Saturday, March 11, 2017

Scotland Story: Swooned by Sween

We decided to try to find a castle that was not really that far from where we were staying, but we just didn't have time on our anniversary trip to get there. Castle Sween, on Loch Sween, is on the far western coast of the Argyll region. We drove along the beautiful coastline, into hairpin curves, and past Scottish farms. We were on a completely back road for such a long time. It was a one way road that had a shoulder every so often, where cars could just pull off and yield to the oncoming. It was a good system, because the Scots are polite.

It began raining, and the water of the loch started kicking up. We saw sheep and tractors. The rain didn't seem to affect them much. When we reached our destination, there was a sign that castle parking was outside the gate, and castle visitors needed to walk in. We tried very hard to obey all laws, even coming from Turkey!

We began walking in when Big Ben announced, "Look! A deer!" Assuming he meant some sort of statue, I glanced around. A real deer! Multiple deer. Right across the street from us. Tame and not running away. We wondered what kind of place it would be!

By the time we got to the end of the long path, we found an enormous pre-fab housing factory and their show grounds. The light rain was turning into a downpour, so we ducked into the pre-fab office to see if the gentleman could help us find the entrance office for the castle. He was friendly and joked with us a bit about being out in this weather. He told us in his thickest brogue to just go in. There was no fee. No ticket needed.

So, we ducked out and ran through the marshy land to this beautiful hulk of a structure. It was set high up on a hill and overlooking the loch. We had to get a running start to get up to it. CC was yelling against the rain and wind, with all his might, "The Campbells are coming....!"

And he was yelling that, right about here...

The pictures don't do this place justice. But of all the castles we saw, it felt very "other-worldly." Very...Narnian. I think it had something to do with the friendly deer, the lashing rain, and the heavy gusts of wind, which were literally blowing us from spot to spot and taking our words from our mouths.

It was fascinating and beautiful to see which walls remained and which crumbled, to see how the structure had both survived and eroded.

And this view. Can you imagine looking out to this each day?

This one and I hid from the wind in this inner walkway.

By the time we left, it was an all out downpour. CC stuck us under a tiny awning in a cafe that was closed for winter, then began to run down the long path back to the car. He picked us up. We were soaked, but grinning. What a fun memory!

We came back to our hotel, dried off, warmed up, and headed out for dinner. There are only a few places to eat in town, and CC wanted us to try "The George," established before America won its independence! It was a pub he ate in so long ago as a 20-year-old college student. Inside we found big roaring fires around us, colorful sprinkling lights above us, and delicious hearty plates of food in front of us. I wanted to try everything on the menu eventually, but I couldn't resist their fish-and-chips.

1 comment:

Tara G. said...

Loving your vacation stories!

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