August 2014

Threave Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

I write about castles a lot. Maybe it’s the bright-eyed kid in me whose flights of fancy used to lead to devouring every Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms book I could find. That could well be the impetus for my adult escapades, the ceaseless driving over desolate Scottish moors and rolling hills in the search for ruins to lay new eyes upon. When driving won’t suffice, I take to footpaths and even boats to reach the more elusive sites, and these obstacles always add to the experience. Castles are big, bold, beautiful reminders of a few important points that are easy to forget in the slush of modern life: The world can change, we are not the culmination, and that fantasy is often just a name for the paths we have not chosen. Read more...

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Glenluce Abbey, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Southern Scotland was once the setting for a huge population of Catholic monks dedicated to the various monastic orders of their time. Benedictine, Cistercian, Dominican, and Augustinian monasteries may not have taken center stage in the play of historical events – that is part of what it means to be a monk – but the past would be a much darker, forgotten void without the work of monks who set about recording events in the world beyond their quiet walls. Much of what we know of the so-called Dark Ages is courtesy of the scribes of the various monasteries that thrived in that period. But seeing the tumble-down Glenluce Abbey, I’m reminded of a deep irony: These walls have fallen and the history of the brothers themselves has been lost. Read more...

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Three Glens Luxury Eco House

I remember the moment I found Three Glens. It was an overcast January day, and I was searching for unique places to stay on my then upcoming trip to the south of Scotland. I try just about every word I can imagine in these searches, and some combination of “eco,” “luxury,” “new,” and “Dumfries & Galloway” spit out Three Glens. Not at the top of the page. In the middle, a place less obvious. I’d never heard of Three Glens, so I clicked over.

I had that feeling – that warm cascade of excitement – that I know to be a portent of a memorable future. I checked Three Glens’s location: Moniaive. I’d never heard of Moniaive, either. Read more...

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Castle Kennedy, Dumfries & Galloway

Deep in the southwest corner of Scotland, just before one reaches Stranraer and the Rhinns of Galloway, stands the cute little village of Castle Kennedy. With a hearty breakfast from Glenholme Country House powering me, I reached this westernmost point of my day’s travels on the recommendation of my gracious hosts at Alton Albany Farm B&B, Alasdair and Andrea, who implored me not to miss the gardens there. Never one to ignore local advice, I slotted a visit to Castle Kennedy into my time in Kirkcudbright and thanked heavens, once again, that I build free time into my itineraries.

The village of Castle Kennedy takes its name from… Read more...

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