Let me take you back to Scotland for a minute. It’s been a while, but I still have a few details I would like to share from my favourite castle: Dunnottar.
We’ll start by the entrance. Walk through the gates, follow the narrow lane up towards the main buildings. Just inside the gate there’s a door on the left. The door is locked. On the right there’s a hole in the wall which has for a long time been closed (it’s the first time I’ve seen it available to visitors). I’ve just found unexplored ground and feel the excitement rise. The ground is a little slippery, the doorways are low and we have to bend our heads to enter. The hole is a narrow tunnel that turns further to the right and leads to a small room of only a few square metres. There is no roof though so light streams down from holes in the wall further up that have functioned as window in the floors above us. On the wall opposite us is an old looking door with a padlock…
We cannot go any further. Only our imagination is left to explore the room behind the door, the scent of wet stone, the enclosed rooms, and the mystery of what might have been. We return to the entrance of the castle and continue up the cobbled road leading up to the main buildings. We turn left and pass a small room. The room is dark, but the air changes and, although invisible in the darkness, you can feel the walls surrounding you. We have no torch, but a few flashes from the camera reveals a room that looks like it was never finished. There’s stones and rubble in the corners, and one wall is sloped, as if though someone have started digging to increase the size of the room, but given up. We return to the fresh air outside. Continue further up the road, passing a small hut where the entrance tickets are sold. We turn right, see a small tunnel in front of us. A railing has been set up on the right side, as the cobbles are slippery. The cobblestones are small and round, similar to those found on the surrounding beaches. Images of people crouching over the steps in front of us appear in our minds. Crouching while roughly jamming the stones into the ground. We do not want to lose our footing on the slippery stones so our eyes fix on the step in front of us. The cobblestones form a pattern. The image of the centuries-old stone layers change, they place the cobblestones with greater precision, patterns are debated and decisions are made…
At the far end of the castle we enter a rather large room, but the ceiling is low. A window at the far edge has increased in size over the years and is now simply a big hole in the wall. A placard on the wall near the entrance tells horrific storied of people who’ve been held captive in the room. More than a hundred souls have been trapped here at the same time. The room feels cold. It chills you to the bone. The hole in the wall opens for the rays of the sun to reach the dirt floor. We walk slowly over to the hole. The rays reach us and their warmth make us even more aware of the cold we feel inside. The outer wall runs straight down to the cliffs and ferocious sea. To our right there’s a small stretch of grass it’s far from the hole, impossible to reach, but by tilting the camera, finding the right angle, it looks like it could be reached with a careful, strong, and lucky leap. The view is beautiful. We shudder. Of those who escaped there were few survivors…
Yet to see this castle, it’s a beautiful sight when passing on the train to Aberdeen. You could imagine how frightening it’d be with it’s location at a cliff edge. As for the many that lost their lives and trapped there, I could only imagine. Great pictures and blog. It makes you wonder, as for a lot of it that’s been destroyed, I reckon that’d have maybe been through battles and wars.
Battles, wars, low economy and natural decay. Beautiful, intimidating, and immense. It’s a place well worth a visit 🙂
Wow thanks for the tour Anne and great photos to go along with it! I think I’ll go make some tea to warm up!
Tea is always good 🙂 Today’s tea has been a Pina Colada green tea from the Teahouse in London. Argh, too late for a cup now, but tomorrow morning… 🙂