Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tantallon Castle

A month ago we headed to East Lothian on a sunny but blustery day to visit Tantallon Castle. We seem to be doing  lot of Historic Scotland castles at the moment, but they are all places we've talked about visiting and Bracken can go too. It's a short walk on a grassy path from the visitor centre to the castle, walking below the grassy ramparts and then across a bridge under what was the main gate into the castle grounds. 

Bracken enjoying his visit to Tantallon Castle

What was once the entrance gateway to the castle grounds

Once across the expanse of grass and the wooden bridge we walked through the imposing entrance to the castle. Having been altered many times in it's past there is no longer a portcullis or draw bridge but if you look carefully you can see where they were. Walking through we came into the courtyard which gives amazing views out to the North sea. The castle and courtyard are unusual in that they are an L shape, with high cliffs and the sea to the east and south there is no need for a traditional four sided defensive castle. 

Entrance with a view and a doglet

Like all these old castles there are dungeons to explore, vaulted cellars, once grand great halls, window seats where ladies would sit and sew and kitchens with bread ovens, huge fireplaces and sluices onto the rocks below. Narrow spiral staircases rise to lofty tower and battlements where soldiers once huddled against the bitter easterly winds blowing in from the sea. We love exploring them all although Bracken isn't keen on the stair and high up places. He thinks doglets should be warm and cosy in plush beds with a constant supply of treats! 

The main castle building from the kitchens

Steep stairways

I last visited this castle a loooooooooooooong time ago as a child with my Uncle Andy and family when we were staying in Dunbar in the holidays. I think It might even have been pre- entrance hut and paying, but I don't remember much apart form walking across the large area of grass infront of the castle. I certainly don't remember the amazing views of the Bass Rock, so close you feel you could reach out and touch it. I have tried to resist putting tooo many photo of the Bass rock here, just one or two or a few of the best.

The Bass Rock, a regular sight through my life, with holidays and
trips to Dunbar and the east coast to visit family

We watched a snow shower come down the River and past the Bass Rock,
the changes in sky and colour of the water were dramatic

Bass Rock and Isle of May

The best views were to be had from the top of the battlements, it was very windy and we scuttled from one high piece of wall to the next, but it was worth it for the views out to see and inland towards Berwick Law. 

Views from the highest battlements

Looking south towards Dunbar

Look at that sky and water!
Once we had our fill of stairs, views and dungeons we headed across the green to the doocot. Standing in splendid isolation, it was open so we were able to go in and get a pigeons eye view of life at Tantallon. We timed it right reaching the building as a hail shower blew in.

The doocot with views to Berwick Law

The imposing front of the castle from the doocot

As we left a rainbow appeared

Wall flowers growing in the cliffs below the castle

So there it is, a wee tour of Tantallon Castle, hopefully you will be inspired to go and visit. Afterwards we went to North Berwick in search of a late lunch and coffee to warm us up. Unfortunately the rain and hail followed us and we didn't spend much time walking around the shops as we'd planned.






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