of the Highlands
|Carbisdale Castle in all its glory|
|Me outside Carbisdale with the forests behind me – date unknown|
|Picture I took of the Railway bridge connecting Invershin station and Culraine – date unknown|
|A picture I took of the gallery – date unknown
|Picture I took of the main entrance to the castle – date unknown|
|Secondary entrance to castle|
|The winding path to the castle|
This isn’t the normal type of political post that I write but it is political. It is how a wonderful national asset in the Scottish Highlands, which produced an income for the communities around it from the tourists it attracted, was asset stripped by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association whilst the Scottish government looked on, or rather didn’t look on.
youth hostelling trip. I went back there repeatedly. The Highlands are the most beautiful and unspoilt part, not only of Britain, but Europe too. In particular I
was fascinated with Carbisdale Castle, the most unique youth hostel I’ve ever stayed in. Built for the Duchess
of Sutherland by her estranged family by marriage, it is situated in Sutherland and can be seen for miles around.
|the lower gallery|
times. It is situated in the most
glorious part of the Highlands, on the banks of the Kyle of Sutherland. It is served by two railway stations, at
Culraine and across the bridge at Invershin.
Trains run or used to run about 3 times a day.
life as I would hitch-hike from Liverpool and then Brighton to Scotland and and stay without fail
in the castle, about 50 miles north of Inverness and about 5 km north of Bonar
Bridge. The last time I stayed in it was with my daughter in 2003.
decade, we decided to rent a cottage a couple of miles north of the
castle. When I inquired about the
castle, the owner of the cottage told me that it was a
scandal what had happened. The castle
had been closed for about 5 years because of the need for repairs and instead
of raising the money, the Scottish Youth Hostel Association had decided to sell
the castle off, which they finally managed to do this year for less than a
million pounds. Less than a family home
paintings on the wall. The vandals of
the SYHA sold these off first in order to raise money. Scotland has its own government which at the
time in question was controlled by the Scottish National Party. What the hell were the SNP doing during this
process? The Scottish government should
have used its powers to preserve the castle intact, if necessary passing legislation
to this effect. It should have ensured
that the £6 million necessary to repair the castle was forthcoming and a unique and irreplaceable national heritage
was preserved for future generations of Scots.
Instead they paid homage to the free market and allowed the vandalism of
capitalism to take full effect. The
paintings and sculptures were sold off for double what it was thought they were
worth, £1m, more than the castle itself and now some property company has
bought it in order to turn it into a private residence for some playboy.
The Labour opposition at Holyrood is of course no better. It failed to raise the issue and one suspects
they knew nothing of it either.
and information I gathered from brochures as well as other pictures from
amongst other sites Sothebys!
|PUTTO READING, IN A LANDSCAPE
be seen here and the statues and art can be seen here
the most beautiful forests and country.
Features and facts
castle has 365 windows, one for each day of the year.
clock-tower only has clocks on three sides. The side facing Sutherland
does not have a clock.
- There is
a secret door below the Great Staircase which could be opened by rotating
one of the statues. This mechanism is not in use anymore.
castle is said to have several ghosts. It has been investigated by
paranormal experts with varying results. The appearances include a lady in
white, fallen soldiers of the Battle of Carbisdale and the sounds of a
piper. The Ghost of the Castles GardenerThe Hooded Gardener is said to
roam the grounds looking for his lost daughter, he often haunts girls that
are the same age as his own daughter (15); he has been seen dressed in
black with a black hood with only part of his face shown.
Castle has a large collection of art with some pieces dating back to the
are 19 Italian marble statues in the Lower Gallery of amazing beauty,
dating back to around 1857.
May, Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, a private school, had a school
trip there. During this time, bagpipes were played at 7 in the morning as
|Cupid in Repose|