OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It’s been a few months since I did one of these posts, so in case you’ve forgotten, by this stage in the planned trip the family is ensconced in Dalnair Castle Lodge in Stirlingshire and we’ll be using it as a base of operations for day trips for the next two weeks or so. Here’s a few of the things we might consider doing.

Doune Castle

In 1400, Robert Stewart, known as ‘Scotland’s uncrowned king’, built Doune Castle. He was the younger brother to the weak Robert III, and effectively Scotland’s ruler. His seat at Doune was therefore a ‘virtual’ royal castle.

After his death, Doune Castle actually did become a royal residence, albeit only a ‘royal retreat’. It served as a summer residence from which the Stewarts could relax and hunt in the forests of the Trossachs. This came to an end in 1603 when James VI of Scotland became James I of England.

Doune Castle is exceptional because it was planned ‘in one sitting’. While many castles were built, rebuilt and added on to over the centuries, Doune was not, and remains true to its original design. However, although the design was complete, construction was not, and the south range of buildings was never finished.

Falls of Falloch

Falls of Falloch

This 30ft high waterfall is located in the northern most part of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. This is said to be a great spot for a picnic, so it could be a good place to take the kids for lunch one day.

The falls are located three miles from the village of Crianlarch. If you’re travelling down the A82, it’s a good place to stop for a break.

Cambuskenneth Abbey

This ruin is unattended, and so there are a number of information boards around for visitors to learn about the abbey. Perhaps most interestingly, the abbey was the scene of Robert Bruce’s parliament in 1326 (two decades after the death of William Wallace), and also the burial place of James III and his queen, Margaret of Denmark, in the 1480s.

The abbey features a free-standing bell tower (a campanile in the Italian tradition), and is the only one of its kind in Scotland (though The Campanile in Venice is a landmark). It stands 65ft tall and in 1378 replaced the belltower over the central crossing of the abbey when it collapsed.

After its ruination, the abbey was subjected to further depredations through use as a quarry. How the belltower survived intact is unknown, but may be because it was useful as a lookout over the Carse of Stirling.

Cambuskenneth Abbey

Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour of Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Somewhere you think she should go or stay? Please comment!

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