I haven’t been to Paris in nine years. When I was 19, I went to Paris for the first time, and like most 19 years olds, it felt like I was seeing the whole world in one city. Like most 19 year olds, Paris was the epitome of culture, art, and food. We saw what we could, we basked in its glory, we imagined the past. I loved Paris before I arrived there, full of ideals from Madeline to Moulin Rouge, I left Paris forever changed.
The glitz of the tourist trail was stunning. Tears were shed at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I “wowed” my way through Versailles, and I acted like a giddy child at the Musee de Cluny. Yet with all the power of other places the Cathedral de Notre Dame had a power that no other place I’ve been to does.
While England is well known as a hub for centuries of castles. And while it holds some of the finest examples of castle and manor architectural wonders, it lacks the density of castles that most visitors dream of, at least in modern visibility.
Since the pesky Normans invaded (1066, look it up) castle sprouted all over Britain and some 4,000 were in England at one point. However, time, and age, and people like Oliver Cromwell destroyed many of the finest castles Britain had. Today England has around 1,500 castles that are registered landmarks. Scotland has over 2,000 castle examples.
Scotland (30,090 sq mi), by comparison in land mass and distance to travel, is significantly smaller than England (50,301 sq mi). Scotland also has the benefit of some of the best castle examples being within a remarkably short drive or train from Edinburgh, Scotland. This reason alone is one of the many reasons why I have continued to return to Scotland for a taste of magic, history, and escapism.
Scotland is a major location to film historical and fictional movies due to its plethora of castles. Movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the Harry Potter Franchise, those which don’t tell particularly Scottish stories, are prime examples of the beauty of the region providing a great backdrop.
Thus, dear fellow travelers, Scotland is a prime spot for pulling on your wellies and tromping through some highlands to see some great Castles! Here are some of my absolute favorites.
Edinburgh Castle – You can’t visit Scotland and not stop at one of its main historical attractions. Not only is it the heart of the city, the entirety of it is surrounding by the stunning features of the city’s old town and views of the new town. The museums at the castle complex offer an unparalleled starting point into Scotland’s history.
Stirling Castle – Stirling is a fantastic neighboring city of Edinburgh, and only around an hour away by train or car. The city also boasts its own castle, built over the end of the 15th and into the 17th century, and a shining example of early modern period tastes and designs. I love the layout of this castle as it has dedicated itself to being an example of 16th century life in Scotland.
Doune Castle – Just outside of Stirling is the city of Doune, and one of the better loved castles for movie locations. Doune Castle was originally known as the “Holy Grail Castle” where one could take a photo with coconuts and run around pretending they were horse hooves. In the last five years or so it has become best known for some lusty shots from Outlander. For history geeks, this castle also boasts some great restoration and it is set among some stellar hiking trails and views.
Eilean Donan – As the most photographed castle in Scotland this one has to make the list. However, to many peoples’ surprise, this castle was not built long long ago in a land far away. The castle isn’t even 100 years old and was built by some scenery and history loving architects and owners who chose to celebrate the locations heritage. The spot of Eilean Donan was a hot spot for groups until the 1700s when most of the 13th century castle was restored.
DirletonCastle – Just a short trek from Edinburgh this greatcastle offers a lot of exploration and fun on one small location. If you’re upfor a game of hide and seek, this castle is the perfect one to get lost in andrevel in some history at.
Tantallon Castle – If you love ocean backdrops then thesea swept cliffs by Tantallonmake a visit worthwhile. Important historically, this castle is one of thefinest examples of medieval design and castle living, providing not onlyamazing views, but rich educational opportunities.
There are so many more to explore in Scotland, and more I have had theluxury of seeing. Where are your favorites? What do you want to see?
Sew. Well the actual stitching part hasn’t happened yet. But I am getting somewhere. Since it has been rainy and stressful I not only finished the book I was reading and I REALLY worked on costumes for Halloween.I bought my fabric a few weeks ago online to a few problems. 1 the wool I ordered was SUIT wool not wool for making a cape, so instead I went to the store and actually bought a black wool/polyester blend for only about $9/yard, I got less than recommended for my pattern, but I knew I didn’t want it way long on me, and too much wool becomes really heavy really fast. Especially on all the other layers I will be wearing.
black felt for cape
I also was not super fond of the color of linen I ordered, I wanted it to have a little more GREEN in it, so I bought a packet of forest green Dylon fabric dye to alter the color slightly, which I let my linen sit in for about an hour and got some great results.
dye job- use the sick for easy clean up and rubber mixer so as not to stain
LEFT: original color RIGHT: after dying
Other than that my white fabric for my chemise is perfect, white and a good sort of wrinkly, I’m excited about the results of that as well, but slightly concerned over if the sleeves will be long enough.
I’m also using these patterns, with slight revisions (more on that later):
Ryan’s costume is SO simple. If you want to do a GREAT KILT for Halloween, buy 5 yards of fabric, look up a tutorial and GO. That’s it. Granted Ryan already has a shirt from when we did the Princess Bride and we ordered some simply boots he can wear with socks and voila.
NOTE ON WIDTH: I couldn’t find 60″ wide plaid material ANYWHERE unless I wanted to buy a kilt, the cheapest was $220. So I went to Joann, bought 44″ wide cotton flannel (like for shirts) and made sure to get something close to a traditional tartan (Stuart Hunting) , which as far as I trust should be just fine. NOTE ON YARDS: you may not need 5 yards, less may work just fine, it all depends on how much you want to spent and how big your kilt wearer is.