Bonnie Doune

Continued from Bittersweet Memories

After Stirling, I took a moment to decide my next move.  Central Scotland offers many choices, but considering I wanted to get to Linlithgow Palace before returning to Edinburgh, I decided to keep the next stop brief.  Nearby was Doune Castle, known as the setting for two of my favorite things…Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the television series Outlander.

As I drove towards Doune, I took some time to enjoy the scenery, now that I’d settled in to driving on the “wrong” side of the road.  It was a partly cloudy day but that did nothing to dampen the view.  Driving around on small country roads, with nothing but fields of green and moody mountains in the distance.  I finally pulled over at a turnoff just so I could take a few pictures….after taking a few out the front window of my moving car, which I decided wasn’t my best idea ever.

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After a few miles of glorious countryside, the road narrowed and my GPS indicated I was to take the next left.  Before I continue, let me just state for the record that I was driving a car the size of a roller skate, which you would think could just about get through any tight spot the roads of Scotland could throw at me.  Not so.  The left I was to take was a ridiculously sharp turn between two stone walls. The “two lane” (insert sarcasm) road essentially came up to the main road at at thirty degree angle, meaning even if I turned my tiny car as far to the left as the steering wheel would turn, I still had to stop, back up and turn again to make the curve.  Right after this was another sharp turn right into a one lane paved road….and of course there was a car trying to come up the road.  After some nail biting and very close maneuvering, we made it past each other and I proceeded to the parking lot of Doune.

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I made my way up the pathway to the castle itself. Built sometime in the fourteenth century, Doune isn’t a very large place. It is possible it could once have been much larger, but today it is a shell of its former self.  I walked through the door into the courtyard, assessed the situation in terms of touring, and then decided to skip the tour as my lack of sleep was pushing over twenty-four hours and my energy was fading fast.  Instead, I walked around the perimeter of the castle, which sits upon an earthen mound that probably predates the castle itself.

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For a time, the leader of all of Scotland lived here, but that was back around the 1380’s.  Since then it hasn’t seen much action, unless you count the Knights of the Round Table,  Jamie Fraser, or the Starks of Winterfell.  They have all been here at one time or the other.

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail (courtesy of YouTube)
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Outlander (courtesy of Starz)
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Game of Thrones (courtesy of HBO)

Apparently somewhere to the side of the castle mound itself is the River Teith, although I couldn’t see it.  It was a quick visit to Doune, but I’m glad I stopped by.  Maybe next time I’ll take the tour, but for now it was on to Linlithgow…

…to be continued…

All photos not marked are by the author.

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