Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Dumbarton Castle [500 Steps Back In Time]

When me and my other half got together, we would go to see a different castle each week. But after life getting in the way, this didn't last long and Netflix became the new weekend activity. 

But last week, we decided to go and see Dumbarton Castle.
Built in 1220 by Alexander II, Dumbarton Castle is situated on an volcanic plug, known as Dumbarton rock, which is over 350 million years old. The rock can be seen from the road as you are driving towards Balloch from Glasgow. As we drove closer, the rock in itself reminded us of Edinburgh Castle.

We parked at the very bottom, near the entrance to the castle, where you are greeted with a few steps going through an archway. 
The entrance fee was £5 per adult, a small price to learn about some of our Scottish history. 
The castle has seen its fair share of history, dating back 1500 years. From being besieged by Olaf and Ivar in 870, the capture of William Wallace, the protection of Mary Queen of Scots, and even being used as a garrison right up until the second world war.

After we had paid our fee, we walked along a wall which overlooked the River Clyde, as far as the eye could see. The wall seemed to go on forever, and had cannons dotted periodically along the path. Already you could see that this castle was situated in a perfect defensive location. 

We walked back along the wall and headed up the rock. The stairs where steep, and had me out of breath in no time flat. We walked through an old archway, which used to be a portcullis. You could see where the portcullis used to be embedded in the rock. We walked straight to the other side of the castle, where we could see the River Leven and the town of Dumbarton. 

Dumbarton was named after the Gaelic name "Dun Breatann" - which means "Fortress of Britons." Before that it was named "Alt Clut" which means rock of the Clyde.

Next we climbed up to the first peak, where the Magazine was situated. This is where the gunpowder was kept. We found out that men had to change their clothes and loose any items of iron before entering the magazine, just in case they accidentally set it alight.

From there we headed up to the second peak of the volcanic plug, these stairs really did have me gasping for breath, when we got to the top we had climbed over 500 steps. The views from the top where amazing. We stood under the Scottish flag, looking out over the River Clyde and the River Leven, imagining what life would have been like all those years ago. 

Of all the castle's I have visited, Dumbarton Castle has seen the most history. With spectacular views and loads to learn, it is a must see location. 

But be prepared and bring something to drink, as the 500 steps really will take it out of you!

Until next time 
Jade- Your Introvert Adventurer