summer 1983, Mr Peck and traveling companion Jane set off on the first of many
trips to Scotland. Is Scotland a country? Or a province of England, or what? Never
mind, it's always wonderful, even when the fog's in and the mist is rising to
You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
in the Castle Acre Priory in Norfolk. We're taking the scenic route northwards
towards Scotland, back in 1983, and viewing as many castles as is humanly possible
whilst we're at it.
example, Castle Rising in Norfolk, England, begun in 1140 and later the seat of
the Howards, Dukes of Norfolk, from the 16th century onwards; here adorned by
traveling companion Jane, July 1983.
Whitby Abbey, where the religious guys gathered to pray and make illuminated gospels,
Castle, something about Bothwell and Mary Queen of Scots hiding out, a fine faux-Italian
Renaissance tiled courtyard in the centre (link to courtyard photo
on CastleXplorer site).
Castle, a little southeast of Edinburgh, dating from the end of the 14th century.
Castle, west of Aberdeen, with cartwheeler, July 1983
Castle, where all the best Loch Ness monster sightings take place: a welcome night
camping under the parapets on the shore, during a cross-country kayak trip in
1983. Begun in the 13th century, the castle was pretty much blown up by a departing
garrison of soldiers in 1692.
back through the splendid Isle of Skye, the travelers visited Dunvegan Castle
in the northwest, where the charming McLeod of McLeod himself came down in his
lovely little kilt to show us round and suggest that we, like McLeods all over
the world, might wish to contribute to pay for a new roof on the castle.
south again, here's Caerloverock Castle south of Glasgow. Great moat, not much
else left. Who doesn't know the feeling?? It's unique as a three-sided castle,
begun in about 1300 but demolished by Robert Bruce, rebuilt and then demolished
again in the 17th century.
Castle, in Cumbria, 1983 -- dating from the 1090s, already ruined by 1174, rebuilt
and maintained by the Cliffords until pretty much abandoned in the 17th century.
But here we are, so that's all right.
in the Cairngorm mountains -- a 16th century tower, with mid-18th century star-shaped
fort walls. It saw great service in the 19th century as a base for tax officials
trying to collect taxes on the reluctant whiskey distilleries.
fantastic Eilean Donan castle, on Loch Alsh not far from the Isle of Skye -- built
in 1220 to protect against Vikings, but levelled by the English in 1719 to drive
out a garrison of Spanish soldiers.
was reconstructed in the 1920s by the then-owners, the McRae family, based upon
(if my memory of our visit serves) a groundplan viewed in a dream by one of the
McRaes' gardeners. The arch bridge was added at that time, and served as the setting
of an evocative early scene of clan warfare in the The Highlander (1986). Here it serves as the setting for Marlowe in 1985, riding on her charger
'Jane', thundering across it to do battle with the Clan MacLunch.
stunning medieval Eilean Donan, built to a gardener's dream vision in the 1920s.
of Dunottar, just south of Aberdeen, has always been fortified and got whacked
by Vikings in the 800s and by the English several times since. In 1651, during
Cromwell's invasion of Scotland, the Scots crown jewels were brought here for
safe-keeping, but it wasn't so safe after all. The castle withstood an eight-months'
seige by the English but then got thoroughly trashed -- in the meantime, however,
the crown jewels had been neatly smuggled out and got away.
companion Jane viewing Dunnotar Castle in 1983 prior to setting up a camp . .
. nearby. The extraordinary scenery provided background footage of Elsinore in
Mel Gibson's film version of Hamlet.