Drumlanrig Castle and Culzean Castle in Ayreshire

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August 31st 2008
Published: November 19th 2009
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Drumlanrig Castle

Yup - so much for going to sleep at a decent time, I read until 3am - such a dumbass. I’m really tired this morning with only 5 hours of sleep. We got ready and went down to breakfast at the hotel. The bread was delicious, but the bacon was super salty and the scrambled eggs were good too. This morning we are heading to Drumlanrig Castle, which is only about 10-15 minutes ups the street from Trigony House. The castle didn’t open until 11am, so we took our time at breakfast and getting there. We were still about 15 minutes early. There was a mountain bike race event there which looked to be cross country and it was raining fairly steadily so the riders were all caked in mud. It seems like the bike meet ups are held on a regular basis.

The castle was awesome and the tour was really good - our guide was really entertaining and knows everything about all the paintings and furniture by heart. Really enjoyed the house! Each room has fabulous and priceless paintings and original opulent furnishings. The Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch still live in the house and the Duke is the largest private land owner in the UK. Buccleuch was the name of the hotel (It’s owned by the Duke) we had lunch at in Moffat and I had noticed the name all over, so it makes sense. We bought an umbrella for £4 in the castle gift shop and walked around the gardens a bit, but it was really raining pretty hard. I was trying to balance the umbrella in one hand and the camera in the other so I could take a few photos without the camera getting too wet. It didn’t work so well though. I think we were there about 2 hours.

Culzean Castle

We got in the Astra and headed off to Culzean (the ‘L’ is silent). It looked far, but it only took about an hour to get there as the roads were pretty good. Culzean is huge! It’s right on the ocean and you can see Northern Ireland from there. Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Culzean in 1945. The top floor is a hotel (only 4 rooms). There’s a deer park and swan pond and palm trees grow in the walled garden. Crazy!

We waited about 20 minutes to go on the guided tour, but it ended up with loads of people (at least 30) and the guide was young and nervous, she was also reading from note cards. Mom couldn’t really hear her and we both got a bit bored so we ended up going on ahead of the group after 3 rooms. The house was nice, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Drumlanrig. When we first got there it was really socked in with fog and mist; but by the end of the tour, it was lifting and I hope at least a few of the photos come out decently. There was a group of young fiddler in traditional Scottish clothes playing in the largest room. They were really good, but it was funny to see them dressed like that, but all texting and talking on their mobile phones. We were going to get something to eat there, but the restaurant and coffee shop stopped serving hot food at 4pm and it was about 4:15pm at this point. I was starving, but settled for a Balance Bar and some peanut butter crackers. I took some quick photos of the gardens and the deer at the deer park, but they were mostly laying down and looked pretty bored and soggy.

To Greenock or Bust!

When we tried to put the address of the Holiday Inn Express in Greenock in the GPS it couldn’t find it nor was it amongst the slew of HIE’s listed. We programmed what we hoped was close to the address and after driving for what seemed like forever ended up in some abandoned industrial area. Eek! I turned the car around as quickly as possible and stopped to ask a pedestrian for directions. However when following his directions, we apparently didn’t go far enough before turning and once again ended up in the wrong place. We decided at this point to get some diesel fuel and ask again at the gas station. This time we were successful! We asked at the front desk of the HIE why we couldn’t find the address listed and they said they had recently relocated. Ohhhhhh.

HIE is very basic, but clean. We used a luggage cart to get all of the luggage up to our room and there was even an elevator although the loaded luggage cart really didn’t fit into it that well. We decided to just eat at the hotel since my eyes are crossed from being so exhausted and the only other food nearby seems to be a McDonalds. We each ordered a personal pizza, but we should have just split one as they turned out to be huge! Greenock is a pretty good sized port town and it seems a bit rough and city like so it was probably just as well to stay put. I only picked Greenock as a place to stay as it seemed to be convenient to the route we needed to take to Oban. I was going to use the internet to check e-mail and the weather, but the only public computer (coin-op £1 for 9 minutes) was broken. I’m determined to get to sleep at a reasonable time tonight. It’s almost 11pm as I write this, so I’ll put on my arm brace and IPod and try to fall asleep.

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