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HOME AT FIRST's

ADVENTURE

SCOTLAND
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This article first appeared in November, 2002.                                                                                                MOST RECENT UPDATE: 2014.

 

Castle CAMPBELL

DOLLAR GLEN, CENTRAL SCOTLAND

          Central Scotland’s Castle Campbell is not especially large, never saw a major battle, was not a royal residence, claims no international fame, and suffered an ignominious history. Although it lacks guns and armor, Campbell is an impressive fortress castle. Although it lacks opulent furnishings and a fairy tale history, Campbell is as romantic a castle as we know. Most impressively, over the years more Home At First guests have named Castle Campbell their favorite castle experience than any other castle.
          Castle Campbell is located in that most

Castle Campbell. Photo  Home At First.
CASTLE CAMPBELL a.k.a. CASTLE GLOOM
photo Home At First

strategic territory where the Scottish Highlands become the Scottish Lowlands, close to the sea and the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. This region has been of critical military importance during the long years of struggle for Scottish independence from England. The current castle was rebuilt starting in the late 14th or early 15th century on the site of an early motte and bailey fortress. No wonder — the site is ideal for defense, a mound protected by steep hills on three sides with access only from the south via the deep gorges carved by two rushing streams, the Burn of Care and the Burn of Sorrow. The castle, originally called Castle Gloom but renamed Castle Campbell in 1489, overlooks the village of Dollar and the broad Lowlands south to the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh. These sweeping views are dramatic from the castle’s colorful gardens, and even more dramatic from its tower.

The view from the tower at Castle Campbell. Photo  Home At First.
THE VIEW FROM THE TOWER
AT CASTLE CAMPBELL

photo Home At First

          Castle Campbell has a rich and varied history. Originally Stewart (the royal family of Scotland) land, the Dollar Glen became the property of the Campbells of Inverary. The castle was the seat of Campbell power in the Scottish Lowlands as the home of the Dukes of Argyll. Campbell Castle became involved in the struggles of the Scottish Reformation — both John Knox, founder of Presbyterianism, and the devout Catholic Mary Queen of Scots overnighted at the castle — in the 16th century and the English Civil War in the 17th century. Following the Civil War the English army occupied the castle briefly, until it was attacked and burned by Cromwellian supporters of the

owner and made derelict in 1654. It has been only partially restored in the last 350 years.
          Today, Castle Campbell remains large enough to be full of interesting rooms — the 15th century tower has 4 floors worth exploring — but small enough to be thoroughly visited in one hour. As popular with visitors as the castle itself are the walks in its gardens and along the cascading streams in the two forested gorges below the castle.
          Castle Campbell within easy day-trip range of
Home At First’s cottages in Central Scotland (60-90 minutes to the northwest), or to Home At First’s apartments in Edinburgh (45 minutes southeast).

 

Map  Home At First.

 
          The castle is just north of the village of Dollar, which is 12 miles east of Stirling (see Stirling Castle) on the A91. Watch carefully as you enter Dollar for the little road that leads to the castle — the Castle Campbell signs are easy to miss.

Crossing a gorge in Dollar Glen below Castle Campbell. Photo  Home At First.
CROSSING A GORGE IN
DOLLAR GLEN BELOW
CASTLE CAMPBELL

photo Home At First

        Take the long, narrow road up to the edge of town as far as you can go. A very steep one-lane road does manage to climb up to a parking lot at the castle, but this road is not for wide or under-powered vehicles. Whether you park below the castle or at the upper lot, be sure to explore the gorges of one or both of the burns. Well-maintained dirt and boardwalk paths lead steeply through these dramatic and romantic settings. Be advised — if you park below the ravines — that the walk up to the castle requires almost twenty minutes of steep climbing.
        Castle Campbell no longer is in the hands of the Campbell family and the Dukes of Argyll. Today it belongs to the Historic Scotland commission.

OPENING TIMES:
   April through September: daily from 9:30AM-5:30PM.
   October through March: Saturday-Wednesday from 9:30AM-4:30PM.

ADMISSION: 5.50/adults, 4.40/seniors & students, 3.30/children. Prices subject to change.

Castle maintained by Historic Scotland.)

 

VISIT OUR

Great Castles of Britain

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        You can visit castles in all parts of Scotland, Wales, and England
as part of your trip with Home At First. Our exclusive Activity Guides
tell you all about how to do it well. Start planning your next visit
to Britain with a visit to
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You can visit all kinds of castles as easy day trips
from Home At First lodgings throughout Scotland.
Our exclusive "Scotland Activities Guides" have over
120 pages of suggestions for things to see and
do when you travel with
Home At First to
:
SCOTLAND
 
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HOME AT FIRST offers travel to five great regions of Scotland. Have your own cottage
in
CENTRAL SCOTLAND, NORTHERN SCOTLAND, or THE SCOTTISH BORDERS.
Have your own city apartment in
EDINBURGH or GLASGOW.
Minimum rental is one week, and you can mix and match with other
 HOME AT FIRST destinations throughout
ENGLAND, IRELAND, and WALES.
Or, for complete information about travel with
HOME AT FIRST to Britain & Ireland, see:
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