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Castle Bolton

May 9, 2013


(Castle Bolton in the Yorkshire Dales.
One of my favorite places on earth #1 in a series)

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several castles in England and Scotland—some intact and still in use and some that lie in ruins. I’ve seen the storybook-like castle on the hill in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve been to Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, which is the ancestral home of the chiefs of the clan MacLeod for over 800 years (as fans of the TV series Highlander, my wife, daughter and myself had to see it. We just had to). And I have a wonderful memory of exploring the ruins of Urquhart Castle, on my fiftieth birthday, which lies along the banks of Loch Ness.

One of my favorite castles to roam around in is Castle Bolton in the Yorkshire Dales. The castle is in a constant state of slow, but steady, restoration and I enjoy seeing the progress they’ve made with each visit. A great deal of the castle can be explored and you can climb to the very top and enjoy a fantastic view of that particular section of the dales.

I fancy time travel and I enjoy books, movies and TV shows that feature that theme. At Bolton, like no other place I’ve ever visited, I feel the most flirtatious connection with the past. As if only a small, quantum push of some kind could send me through the veil of ages and into the olden days.

I can imagine Mary Queen of Scots sequestered there, sewing, reading and doing the things of leisure someone of her class would enjoy. Castle Bolton was one of many castles that imprisoned Mary, when she was under house arrest (or Castle arrest, if you will) by Queen Elizabeth—the first of her name. She was held prisoner at Bolton for six months. Her stay there couldn’t exactly be described as a hardship, as she could walk the countryside and hunt game. She also had so many attendants and knights that only thirty of them were able to stay with her at the castle, while the rest had to seek nearby lodging.

I can easily imagine the farmers and peasants walking about the road and rolling swales and dales that stretch out into the distance. I can picture fifteenth-century children running around with stick swords pretending to wage war for queen and country. I can see peasants digging in the wet soil and one of them saying, “There’s some lovely filth over here!” Or it could be that I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail the other night and I’m still under its influence.

Look at the photo above. Is it just me, or does that not look like a place “unstuck” in the fabric of time and space? It looks as if, at any moment, a knight on horseback could ride up and tell you to get the hell out of his way. It’s just me, huh?

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One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on My Weekender and commented:
    I’m totally having a fairy tale episode. I’m all over these castles ❤

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