So, we had intended to do the jousting today at Caerlaverock Castle today - an event I had really been looking forward to, but with the hubby on antibiotics for a chest infection and myself fighting off a cold, the predicted forecast of 98% chance of heavy rain and thunder just meant it was a no-go. A two hour drive to stand in the rain, whilst most weekends wouldn't deter me, was just not going to happen. Guaranteed we'd have all gotten grumpy with one another and just ruined the whole weekend!
We've done pretty much all out 'local' dog friendly castles, and have been scoping those further afield but still within sensible day-tripping distance - at 45 minutes away and promising a riverside walk in addition to a day wondering about a castle, we settled on giving Craignethan Castle a shot.
Its a stout little castle that isn't done justice in the photos. One of the most intact of the ruins about the central belt, its boasts plenty of spiralling staircases up towers and down into cellars. We timed our visit well, arriving just as another couple were leaving, so basically we had the place to ourselves. We allowed Missy off the lead owing to the very narrow spiral staircases, and explored some of the peculiar features of the castle - particularly the caponier (the only surviving one in Scotland, apparently) which is basically a roofed building in a ditch for shooting people from.
Unsurprisingly, with it being designed by James Hamilton of Finnart, the kings master of works in the 1500's, its the most 'modern' of the castles in the area. With only the roof really missing, and the majority of the internal castle intact, its genuinely interesting to see how an architect of castles would build their own home. It was recently home to a badger, a story that went viral, and they were keen to keep the momentum going with a badger themed kids quiz and a badger sticker should you get the questions all right. We helped Missy with the quiz, and were pleased to come away with a sticker for the effort - certainly one of the most enjoyable quizzes we've done for a while! Altough Missy is barred from badgers, her last encounter with one left her with a lot of stitches and left the ubby and I with a rather large vet bill! Cute animals, but dangerous!
Within the grounds of the castle is the entrance to Netham Gorge, a mile long riverside walk into the nearby village. We were over confident of ourselves, and found the trail very steep with lots and lots of steps - a good walk, but perhaps not suitable with all the rain we've had! Missy had a tremendous time running through the undergrowth and hunting voles and bunnies. The village didn't turn up anything dog friendly but, as it was hammering with rain by that point, we didn't venture far, so I cant say that is the case for sure! Turning round, we all headed back to the car and dried off on the drive home.
Now for a well deserved cup of tea (or two) whilst we wait for a gap in the weather for Missy's evening walk - not that I think she's worried about one as she's fast asleep on the sofa in her dressing gown!