We took a trip to Scotland in 2015. Scotland became our travel destination because Belgium denied our visa. I would like to take this moment and thank everyone at the Belgium embassy because had they not rejected our visa I would never have known the beauty that Scotland is. Since Scotland, I have travelled to fifteen other countries (many of which are in Europe) but the beauty of Scotland has no comparison. If there is one place I would like to stay at, it would be Edinburgh. The place is naturally beautiful with the nicest people I have met.
This Scotland series will cover the most astounding places that I came across travelling through Scotland. It is impossible to talk in detail about everything in one post, thus a series. The first part will talk about one of the hidden treasures called Castle Campbell. We decided to do a road trip around Scotland and hired a car from Edinburgh airport. We spent the first two days in Edinburgh and fell in love with the city. Edinburgh feels like a magical town with the cobblestone roads, a castle in the middle, gothic buildings surrounding it and the high street just a few steps away from it. Anyhow, Edinburgh is subject of another part of the series, this will focus only on the beautiful Castle Campbell.
We were travelling from Edinburgh to Inverness which is in the Scottish Highlands when we came across the Campbell Castle. We had bought a ‘Historic Scotland explorer pass’, to make entry into castles etc. easy for us and we go to know about Castle Campbell because of it (prior to that we had no idea that it existed). We were looking at places covered in the pass that were on our way and found it. The drive to the castle was smooth and took us through different small towns. Our ‘tomtom’(navigator) told us that we had arrived at our destination but there was no castle in sight. What we found instead was a parking lot at the bottom of a hill that mentioned the name of the castle. We parked our car there, thinking that was the only parking lot and started hiking up the very steep track that had the Castle sign.
The castle is situated on top of the Dollar Glen and now that I think of it, the appeal is largely because of its location and the views. We had already explored the Stirling castle in the morning and were sort of exhausted; the steep climb felt like a lot. While we were deciding whether to continue or return to our drive to the highlands, we came across an elderly Scottish couple who were also hiking towards the castle. We asked them how far the castle was and a conversation started. They knew where Pakistan was, had visited Islamabad and were extremely nice to us. They told us that they had been on the trail in their younger years and decided to come back again now. The conversation was the motivator we needed and we began our hike.
The hike was tough, mainly because we were already exhausted however, the way was beautiful with amazing views. There is an alternate hike that goes to a waterfall and then to the Castle which I’ve heard is beautiful. After the long hike, we came to the Castle entrance.The Castle is beautifully situated upon a narrow ridge. A glorious old sycamore looms over the entrance of the castle and is called the Maiden tree. In local tradition, the tree was named so because a princess was banished to the castle for falling in love with someone lower in rank.
It is a partially restored medieval tower house castle with striking gardens. The castle is popular for its gardens and all for the right reasons. The gardens are still maintained and the views from the castle are magnificent. Each room window of the castle has a view worth looking it.
There is a weird romanticism about this place; the dramatic location, splendid views and the historical anecdotes add to it. The castle overlooks a valley and the scenery is full of hills and streams, with beautiful shades of green. The tower is restored which you can climb on and get a view of the astoundingly beautiful surroundings. It is all the stuff of dreams. So if you’re visiting Scotland Campbell Castle is highly recommended.
Tips and Tricks for having a good time at the Campbell Castle:
- Keep ample time for exploring the castle and enjoying the hike.
- Take the longer route that goes from the valley and not the road.
- Don’t rush to get to the castle, enjoy the way as it is what adds to the Castles magnificence.
- If you cannot walk so much, there is another parking on top of the hill. Please use that.
- Take some food/water supplies because there is no cafeteria at the Castle.
- The ticket for an adult is 6 pounds and for children 3.6. If you have the explorer pass, this is included in that.
- If you can, read upon the material that you find on the castle. It will add a lot of value to your experience.
- Just have a good time, breathe the nature in and take lots of photos.