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May 2010
The blog page, a place where I can record and then archive my monthly updates and what's new in our hunt for castles UK.

This months Scottish castle, grange, houses and tower, are from East Lothian, Fife and West Lothian.

In April we got back to updating the website and blog on time, which is a first and may never happen again. I've got to say that of late, I'm full of the joys of spring, maybe it's because the sun's shining and the days are getting warmer. The garden was looking a mess after the winter and I'm even finding time to put that back in order, this time management and getting out of my chair is working. No big castle hunts planned for a while but we may nip out on a couple of small ones, don't know yet. Started to think about going up to Inverness in the summer, to visit Culloden, it would have to be a 6 day hunt, the biggest to date, also later in the year we are thinking of going back to Northumberland, an area we both love to visit.
Time Team started with Westminster Abbey on Sunday 18 April, trying to pin down the location of a lost sacristy and on the 25th, they went to Mull, where a mysterious set of earthworks have been found near the town of Tobermory. The locals believe they have uncovered one of the earliest chapels in Scotland, founded by the Irish priest who brought Christianity to the north of Britain, Saint Columba. Both were cracking shows which had twists to them but next Sunday it's back to Roman again at Piercebridge, County Durham, I just hope they can keep up the high standard of the show.
We managed to get in a Levellers gig at the end of the month at Holmfirth, which is where the long running BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine is set and filmed. The Levellers are an English rock band influenced by punk and traditional English music and are based in Brighton since being founded there in 1988. They got their name from the Levellers, a radically democratic faction of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army or simply a word chosen from the dictionary. Strongly interested and outspoken about green anarchism issues, the band have built up a strong and devoted fanbase, despite being nearly universally ignored by mainstream critics. They continue to tour extensively around Britain and Europe but maintain a mutual dislike with the music press which stems from their early days. It is a little known fact that in the 1990s, The Levellers had more gold and platinum selling albums than any other UK band and it's always a great show.

Click on the pictures, for more information.

Carriden House Wallpaper
Carriden House, OS 65/NT 025-808 West Lothian Scotland, is this months wallpaper.
The picture was taken in March 2010 and the view is of the eastern tower, taken from the graveyard. Dating back 750 years and now within the grounds of Carriden, its church is believed to have been founded by St Ninian, in 1243.
The site is a guest house and the owner was kind enough to let us view and take pictures the outside of the house, to thank her, I've made this large Scottish baronial mansion, with gun-loops, large windows and small turrets corbelled out at the angles, wallpaper of the month.
 Carriden House
Carriden House, OS 65/NT 025-808 West Lothian Scotland.
Was originally a late 16th century stone unadorned tower house, founded by the Abercrombies. Standing at the eastern conclusion of the 2nd century Antonine Wall, this site has been continually occupied since the Roman fort of Veluniate was built. With a vaulted basement and a steeply pitched stone roof, Sir John Hamilton of Letterick rebuilt the eastern five storey L-plan tower house, in 1602. Never of any great strength, the house was considerably remodelled and enlarged in the 19th century. The site is an authentic Scottish family run guest house and access is restricted to guests with reservations for an overnight stay or a wedding ceremony.
A site that's down a farm track at Stone Cottage, it's full of history and overlooks the shore of the River Forth.
 Fenton Tower
Fenton Tower, OS 66/NT 543-821 East Lothian Scotland.
Is a mid 16th century stone L-plan tower house, founded by Patrick Whytelaw. Built on a commanding rocky eminence and of four storeys and a garret, the entrance in the re-entrant angle leads to a vaulted basement. In 1650 Cromwell's commander in Scotland, General Monck sacked the tower, which then lay in ruins for over three centuries, before being renovated and restored in 1998. The site is privately owned and offers exclusive use of the castle and landscaped gardens, bed and breakfast accommodation or a wedding ceremony venue and is visible from the road.
If your looking to rent a Scottish castle, this good looking tower would fit the bill.
 Kirkcaldy of Grange
Kirkcaldy of Grange, OS 66/NT 270-885 Fife Scotland.
Was originally a mid 16th century stone tower house, founded by the Kirkcaldy family. A doorway dated 1687, on the north side of the main block and a massive fragment of wall, are incorporated within a later farmhouse. Flanking the north angle is a round tower, with stringcoures, a gunloop and a later entrance, it probably housed a turnpike stair. The view from Jawbanes Road is restricted.
Not much of a view here but it's another castle in the bag.
Piteadie Castle
Piteadie Castle, OS 66/NT 257-891 Fife Scotland.
Is a late 15th century stone rectangular keep and courtyard fortress, probably founded by the Valance family. Of three storeys and a garret, the Boswells and the Calderwoods, considerably altered the castle in the 17th century. The basement is vaulted and projecting out on the eastern angle, is the wing of a spiral stair crowned by a two storey cap-house. The site is visible from the road.
Great looking ruin but it's a long way from the road.
Sydserf House
Sydserf House, OS 66/NT 541-817 East Lothian Scotland.
Is a stone 17th century L-plan house, founded by the Sydserf family. For many years this much-altered house was a two storeys farm building, with an unvaulted basement and two shot-holes in the walls. In 2006, Sydserf was renovated and restored into a three storey L-plan tower house. The site is visible from the road.
Close to the road so you can get a good look, bit of a surprise this one, all the books and pictures say two storey ugly duckling, not this lovely three storey swan.

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