We have been adding towers to our flickr photo archive recently and plan to continue to do so as we tour these ancient ruins.
Before I proceed though I feel I have to dispel a few myths.
- Just because a tower was built by a person with your surname does not mean your ancestors, or in fact anybody related to you, ever lived in it. If you're planning a trip to Scotland visit the towers and castles, because they are magnificent, but do a little extra research and find out where your family actually lived. It may be less glamorous, but it's your real history!
- Not all the towers were inhabited. Do a little research to find out the history of particular towers. The Historic Scotland website and the Royal Commission the the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) website will help you to find the real history.
- You don’t always need to pay to visit a tower. It’s true to say that charges are made for many, but not all and it doesn't necessarily follow that it’s the good ones you have to pay for. Some really magnificent towers are free to explore. This is particularly good if you are visiting Scotland with your family. Here’s some free tower houses to visit:
- Carsluith Castle - Near Creetown on the A75
- Drumcoltran Tower - Kirkgunzeon, near Dalbeattie
- Lochmaben Tower- On the shore of Lochmaben Loch
- Orchardton Tower - Near Dalbeattie
- Greenknowe Tower - Near Gordon
You can search the Historic Scotland website by region, cost and opening. Some of the sites are only open during the summer months.
There are of course many more Castles or Towers you do have to pay to enter. The entry fee helps to preserve and restore these ancient sites. You can ‘join’ Historic Scotland and then receive free entry to their castles (including Edinburgh and Stirling Castle) as well as receiving a magazine and half price entry to 500 heritage attractions in England!
If you’re reading this thinking you would rather have somebody plan your trip for you so all you have to do is arrive and join in the fun, visit Borders Journeys and Ian Walker will help you plan your trip!