You can always tell you’re in for it when traveling in Scotland if every time you make a turn the road gets narrower. This was one of those times. It didn’t help that we were heading towards a place called “Sandend” to find a castle called “Findlater.” Always a joke with the Scots.
After a while they didn’t even bother with occasional passing spots on the one-lane road, but with our nearly unblemished record intact we pulled up into a small gravel car park behind someone’s house. There were several vehicles in evidence, but no people. Where’d they go? We were on top of a high plateau with acres of nothing but waving fields of grain.
Has to be barley right? After all, this is whiskey territory. There is no castle. No sign. Just a path leading through the field toward the ocean.
The only interruption in this ocean of barley was a cone shaped thing sticking up out of the grain. We couldn’t tell how big it is, or how far away.
After about ten minutes of walking the path bifurcates. With no sign to guide us we chose straight ahead and walked directly toward the cliff overlooking the sea. Still, we saw nothing.
We reached the precipice and down over the rocky edge was a sight so mind blowing that we gasped and had that knee wobbly, will-I-jump or will-I-not moment. There was the ruin of Findlater Castle, clinging to the rocks far below.
The castle started as a stronghold in the 13th century, then grew and changed hands in bitter feuds, something of a Scottish specialty, until it was abandoned in the mid 1600s.
There’s a map showing two paths down the castle cliff, one suicidal and one death defying; most of the reviews on Google Maps suggested you don’t try, but if you must, have at it.
I had the internal talk, listened to my better angels, stayed mostly on top and took photos.
On the way back we took the right bifurcation toward the beehive thing. It’s called a doocot, at least in Scotland, where pigeons were raised in 700 nesting boxes inside. This one pulled double duty in WW2 for plane spotters.
We’re not sure what castle can top this. Now it’s back through the barley field and back on the road in search of a parkup.