Carlise Castle, Carlisle, England

Carlise Castle, Carlisle, England

We are off to Scotland! The weather has been lovely and we are hoping that it will hold out a little longer. On our way to the Highlands we stopped at Carlisle Castle and Hadrian’s Wall. Carlisle is a 900 year old castle on the border of England and Scotland. Some of the castle was actually built with stones from Hadrian’s wall.

Falls of Dochert

Falls of Dochert

We drove up through Scotland to Killin, a village situated at the western head of Loch Tay in Stirlingshire, Scotland.  The west end of the village is built around the Falls of Dochart. It’s a beautiful place with a bridge connecting the Main Street over the falls. The boys loved hopping over the rocks. Behind our little rental house is a gorgeous path which leads over the river to a pasture full of sheep, horses and a stone circle. Rich and I can’t get enough of these Neolithic sites, but the boys don’t see the appeal.  Our 11-year-old said: “It’s some rocks… in a circle…???”

Falls of Dochert

Falls of Dochert

Loch Tay has some wonderful archeological sites from the Bronze Age called Crannogs.  During that time, the local people began building homes over the lake, with bridges connecting them back to the land.  They were large structures that could sleep 20 people and livestock, with a central hearth.  They had walls that were the first known example of double-walled insulation, using fur and local plants.

Crannog Center, Scotland

Crannog Center, Scotland

Harrison working the lathe

Harrison working the lathe

At the Scottish Crannog Centre, archaeologists recreated a full crannog using as much of the local materials and techniques as they could, and you can go on a tour of the crannog with a guide who explains how they were built and answers everyone’s questions. He also demonstrated how to use the wood lathes of the time, which were fascinating contraptions that used tree branches and levers to allow spinning of wood and carving.  The boys all got to try their hand at it, which was a lot of fun.  Our guide also demonstrated how they made fire, and actually started a fire using the techniques.  We tried making fire too, and that is also harder than it looks!

Aidan getting into character at the Scottish Crannog Center

Aidan getting into character at the Scottish Crannog Center

Scottish Crannog Centre
http://www.crannog.co.uk/
+44(0)1887 830583 info@crannog.co.uk
Family from £21.00

The Old Smiddy
Main Street, Killin, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
http://www.theoldsmiddykillin.co.uk/
Good food just down the street from the Falls of Dochart.  They have a good kids menu and great cakes (including a gluten-free option)