Friday, July 19, 2013

Craigmillar Castle

I have been excited about the opportunity to visit castles in Scotland.  There are so many to visit, but we  have to focus on the ones close to Edinburgh...specifically, those within our bus zone.  Craigmillar Castle is one of the castles that is a little off the beaten trail.  As we were riding the bus we found out how far off the beaten trail it is.  We ended up talking with some locals about where we were going and they informed us that our current route to get to the castle was dangerous with a stroller and we should go a different route instead.  They pointed us to the Royal Infirmary (hospital) and then to a walking path to the castle.  Yes, we had to cut through a hospital to get to our destination...sometimes, you just have to laugh!  Also they let us know that nothing is labeled so you just have to feel your way through the fields and what not.  An adventure to get to the next adventure, right?! Anyways, once we arrived at the castle we were so happy that we persevered and made it there.  We had free reigns to the castle ruins to explore and walk about as we would like.  It was SO fun!!!  We were able to look in holes and walk in little spaces.  There were a couple signs here and there that indicated if the room had been used as a kitchen or a bedchamber or a dining hall.  We were able to walk into the cellars, the prison, the pigeon cage, and more.  Really, it was SO fun!  There was only one other family present so we really had the place to ourselves which was fun too.

To give you a little history, this medieval castle has ties to Mary Queen of Scots.  As this castle is only 3 miles outside of Edinburgh, she would come here for reprieve from the city.  More famously, following an illness after the birth of her son Mary came to Craigmillar and a pact known as the "Craigmillar Bond" was made to dispose of her husband, Lord Darnley.  We were able to see the bedchambers that she used during her stays.

Here are some fun pictures of our day:
We brought our picnic lunch with us.  Once we arrived, we sat in the shade of a large tree with the castle ruins in the background and broke our bread.   
While Bobby and I were finishing our lunch, Amelie and Liam had fun running around in the grass playing with sticks and taunting each other.  This is Liam chasing Amelie with a stick.  She in return would scream and giggle while running away.
Approaching the castle. 
There were lots of winding staircases to climb up and down.
One of the cellars.
Liam wanted to "walk" (really run) throughout our visit.  He had so much fun climbing and figuring out what was behind the next bend.  
We were able to walk around the top of the castle wall.  This is Liam sitting on top of one of the spires with views of the mountains and the Sea behind him.   

One of the grand fireplaces found within the castle.

They had fun jumping off a ledge all together.
Everyone had to climb....thankfully no one was hurt in the process... 

We did our "rest time" under the shade of another tree near the castle gardens.  Amelie and Liam played horsey while Bobby and I chilled in the grass.  The lighting isn't great in these pictures because it was so sunny and we were taking the pictures from the shade, but I couldn't help but share. ;)
Amelie has already been asking about when we could go back to this castle.  I cannot describe accurately how fun it was to have free reign of the castle without any prying eyes watching your every move.  We all had a blast!  If you are ever in Edinburgh, you should definitely take the time to visit Craigmillar Castle.  You will be happy you did.

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