

Scotland is at the top of my Bucket List and I do hope to get there one day soon. Thank you so much for the fabulous tour of this gorgeous castle. Now, I must get busy and plan that trip! Looking forward to your next blog!

Christina Phillips said...

What a fascinating post, Allison, and I love your photos of Caerlaverock Castle. I remember touring the remains of ancient British castles when my kids were little - I think I might have enjoyed those school trips more than they did! I've been to Scotland a couple of times but unfortunately only for flying visits, years ago. I would absolutely love to go back for a proper holiday!

Cassandra Samuels said...

Wow. Love learning the history of buildings because it reminds you of the fact that real people once lived in them.
Can't wait to go back and discover more of Scotland myself. I only got as far as Edinburgh and simply ran out of time. I also took a whole sd card of photos.

Melissa said...

Hi Alli,

such a picture-perfect post:) You can never have enough photos of bonnie Scotland! Thanks so much for sharing your fascinating travels and can't wait to read about your next Scottish destination:)

Allison Butler said...

Oh, Connie. You simply MUST get yourself to Scotland. You'll love it!
Caerlaverock is a gorgeous castle, isn't she? Best of luck planning your wonderful trip. It took us a year to plan ours and was totally worth the research and effort. Thanks so much for dropping in to say hello:)

Allison Butler said...

Hi Christina,

I'm so pleased you like my Caerlaverock castle photos:)
I agree, you definitely have to return to Scotland and give yourself time to explore properly. I just know you won't regret it.
Thanks for popping in:)

Allison Butler said...

Hi Cassandra,
You're so right. Learning about a building's history does remind us that it was once occupied by people and was once someone's home.
You simply have to return and continue your explorations.
Aren't photos wonderful reminders of where we've been, what we've seen and who we've met? I could sit and get lost in our photos for days. Thank you for stopping by:)

Allison Butler said...

Hi Melissa (waving madly:)

Thanks so much for your kind words:) But honestly, I can't really take any credit for my gorgeous photos. I just captured the beauty of what was in front of me in a still shot. Over and over and over again LOL.
Thank you so much for popping in:)

Eleni Konstantine said...

Amazing photos and info. Thanks!

Allison Butler said...

Hi Eleni,

I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and the brief history. Thanks so much for dropping by:)

Allison Butler said...

Happy ANZAC Day Everyone!

Lest We Forget.