Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Castle Law

Look at that sign. We can upgrade to first class for $15 each. Let's do it. Not only will we get more room, complimentary water and snacks, but the wifi will be free for the six-hour trip from London to Glasgow, leaving only a short trip to West Killbride and the castle where we would stay for the next week. It was definitely worth the extra money. 

A smaller, older, and slower train took us from Glasgow to West Kilbride. Like other European trains it left and arrived on time. They are so dependable that people arrive at the station within a minute of the scheduled departure and walk right on the train.

Once in West Kilbride, we studied the map for bit before succumbing to the fat that we would have to pull our heavy bags up that hill leading from the station. At least the weather cooperated. Actually, the weather cooperated for the entire trip. We only had a couple of rain squalls and they were while we were riding or eating. 

While the castle is simply a large block of stone, it does look like a castle around the top and with its small windows. Inside it fits the bill even better with the spiral staircase, low doorways and drafty windows. The only thing it is missing a courtyard and moat. One would not expect to see Errol Flynn or Robin Hood swinging from the chandeliers. 

We learned that staircases spiral to the right to give defenders that advantage of using their right arms to fight. The short doorways are also defensive as they forced the attackers to bend over to enter a room. They were also effective in giving me a headache. We did not stay there long enough for me to get in the habit of ducking.
Castle Law was built as a wedding present for Princess Mary, eldest daughter of James III of Scotland. It had fallen into disrepair before being bought and restored by Dr. Anthony Philip Philip Philips in the 1980s. This was during a time when the British government provided tax incentives for restorations. Originally, the castle was for the family. Today it is owned by David and Mary Hutton who rent out to groups like ours and for weddings. One bride-to-be scouted the place while we were there. The charge would be $3500 for the day.
David Hutton looks the part?
The first floor had one bedroom and an utility room we used to store luggage we didn't want to carry up the narrow stairs. The main living area is on the second floor. Three floors of bedrooms rise above. The accessible roof offers a view of the surrounding countryside.
Main Living Room
The Kitchen Archway
The living area had a large fireplace with a bit of wood to get us started. The kitchen was partially hidden behind an arch about 5' high. The stove filled up half the space. For some reason I never understood, it is designed to be always on, perhaps because it then provides heat for the bedrooms above. We just used the kitchen for breakfast and snacks. Most of our dinners were on the road or in town.
Our Bathtub
Thankfully, Not Our Bathtub
Each bedroom had a fireplace we were not allowed to use. Bathrooms varied. The first floor was totally made of stone. On the upper floors, one room had a clawfoot tub; another had a shower with no lip on the floors so if you took too long a shower, the water would run into the bedroom and drop to the kitchen below. Enjoy the pictures.

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