A Scottish castle by the sea

Have you ever stayed in a castle? Well now you can, thanks to the Landmark Trust, who restore beautiful old buildings and let them out as holiday rentals. I was lucky enough to spend a week at Saddell Castle in Kintyre, Scotland, in November for a family gathering.

Saddell Castle, Kintyre, Scotland

It felt such a privilege to spend time here, somewhere so rich in history - I kept wondering what stories the walls could tell.... The castle had been decorated perfectly - in keeping with its age, yet it wasn't a museum. It was comfortable -  you could sit anywhere without worrying about damaging anything and properly use the space and make yourself at home. This was a key aim of the Landmark Trust and I think they got it spot on.

The castle is nestled in Saddell Bay and is pretty well camouflaged.

Saddell Castle, Saddell Bay, Kintyre, Scotland

This is the view (below) from the dining room - pretty spectacular isn't it? Saddell Bay is beautiful, unspoilt and quiet - the perfect place for walking and contemplation. If you're looking for somewhere away from it all, then this is it. There is no wifi and very little phone signal -  bliss! (I think that is now advertised as a "feature" in today's over busy world).

Saddell Castle, Saddell Bay, Kintyre, Scotland

This is the view (below) from the ramparts - taken in the fading afternoon light.

View from Saddell Castle, Saddell Bay, Kintyre, Scotland
View from Saddell Castle, Saddell Bay, Kintyre, Scotland

I actually have shockingly few photos of the castle and its environs - highly unusual for me! The week we were there it rained - a lot! So the few glimpses you see were mostly taken in the few minutes when it wasn't raining, dark and grey. But the moody weather somehow suited the castle. And it forced me to unwind and relax - there were many afternoons spent next to a roaring fire, snoozing or reading or colouring in - absolute bliss!

Here are a few photos of the interior - please excuse the mess! I took these right at the end (I told you I was relaxed) when a burst of sunshine appeared and I thought - it's now or never.

This is the living room:

IMG_1903.jpg

The dining room:

And this is the bedroom we stayed in (again, please excuse the mess!). There were 5 bedrooms and most of them were huge and all were different and characterful. We could open our shutters and stare out at the sunrise over Saddell Bay and the Antony Gormley sculpture - a very special experience I shan't forget in a hurry.

We spent a lot of time wandering along the beach - I saw a heron most days, and a seal. This shot shows the Antony Gormley sculpture at low tide with some snow capped peaks in the background:

There is actually a heron in the shot below, but he's tiny. Sadly, my 24-105mm lens broke, so I had to fall back on my wide angle lens - not so good for wildlife shots!

This is Gossamer, our lovely furry companion for the week - we spent many a happy hour together snoozing by the fire. Our desire to get a dog of our own has never been stronger - watch this space!

The drive to and from the castle was just stunning (if rather hairy!) - we stopped as often as our schedule allowed. And typically, the day we left was filled with glorious sunshine - isn't it always the way?!

The following shots show sunrise along the west coast of Kintyre. I believe the peaks you can see are the "Paps of Jura", with Islay due west and Gigha slightly to the south.

My photos really don't do it justice (there wasn't time to get the filters out) - it was so beautiful. And there is even a seal in the shot below - you can just about see his head and a bit of his body in the water if you look closely. We saw lots of cormorants and oyster catchers too.

And a bit more November colour further along our journey back to Glasgow - can't remember the name unfortunately.

So there you have it - a very restful and very special week in a castle in the wilds of Scotland. I can highly recommend it! I think we're hooked now - having perused the (very well placed) Landmark Trust brochure in the castle, I've got my eye on a few places in Lundy next.... 

NB. This isn't a sponsored post, just an experience I wanted to share, that I thought you might enjoy.