August’s Castle of the Month: Cardoness

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that for the last few years, I’ve headed over to Dumfries and Galloway for a week each summer, for a nice, chilled-out break. One of the places we visit every time is Cardoness Castle, just outside Gatehouse of Fleet.

Cardoness Castle

Cardoness is strong, tower-house style castle, built in the 15th century, but hasn’t been inhabited since the late 1600s. Although I never really think of this area of Scotland as being affected by, or part of, the border reivers, the castle was certainly within the reach of those of the Western March, and one of the lairds of Cardoness himself was part of a group of reivers, amassing huge wealth through theft and other less-than-legal means.

In terms of the castle itself, although the structure itself is still pretty intact, there’s little in the way of a roof, and nothing of the interior, other than some ‘floating’ fireplaces, which are always fun to see. The storage cellars beneath the castle can still be looked around, and you can get a great sense of the scale and strength of the place. Definitely a good place to be for safety, when the English (or even fellow Scots) were heading your way.

Last time we were there, I was intent on trying to get a good angle of the castle, with as little of the modern or ruined elements showing as possible, to use as the cover for one of my WIPs, set in the Scottish borders, and again exploring the lives and times of the border reivers. There’s something particularly imposing about that ‘blocky’ style of building, don’t you think, compared to some of the more ‘aesthetically-pleasing’ castles, even those I love, such as Brodie. This was definitely looks like it could withstand a trebuchet attack!

One thing it isn’t so good at withstanding these days though, is an attack of the weather. Two summers ago, we were visiting, on a lovely, bright morning, and left all coats / jumpers in the car, at the bottom of the hill. What happened as soon as we were in the castle? A LOT of rain…

One of my favourite photos of Cardoness, just before the rain came…

Suffice to say, not having a roof, the castle’s spiral staircase was soon a mini waterfall!

Even in the rain though, it’s a wonderful spot, and looking out over the Solway Firth from the windows on a glorious day is one of my favourite things. Watching the birds dot around on the feeders is also pretty special…

Have you ever visited?


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