Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sanquhar: Part Four

This is the last post for Sanquhar. Even I'm a little amazed that I took so many photos of one sleepy little town!

After we left the museum, we walked back up to the train station - but made a couple stops on the way: the old school-house (looks a little fancy for a school to me, but we asked an old lady coming out of the church next door) which has stood empty for years; and the churchyard. I was looking for some old 18th century grave stones.

We didn't break in this time. We just looked in from the fence.

I don't know that I've ever seen a Star of David on a gravestone before.

Aha! Here are some oldies. These were just fragments up against the church wall. We've got wings, bones, an hour glass, spades & something else above the bones, but I'm not exactly sure what it is...

Are those cauldrons of flame? Or are they plants? Of course, there's a lovely skull in the middle as well.

Most of the gravestones looked like this one. They were extremely tall!

And  a large portion of them all had this same motif: the urn with the flowers on the side.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sanquhar: Part Three

Oh, yes! There's more. You would think, after the 50 pictures I posted of the castle, that I couldn't manage anything else!

A beautiful tree in the extended grounds of the castle.

An intriguing plaque in a wall near the road.

A close-up of the tree.

A sign-post (with the castle in the background)

A stile! 

The Town Hall, in which was a small museum.

This reads, "enclosed a wee sprig o heather from the dear auld hills o Gallowa"
It was from a girl to her sweetheart who was fighting in the 1st World War. He did not survive, but the sprig of heather did.

This, my friends, is a moustache cup!

A spindle-whorl

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sanquhar: Part Two

The Castle!

I was very excited to visit this particular castle, as it is completely abandoned. By that, I mean that no one is taking care of it (such as Historic Scotland or the like). No gift shop, no little plaques telling you the functions of the different areas. When we got close to it, we realised that it had a high wire fence around it. But I'd seen photos of the inside online, and I assumed every teenager in the village was well acquainted with it too, so I knew there must be a way in. I found a weakness in the fence, and Rachel & I climbed (with some difficulty) over one part of fence, and then over another to get inside the castle. 

It was *so* overgrown! Tall grasses (and, of course, plenty of nettles and thistles too!) abounded in every direction, as well as fallen masonry - which wasn't visible (due to the vegetation) but which we stumbled over nonetheless. The little residential area through which we walked in order to reach the castle was still very visible, and so I was giddy with the adrenaline of doing something dangerous and forbidden. It was glorious!

The castle was originally built in the early days of the 1400s by the Chrichton family. Mary Queen of Scots stayed here briefly before making her fatal move to England. In 1639 the castle was sold to Sir William Douglas of Drumlanrig, who ended up building a newer, grander castle nearby. It was after his death that the castle was abandoned, and began to go to rack & ruin. An attempt to restore it was made in 1895, but it was a short-lived and unsuccessful attempt. 

Approaching the castle!

The little bridge over which we had to cross to get there.


Queen of the castle?

Spiral staircases!

A room, or a cellar. It was dark & creepy, so we didn't go inside.

The keep?

The view from another spiral staircase.

The fireplace was all that remained of an upper floor.

We went up part of this spiral staircase.

But not all the way to the top!

Wine cellar perhaps? 

The easiest way into that building was hopping up through the doorway on the left.

A butterfly.

And a bee.

This is where we snuck in. The low fence you see on the right landed us at the top of a steep embankment. We then had to crawl over another part of low fence to get back into the fence - on the side with the castle in it!

All that remains of outbuildings and appendages. 

The ditch on the east side of the castle.

Another view of the ditch.
Looking around from the bank outside the ditch.

The steep path that leads to and from the castle.