Our journey to the Western Highlands commenced on day three of my tour. The scenery was fantastic and I attempted once again to take photos through the windows of the bus. We crossed an old bridge and continued along Loch Fyne on our way to Inverary Castle. The village of Inveraray was just across the loch from us.
According to a map, we hadn’t wandered all that far from Glasgow, yet it seemed quite a distance. Riding in a bus can be so deceptive. We never did get to the town pictured above. Instead, we turned off toward Inveraray Castle, the home of the Duke of Argyll. This a fairytale place of peaked windows and towers. It actually is a stately home rather than a fortress.
The castle was completed in the 18th Century, although there has been a castle here since the 1400s. As I said in the title of this post, Inveraray is in Argyll, the territory of the Clan Campbell. We were greeted by employees wearing Campell tartan clothing.
I knew little of this place and being told that the castle was featured in Downton Abbey, didn’t help me much. I was eager for the tour and a chance to see things for myself.
I won’t take you room by room talking about everything I saw on our tour of the house. Instead, I’ll give you a hint of the wonders that await a visitor.
In case you’re wondering, that ship is indeed made of gold. I think it rather grand. I like this room, which is not just a museum piece but actually used for state dinners.
Another breathtaking sight is the Armoury Hall. My goodness, I wasn’t prepared for it.
With so many visitors crowding around, I found it difficult to get a clean shot of the room. It’s a large space; the ceiling is the highest in all Scotland! Realizing my limitations, I, instead, offer a portion of it. This display of muskets is most impressive. The room is impressive! I’ve never seen so many axes, swords, halberds, and daggers! I have the feeling that being a clansman a few hundred years ago, was a violent business.
Taking a more peaceful tone is the China Turret. This circular room holds some very fine pieces.
What I really liked about this room was the ceiling. It looks like Wedgewood but is really papier-mache. How clever!
There were many more rooms to explore, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you.
Tips and Observations
Before meeting up with the bus, I had a little time to wander the grounds, something which I recommend as the gardens are lovely. I shot the above blue flowers with the hope that they are thistles. If so, they seem fitting as the thistle is Scotland’s national flower.
What I learned and what I would do next time.
- The Castle is large. Take your time to really see it. If possible take a docent-led tour and then explore again!
- Visit the Tea Room and have some lunch. The food was very good and the ice cream delicious.
- Shop in the gift shop. Perhaps you’ll see the duke or duchess working there!.
- Go see what’s in that town! I’m sorry I missed it.
I have the feeling one could spend a long time seeing the sights of Inveraray. By far the biggest attraction for me is Argyll itself. The countryside is fantastic. I loved the forests and streams. This definitely is my kind of place, even without a castle!
If you would like to see more images from Inveraray Castle, please click here.