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    From Castle Douglas to Hoddom Castle in Dumfries & Galloway…

     

    Hoddom Castle Caravan Park map

    Hoddom Castle Caravan Park map

    Hi everybody !

    In a recent post about golf, I’ve mentioned Hoddom Castle for its quiet and beautiful golf links, promising to tell you more about the castle itself in another post. Standing as it is, amidst a vast wooded estate which has been partly converted into a first class caravan park and campsite, the castle is well worth the visit for its history and architecture. We like it very much and we are not alone. There, we met a passionate and incredibly erudite young boy who was visiting the place with his mother and who seemed to know every nook and cranny of the castle. Had not we been departing we would have readily followed our young guide inside the castle 😉

    Sunset on the tower of Hoddom Castle Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Sunset on the tower of Hoddom Castle © 2004 Scotiana

    I remember perfectly the day when we first discovered Hoddom Castle. It was in June 2004, at the end of a long travel day which had begun at Castle Douglas. To be allowed to pitch our tent at such a late hour and just in front of the old castle, when we had lost all hope to find a place for the night, came to us as a miracle. We were at the same time grateful for having found the gates open and very excited at the idea of spending the night in such a mysterious atmosphere.

    Of course, we plan to go back to Hoddom Castle during our next trip to Scotland. Its campsite which offers top quality services to the visitors is one of our favourites. I have chosen the following extract from the campsite brochure just to give you an idea of how you can spend your evening there after a long walk in the countryside (we’ve tested it) : ‘The Bar has been superbly decorated using the features of the old Coach House providing bar meals, a very warm welcome, and a good Whisky or two!!! There is always a log fire burning and on certain nights there is entertainment laid on.’

     

    Scotland Dumfries & Galloway Hoddom Castle mini golf and draughts © 2004 Scotiana

    Playing mini golf or draughts at Hoddom Castle © 2004 Scotiana

    There are activities for everybody in situ, for all ages and all tastes…

    Scotland Dumfries & Galloway Hoddom Castle walks map © 2004 Scotiana

    Hoddom Castle walks map © 2004 Scotiana

    Starting from Hoddom Castle, there are also very nice walks to do and a lot of interesting things to visit in the neighbourhood. The Repentance Tower, the history of which is closely linked with that of the Castle, is only at a short walking distance from Hoddom Castle, as well as Hound’s Monument and St Kentigern’s Kirkyard, as shown in the above map panel. Not very far either, we’ve discovered the ruins of the old Hoddom Church which has been destroyed by fire in the 1970s. Our photos of its overgrown walls and empty arched windows would not be out of place in a ghost stories volume 😉

    But the title of my post has invited you to follow us on the road ‘from Castle Douglas to Hoddom Castle’. It’s a very beautiful road, rich in culture and history, so let us go back in time…

    Lochside Caravan and Camping Site Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Lochside Caravan and Camping Site Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway © 2004 Scotiana

    We had spent the night before in the very good Lochside Caravan and Camping Site, situated in the picturesque little town of Castle Douglas and pitched our tent under the shade of centenary trees reflecting on the waters of the nice little Carlingwark Loch. This loch is inhabited by swans and wild ducks and also probably by families of frogs which must appreciate the shelter of a beautiful carpet of waterlilies. That night, under our little tent, we quickly fell asleep, listening to the chime of a nearby clock…

    Lochside Caravan and Camping Site waterlilies on Carlingwark Loch Castle Douglas Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Douglas - Lochside Caravan and Camping Site - Waterlilies on Carlingwark Loch© 2004 Scotiana

    We didn’t left Castle Douglas before ten in the morning for we wanted, before leaving, to take photos of the nice little loch and to feed the ducks and swans 😉 Our first aim was to visit the magnificent ruins of Sweetheart Abbey which is situated south of Dumfries. This ancient Cistercian monastery is certainly one of the most beautiful Scottish abbeys and we’ll soon devote a page on Scotiana to this marvellous stone jewel.

