Castles rise up in our imaginations as relics of a mythical past, set places for fantasy tales full of Chivalry and Romance. Or at least this seems to be the way most Americans think of castles. Of course the reality is far less romantic. A real castle is a defensive structure, often used as a base for offense, that lorded over a brutal time. Either way, they are fascinating!
A lot of people think of Scotland as a land of castles, and we did see plenty, though our trip wasn’t centered on them. Occasionally we’d catch a glimpse of a ruined tower or a full castle and then back to the typical scenery, which was gorgeous. Of course most of the glimpses were around water, not up in the moors or mountains.
Back when I was in my 20s I traveled with my parents and oldest nephew, who was around 12, to the British Isles. We hit England, Wales and (Republic) Ireland. My parents had been before, so I chose a lot of the sites that we visited. Most of the places I suggested were ancient sites, so we visited chamber tombs, long barrows, standing stones, stone circles, etc. Some were so little visited that we followed narrow cow paths… But it was fun.
That trip was the start of a tradition for my parents. They took all of their grandchildren, and later, great-grandchildren, on an overseas trip when they were 10 to 12.
And I had traveled overseas quite a few times in those years, but never to the British Isles.