Day 4 began as most of the previous days had, with the beautiful view from the windows revealing low cloud over the distant Grampian mountains, wreathing the hills like big fluffy scarves. I’m not sure this view would ever get old, you know.

Ben Vorlich from Cauldhame | Pentax K3ii, Prinzflex 200mm f3.5

After a relaxed morning and a brief trip into Stirling to do some shopping, we headed to Doune Castle, former seat of Robert III, First Duke of Albany. It was built in the late 14th century and has remained relatively unchanged since then, in fact with many of the planned structures never having been built. This series of stones jutting from the kitchen tower are evidence of planned building that never occurred.

Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm, f2

Doune Castle has played the role of, well, Castle in quite a few TV dramas and films. Most notably, it played Castle Anthrax, Camelot and Swamp castle from Monthy Python’s quest for the Holy Grail. The audio tour is voiced by Terry Jones and delivered with typical Pythonesque humour, especially as he recounts the various scenes that were filmed there.
These stairs lead up to the kitchen, which is where the ladies of Castle Anthrax were filmed.

Kitchen stairs, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Pentax 50mm, f2

This huge window is in the kitchen, casting light towards the 18 foot (!!!) wide fireplace, big enough to roast an entire ox on a spit. It’s massive. And delicious sounding.

The kitchen window, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Jo also enjoyed the audio tour – here she is learning about the kitchen.

Jo enjoying the audio tour of the kitchen, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Like many previously ruined buildings and castles, Doune Castle has those places where there are windows suspended high above everything else, left behind by long-missing floors.

Old stone window, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

This large studded door leads from the Lord’s Hall to the castle courtyard, where you can see the huge arched windows beyond. The curtain wall was built with these windows to light rooms that were never built.

Castle door, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Castle Doune seems to have a wealth of spiral staircases, leading between the floors and branching off to various rooms and chambers.

Spiral stair, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Sadly you weren’t allowed out on the battlements, from where the Frenchman threw insults at the questing Knights, but I did manage to squeeze my camera up to the gate. The darkening on the edges is from the gate bars, but I quite liked the effect.

The battlements, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

By this point, the rain was streaming down from the sky. Luckily there was plenty of castle to explore indoors, and plenty of windows from which to observe the torrent.

Simon surveying the rain, Doune Castle | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Tourist buses arrived all the time, despite the downpour. This shot is tilt-shifted in Lightroom to make it look more like a miniature…I’ll get a proper tilt-shift lens, one day!

Tour bus and tourists | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8, tilt-shifted in Lightroom

After we’d explored the castle, we braved the rain and headed out into the castle grounds to walk for a bit – and I’m glad we did. These beautiful pink flowers proliferated a short distance from the walls.

Pink wildflowers, Castle Doune | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Further down the river (the castle sits at the bend in the river, as so many do) we came across this tree – leaning to one side, still growing away healthily.

Leaning tree | Pentax K3ii, Cimko 28mm, f2.8

Our walk eventually led us to the confluence between two rivers, with a few scattered moments of sunshine, some skipped stones and a man fly-fishing in the distance. We headed for home.

As I sit at the dining table and type this, I can see Ben Vorlich and the Grampians from the window, clear and sharp – the clouds are lifting and there’s hope for some brighter weather tomorrow. That’s an exciting prospect!

P.S. Yesterday’s images came out a lot darker than I realised; something to do with working on my laptop which seems to really be struggling with editing the raw files from the K3ii! Apologies for that – hopefully they’re a bit better today.