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From Mallaig to Inveraray, we see lots of castles

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 12 May 2005

Thursday 12 May, from Mallaig to Inveraray, we see lots of castles

Glenfinnan monument Glenfinnan monumentToday we want to go further south, but we have to leave this part of the country through Fort William and therefore first pass the Glenfinnan monument at the end of Loch Shiel. This is the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie gathered his army in 1745 that, after some unexpected and glorious victories, was crushed a year later at Culloden. But here he procalimed his father king James III of Scotland and so started the tragedy that would change Scotland and the Highlands forever.
Loch Shiel Loch ShielThe area around Loch Shiel is well-known for the eagles that fly around here, but we don't see them. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful region and one can imagine that an army, on a nice day like today, could be standing here cheering and hopeful, full of bravery. Personally, we think Charles Stewart should have stayed at Rome, where he was born.
Stalker CastleIt is another castle visiting day, today. At least, we pass quite a few, like Castle Stalker on the picture, build on a peninsula. With high tide you can only reach it by boat. It was built in the 16th century and restored after 1960.
Dunstaffnage CastleOn a strategic place along the Firth of Lorn we visit Dunstaffnage kasteel, built on a rock. Flora MacDonald has been imprisoned here after she had helped Bonnie Prince Charlie to escape from Scotland in 1746.
We see more castles, like Tioram and Kilchurn, but those photographs will be shown on the castle webpage. There are so many castles and castle-like buildings in Scotland, and we have only seen a few of them yet... And every trip we see more, also unexpected ones that are not on our castle map!
Inveraray Castle Inveraray CastleAt Inveraray, our final destination for today, we naturally visit the famous castle there. It is situated just outside the town and looks very impressive. The head of the Campbell clan (also called the Duke of Argyll) still lives there, but a few rooms are open for tourists. But after looking into the few rooms, we think the entrance fee of 6 pounds is much too high. It takes us only 15 minutes to walk through the small exhibitions.
Inveraray Jail Inveraray JailThe town itself is very nice and pleasant to walk through and we pay a visit to the old jail. It is now a very interesting museum and give a good insight into the life of prisoners (and their guardians) in the 19th century when this prison was at some point a progressive model prison. But we wouldn't like to spend a day in it! It becomes very clear that prisons only got an important function after the penalties for crimes were lowered: in the Middle Ages most crimes were punishes with a fine, a public flocking or just the death penalty and a prison to keep people for a longer period of time was not really necessary.
Inveraray Jail24 prisoners could be held here in 12 rooms with only one guard, who had to live in the prison, as the director. There is plenty of information about all the prisoners that have been kept here since 1820. Inside the prison grounds is a building which was used for trials, of which one can now follow a few from that time in the same building.
Enjoying the sunThe weather is very nice today, and when we leave prison we first head for a pub where we can sit outside. Inveraray may be a small town, but obviously, the tourists have found it already, since it is quite crowded. We stay in The George, a hotel directly next to the prison. It is an attractive place and we have a very good room (60 pound). Tomorrow we will go into the direction of Glasgow and after that Edinburgh, so less nature and more culture. We always regret it when we leave the west coast of Scotland, but we are sure more nice things are waiting for us.


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