Friday, May 13, 2016

The romance of ruins

Is it because they represent the passing of time, or simply speak of different times that make ruins so eloquent?  We visited a handful of them this week.  There are castles almost everywhere you look around here, not least with all those estuaries to the Solway Firth and the Irish Sea - lots of approaches to defend.
Cardoness Castle, Gatehouse of Fleet
MacLellan's Castle, Kirkcudbright
My favourite castle of all time, anywhere, is this one: Caerlaverock Castle, which is just south of Dumfries.  It has two moats: an inner one of water
and an outer very green one.  The castle is triangular in footprint, and the later interior is splendid with its elaborate fascia carvings.
Some of which have been rescued and displayed in the visitors' centre. 
Just a beautiful place, building, setting, ice cream, day, ... everything.
Sweetheart Abbey was the starting point for the idea of this trip - for years I had wondered about the place, and was not disappointed on finally seeing it.  Wandering round those ruins put the cherry on the cake of the day after Caerlaverock Castle.
That was yesterday, that ended with delicious scallops at Polarbites, freshly fished and landed at Kirkcudbright (where we also drove past this fabulous, very far from ruin!).
Today's ruins are much older: Neolithic.  Cairnholy I and II are what remains of two chamber tombs.  I did not manage the climb required for Cairnholy II, but was fascinated by Cairnholy I, as seen in both photos.  
The view from up there reached all round the hills, and out over the estuary towards the Irish Sea, with the Whithorn peninsula in the distant right.
This was our last full day here.  Tomorrow we set off homewards.

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