Royal Connections……


Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland

As Scottish Castle go, Glamis must be the iconic image of a Highland Castle. For 0ver 1000 years it has been the ancestral home of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne… and still is a family home.

As for the Royal connecton…..  well, Glamis was one of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mothers most favourite places, it is here that Princess Margaret was born.

It has long been linked to Shakespear as his setting for “The Scottish Play”, Macbeth.

Well worth a visit, a Castle of intrigue, history, with lots of stories to tell…. and a chance to explore a unique family home.   The Cafe isn’t bad either 🙂

Weekend once again, so if you can relax a maybe plan your summer visits..  but

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

14th May

(C) David Oakes 2022


Wordless Wednesday…… A Favourite Place


Location:- The Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea,  Derbyshire

Built between 1590-1597 by Bess of Hardwick.  Often referred to as the Hall of Glass due to its then unique use of large glass windows in its construction

Wherever you are…..

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

5th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

It is a Puzzle…… our Weather


January and our flow of weather has turned much more Spring like.  Gone for now are the drab and ever so wet days of December.  Sunshine, clear skies all tempered with a wind from the north that does have fresh bite to it.

It was not a morning to waste so a brisk walk through Darley Abbey. Long shadows from the low sun emphasised the skeletons of the trees in Darley Park Arboretum.



I am well aware that this brief spring like weather cannot last.  The Met Office tells us a winter change is on the way…. not that they needed to tell us, we know from experience that once snows hit eastern USA it will land up here, usually no more than 7 days later.

Taking advantage of this bonus day we stretch out the walk and headed into Town (now I know that some locals will castigate me for calling Derby a town – it is a City they say. It is but only a small one)

Derby is a mix of the very old and the new.  I have to say I much prefer the historic buildings to the new constructions.

Alongside the River Derwent is the Silk Mill, part of the World Heritage site. A great location allowing it to show its style in isolation to the rest of its surrounds. But only a stones throw away is Derby Cathedral…..  hemmed in on the west side, by narrow street of the old town, but from the east it is open so also able to show off its stature..


Standing in the shadow of the Cathedral can be found a statue to Bonnie Prince Charlie (Charles Edward Stuart – The Young Pretender).


Derby played a pivotal moment in the history of Scotland, England and ultimately that of the British Isle. It was here that The Bonnie Prince had a change of heart.  He halted the march from Scotland to London that was intended to the claim the throne, here he turned and head back for Scotland.

That was 276 years and 29 days ago……..  the history of our nations may well have been so much different if events had unfolded differently. Here in the reality of today we can only reflect upon the might have been, dependant upon your historical point of view,  Derby is where the challenge was either won or lost.

In todays reality of our challenging times, can I again remind you all to….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

4th January

(C) David Oakes 2022


When is a Castle not a Castle…. when its a Broch


A Broch is very much a historic feature of Scottish architecture.  Iron age in origin, with suggestions that the name broch is of ancient Scottish and/or early northern Scandinavian adaption.  The historical background is still a cause of investigation and study with some conflicting opinion as to the original purpose of the building.

I am no expert, just love these structures and the varied surrounds in Scotland on which you discover them.  I am also of the opinion that they were an integrated family/community home.  OK, it is a solid stone structure.  The walls are invariable hollow, providing both insulation from the climate and also access to other levels.  It seems that cattle were kept with in these walls on the lower floor.  People then lived and worked on the upper floors where no doubt the heat from the animals added to the warmth in the winter months. But is it a castle? Well sort of.  It could also be described as a Manor House.  However you describe it a Broch provide a secure building for people and livestock, a place to work, a place to store food stocks and a place to relax but also a place that could be defended.  The fact that the entrance is restricted in size and no windows makes for a very secure building. The height also gave views over a wide range enabling possible hostile visitors to be seen early and precautions in a lawless world taken.

This Broch is known as Taobh A-Staigh An Duin.  It is located on the slopes of the Lochaber mountains near to Loch Hourn.  To help interpret these ruins a helpful illustrated plaque has been erected….


Stand within these walls and you have to be impressed by the skills of these early builders.  A Broch is a very practical structure, for the time in history when they were erected, they were also a very challenging and labour intensive project, a project only undertaken only with primitive hand tools.  You also have to be impressed with the concept of the Broch, a complete household, or maybe a farmstead or indeed a castle.


If you on your travels come across a Broch, allow your self some time to stand and wonder…. it also makes one consider if we relay have progressed.

No matter what you choose to ponder upon or where you travel this weekend…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

8th August

(C) David Oakes 2021

A Grand Interior……


Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire.

To be truly accurate the above is actually called the Little Castle.  So before I take you inside, let me explain.

The Little Castle is really a tower within the walls of Bolsover Castle.  Bolsover Castle stands high above the north Derbyshire Countryside.  Built on the site of a Medieval Fortification, Bolsover Castle was the dream of Sir Charles Cavendish.  Construction started in the very early 1600’s, with work on the Little Castle commencing in 1621. Work halted and some damage done when the Castle was occupied by Parliamentarians in the English Civil Wars of 1642/51.


It should be mentioned that the Castle was never intended as a Fortification.  After the Wars, it was restored and construction continued, to complete the Castle built for pleasure. So don’t be surprised at the sumptuous and lovingly restored interior of the Little Castle. So lets pop inside for a brief peak…


Pleasure was not just limited to the Little Castle.  The main Castle complex is more substantial, in terms of size, rooms, terraces and galleries, all spread along the hillside.  Today much of these buildings are only shells, but still convey the enormous size and complexity of the Castle.


Part of this complex was the concept of Sir William Cavendish who built a Riding School and Stables for the elegant horses he imported from as far afield as Turkey and North Africa. Today exhibitions of Cavalier Horsemanship is demonstrated for visitors.  Sadly I cannot illustrate this modern and exciting aspect as photography of the Demonstrations is not permitted.

I hope you have enjoyed our Saturday Tour…two castle in one cannot be bad.  Now don’t forget to shut the door when you leave 🙂


Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

10th April

(C) David Oakes 2021