Kilconquhar Castle Estate

Kilconquhar Castle Estate

Today was the day the guys went to play a round at St Andrews Links. They had an early tee-off, so Mum and I had a leisurely check-out with the girls (during which they saw their one and only squirrel of the entire trip), then drove into St Andrews. We had an understated breakfast at a cute little cafe I don’t recall the name of, then headed off to the Scottish Deer Centre.

Scottish Deer Centre

Not exactly the most riveting of tourist attractions, but when you have small children, sometimes sacrifices need to be made. We don’t have a lot of deer in Australia (some, but not a lot), but our local equivalent involves wildlife centres where you can feed kangaroos and cuddle koalas. We’ve done that a lot, so deer was at least a nice change of pace. We even learned that in the UK “elk” means “moose”, while in Canada “elk” is something entirely different. I had no idea.

The “authentic Scottish atmosphere” (more on that later) closed in before we’d even done a full circuit, and we ended up huddled in our raincoats trying to chivvy the kids off the play equipment. On our hurried escape, we did see the otter being fed (something I can probably do without seeing again – they are not so cute at feeding time) then received the call that the men were done with golf. It was off to our rendezvous point – Loch Leven Castle.

Otters at The Scottish Deer Centre

I should note here that if you like castles a lot, then on a trip to Scotland (even if only for a few weeks) it is well worth your while to get an Historic Scotland pass. It basically costs you less than the entry fee to Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle and everything after that is free! Loch Leven Castle is an Historic Scotland property, so off we went.

Alas, when we arrived at the carpark, the rain had become quite steady. Did I mention Loch Leven Castle is in the middle of the loch? I did walk down to the shore in the rain, but couldn’t see anything. Since the castle is accessible by boat, we decided not to venture out in the weather. I guess that gives me something to put on the list for my next visit! Instead we stopped for lunch in Kinross, then drove on to our next accommodation – Dalnair Castle Lodge in Croftamie, and our home for the next week.

Dalnair Castle Lodge is like the gatehouse of a castle that has been extended and converted into accommodation. It was one of the best places we stayed, with two upstairs bedrooms located in the turret. Yes, an actual turret. Also arrowslits in case you come under attack or siege. Every traveller’s greatest fear… Dalnair Castle Lodge Master Bedroom