     

    Sweetheart Abbey Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Sweetheart Abbey Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    After visiting Sweetheart Abbey and the nearby churchyard in search of interesting old graves, we took the direction of Dumfries where we spent some time walking on the steps of Robert Burns. The omnipresence of the poet in the town testifies to his popularity there. I must confess, however, that we still don’t know very much about the great Scottish bard and we count on Iain and Margaret to help us acquire a minimum knowlege before we plan to follow his trail in his native country 😉

    Robert Burns Inn in Dumfries - Dumfries & Galloway - Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    Robert Burns Inn in Dumfries © 2004 Scotiana

    Robert Burns Statue - Dumfries - Dumfries & Galloway - Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Robert Burns Statue - Dumfries © 2004 Scotiana

     

     

    After strolling some time along the riverside and the picturesque streets of the town…

    Devorgilla bridge on the Nith in Dumfries Dumfries & Galloway Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    The old Devorgilla bridge on the Nith in Dumfries © 2004 Scotiana

    we decided it was high time to leave Dumfries to take the direction of Moffat .

    Grey Mare's Tail - Dumfries & Galloway - Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    Grey Mare's Tail near Moffat - Dumfries & Galloway © 2004 Scotiana

    On our road, we stopped at Grey Mare’s Tail, just intending to climb along the narrow path up the foot of an impressive waterfall but we finally stayed there quite a long time to watch the rescue by two goats of their kid which was desperately bleating at the very edge of a dangerous precipice…

    Moffat road green hills Dumfries & Galloway © 2004 Scotiana

    Moffat road green hills - Dumfries & Galloway © 2004 Scotiana

    The weather was very fine and the landscape so beautiful that we lingered on and on along the Moffat road, stopping every other minute to take photos… blue sky and  green hills…

    Belted Galloway cows on the Moffat Road Dumfries & Galloway Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    Belted Galloway cows on the Moffat Road © 2004 Scotiana

    …herds of belted galloway cows grazing here and there…

    Moffat road - peacock - Waterside B&B - Dumfries & Galloway Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Moffat road - a peacock at the entrance of Waterside B&B © 2004 Scotiana

    At one moment two superb peacocks, a blue one and a white one, landed on the road just in front of the car before flying off up to the wall of the entrance gate of a B & B, as if to invite us to knock at the door. We could have done so for it was getting late and we still didn’t know where we would stop for the night…

    Ram monument - Moffat - Dumfries & Galloway - Scotland  © 2004 Scotiana

    Moffat ram monument © 2004 Scotiana

     

    As I wanted absolutely, and don’t ask me why,  to take a picture of the big ram statue which dominates the square in Moffat, we stopped again there… but it was getting late and as we couldn’t find accommodation in Moffat we decided to hurry on in search for a campsite in the neighbourghood. We were beginning to feel tired and the perspective of putting up our tent was rather depressing. After roaming about for what seemed to us a very long time, we suddenly fell upon Hoddom Castle caravan park. A caravan park…  and we had only a little tent…

     

    Hoddom Castle gates - Dumfries & Galloway - Scotland © 2004 Scotiana

    Hoddom Castle gates © 2004 Scotiana

    The gates were open and though it was late we decided to try our luck…

    Hoddam Castle Estate Rhododendrons Dumfries and Galloway Scotland © 2006 Scotiana

    Rhododendrons on the wooded path to Hoddam Castle © 2006 Scotiana

     

    … and we followed  the beautiful road lined with gigantic rhododendrons… it was like entering the Garden of Eden ! Would there be an austere guardian at the end of the road, some kind of St Pierre? Will we  be accepted with our little tent ? But you already know the happy end of our day since I’ve begun my post by the end 😉

    The above photo was taken in 2006 when we came back for the second time to Hoddom Castle, in June again. Spring and the beginning of summer seem to be a good season to visit Scotland, especially for those who do love flowers 😉

    So, here we are, at the end of my little story.  Next time I will tell you more about the history and architecture of this intriguing little castle, a 16th century border keep, to be more precise. I still don’t know if one or several ghosts are haunting the castle but I’ve found one or two things quite interesting… so keep tuned if you want to know more…

    Bonne lecture!

    A bientôt.

    Mairiuna.

     

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