Monday, 12 November 2012

Exploring an abandoned castle...

  As I mentioned in yesterdays post, my friend Moffat and I went exploring round an old castle near where we grew up.  The castle itself has been derelict since the late 1960s, when the roof was removed so as to avoid paying tax on the property (or so I was told), but the servants house was occupied until about twelve years ago, funnily enough by the family of a girl I was friendly with at school.  I could probably call this my first ever explore actually, since she took me up there to look around about a year after they moved out.  And boy has it changed since then.  A mixture of the natural elements and vandalism has not been kind to the whole place, although as you can see from my pics the exteriors still looks stunning.

First we looked around the servants area.  The main building sits opposite the castle with a big overgrown courtyard in the middle.  Above you can see the back of it, where the car garage and stables were.

 Inside the part of the house my friend lived in - I didn't fully appreciate the extend of the damage until I was looking at the pics on my computer this morning...  As you can imagine, it also smelled pretty strongly of damp.
 In what was the kitchen (obviously).  I remember this room pretty clearly from years ago and it's sad to see just how much it's changed in that time.  My friend had her own space upstairs with two bedrooms, which I also have vivid memories of, since they were bright and the walls covered in quotes.  We managed to get up the stairs but couldn't actually walk on the floor since it was so rotten.
 And here's the castle!  It's a beauty isn't it?  This is actually the new castle - when the original family lived there 200ish years ago, they lived in another castle along the road, then build this one slightly later.  Then extended it on either side.  I guess they had space issues ;)
 The servants house from the front.  Moffat said there were few windows and doors on that side so the family didn't have to look onto the poor folks...  That actually sounds crazy enough to be true!
 We entered the castle through a basement door just below the main front entrance.  Now here's where I started to get uncomfortable.  Maybe I've been watching too much Downton Abbey, but it was a bit depressing walking around the many, many rooms down there where an army of servants worked to keep the place running, just for it all to fall to pieces in the end anyway.  In case you can't tell yet, my morbid fascination with old buildings always leads to a bit of a depressed, nostalgic mood at some point, I have that kind of personality!
 An old cooking station.
 A room full of bread ovens (and Moffat creeping around...) - there were two more of these rooms as well, clearly they were into baking! ;)  We both agreed they were a bit morgue like tho...
 A dumbwaiter!  We looked inside and could see the whole height of the building, what a great invention.
 We found a wee spiral staircase and went up to the ground floor, partly cause I get claustrophobic and was on the verge of freaking out being below ground level, despite all the windows!  It was also starting to get dusky outside, which wasn't helping my overall frame of mind (neither was the fact I watched Chernobyl Diaries this week - if you've seen it you'll know what I mean!)  All the floors inside have been removed, so the castle is just a shell now.

This is the main staircase - another spiral!  It was hard to get in a good position for photographing it, but it's really quite stunning.  Many years ago I climbed up to the top and you could see for miles - now the debris gets pretty bad about half way up, making it unadvisable to try that again.  Plus my freaking out was getting quite visible at this stage so we decided to call it a day.  After almost getting lost in the overgrown gardens, we found the path back to the car again, and I interrogated Moffat about the history of the place so as to distract myself from thinking about how it was dark, I was in the middle of a forest and our torch battery was about to run out...  All in all though it was a great place to explore, if maybe slightly late in the day by the time we set off.  We'll definitely be back earlier next time so I can see the other castle too!  And I will not be wearing tights, since my legs were scratched to pieces by the overgrowth... (my tights seemed shockingly unscathed tho, go Tesco!)

Has anyone else been exploring?  Got any tips for me?



  1. The castle looks gorgeous from the outside and I love a good spiral staircase! Great pictures :)

  2. Wow I bet that was a beautiful castle in it's day - the photographs are great!

  3. Incredible! It's heartbreaking to see it like this.

  4. That looks really interesting. My friend took some really interesting photos at Loudon Castle (?) the abandoned theme park.

  5. WOW!! These are really cool photos. I wish I could explore an old castle!

  6. Oh wow, it's so crazy to imagine what that place used to look like in it's prime! Just gorgeous!
    xo TJ

  7. That was a fascinating read. Like you, I can't resist old derelict buildings and sometimes have a naughty peek!

  8. This makes me so sad...although Craig Millar Castle outside of Edinburgh is also abandoned and it's beautiful and not sad. Maybe the sadness has something to do with how recently it was actually occupied?

  9. Wow- I've never been anywhere like that but I really want to now - SO interesting, but like Sarah says also heartbreaking. I went to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire a couple of years ago and that was similar - it's owned by the NT now but they left it in the state of decline it was in when they acquired it - really interesting to see a grand building not looking polished and museum-like.


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