From time to time, I might be accused of being a romantic traveller. I’m not interested in staying in a chain hotel, where the rooms look the same no matter what country it’s in. I love to stay in an inn, bed and breakfast, or even a casbah that really reflects the place I’m visiting and its people.
So it should come as no surprise that when we visited Scotland seven years ago, I wanted to spend a night in a castle.
Great idea, but here’s the problem: most castles are really expensive. The amount of money it would have cost for the Pollock family to stay one night in many Scottish castles would have eaten up half our trip budget.
So I started researching castles that were a little off the beaten track, and found the charming Castle Levan. Recently restored by Historic Scotland, and run by Lady Lydia and her husband Jan, it perfectly suited our budget and our need for romance.
We loved exploring the castle inside and out, and Lady Lydia was eager to show off her wonderful homestead. A narrow stone staircase wound up to our third floor bedrooms. Our rooms were homey rather than glamorous, which suited us perfectly. Most important, there were enough turrets, stone walls and arrow loops to make us feel like we were experiencing a small part of the Middle Ages.
Best of all, the castle even came with its own ghost, The White Lady. Since we were traveling with our two little girls, we were grateful that Jan waited until breakfast the following morning to tell us the story. We didn't see this apparition, but shivered to hear the tale that involved Lady Marion Montgomery and Mary of Guise (the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots). Forget the girls – I’m not sure I would have slept a wink had I known about this ghostly being that haunts the premises.
And how smitten were the girls with Lady Lydia? When she was too ill to join us for breakfast and see us off in the morning, they drew her Get Well cards.
|Photo credit: Castle Levan|