You may have read earlier in the week that we had a change of plan from walking up Ben Vrackie on Monday and that we visited the Poppies Weeping Window in Perth instead? Well what I didn’t add was that after the poppies and having a coffee in town we stopped off at Elcho Castle on the way home.
The Dude and I have seen the little brown signs many times travelling back home from Perth or when going up to Moncreiffe Hill for a walk and have said practically every time we drove passed that we must go and visit.
So we knew Elcho Castle was well sign posted but that didn’t stop us from wondering if we were going the right way. It’s not actually visible until you are right upon it near the banks of the river Tay and as we wound our way down the lane and we then found ourselves driving through a farm yard! Continuing through we discover more signs that tell us we are still going the right way and then the castle is in sight.
First task was to negotiate a parking space even though there were only about seven vehicles parked when we arrived including a van for workmen who are currently on site. It was full. No room at the inn (or castle in this case). Thankfully as we were contemplating turning around, a car left and we were able to nip into the space.
Greeted by the friendly lady in the ticket office we paid our £4.50 entry fee and she explained to us the lay out of the castle and that because of the maintenance work being done, unfortunately the high battlements were closed.
As soon as we walked in through the door it was clear to see how grand this 16th century tower house would have once been. The sweeping stone spiral staircase and a long corridor on the ground floor I was imagining members of the Wemyss family (and staff) going about their daily business. The castle still retains it’s roof and so as you go up the spiral staircases (they get increasingly narrow) to the floors above and you certainly get a sense of how it would have felt in its former life before it was handed into the care of the state in 1929 (and currently looked after by Historic Environment Scotland).
In the grand hall there is still a VERY large table to which I assume will have been used to entertain in years gone by.
In some of the rooms there is still evidence of some rather lovely stonework showing fleur de lys too. Beautiful fireplaces and great views from the windows too. Access all areas here too, even the latrines were still in place.
We wandered around for just over an hour reading the information boards in many of the rooms, disturbed only by three children being allowed to run wild, unaccompanied around the castle, whilst their parents were sat outside oblivious to the noise and chaos! Anyway…..
We had a great time, sadly the rain was quite heavy when we wanted to wander around the orchard so we shall definitely be returning for another look. *Update* I have since been back on my own – it was sunny and the apple blossom was in full bloom. I even managed to get up onto the roof and admire the Perthshire countryside views. That’s some view.
All in all, Elcho Castle is sadly missed out of the visitor trail and it shouldn’t be. Even some of the locals haven’t visited this pretty place. It’s a shame. In better weather picnics could be had on the lawn or benches provided. Take in just how peaceful it is down there by the river. A piece of local history.