Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Castles in the Ayr

This time last year, I was working hard at the allotment plot getting the ground ready for planting, sowing the seeds, transplanting and moving the greenhouse from one plot to the other. But things have changed, we no longer have an allotment plot, so we have had to find other ways to entertain ourselves at the weekends. Well with the sun shining gloriously, of course I could have stayed indoors and did some housework and laundry, to dry naturally outside. But no we decided to take a drive on the South West coast of Scotland.
Our destination was Culzean Castle and Country Park. Culzean was Scotlands first Country park. Before we go any further, I want to forewarn you that this post will be photograph heavy. There were a lot more, but I managed to reduce it to these. I do sincerely hope you enjoy them.
This is the gateway to the Castle.
Culzean Castle
This handsome chap is a sundial.
Some kind of decorative canon with fish staring out at the waters.
A walk around the Greenhouse made us smile as we admired the colours of these citrus fruits.
We passed this pakoda and these canons, as we walked carefully down to the beach.
Nature - This is so true.
I am not sure what the dome building is. Perhaps some sort of changing room, but the building behind it is apparently a Laundry house.
Such beautiful colours. Don't you think?!
As we had turned up at the Castle quite early, we were the only ones on the beach. We certainly made the most of it. The coastline, four miles of rocky shore, sandy and clean beaches and cliffs with panoramic views over the Firth of Clyde to Arran and Kintyre. Truly stunning and appreciated more so on such a clear day.
I love how these trees branches are twisted. I wonder if they are natural or manipulated by human beings. I have a feeling that they have been crafted as they formed an archway. I can just imagine D and me sitting on one of the branches K-I-S-S-I-N-G. But of course we did not, we are just too grown up for that kind of thing now.
Water lilies. Yellow and green were the dominant colours in the Country Park.
We walked around the Swan pond, a 13 acre lake with resident wild fowl. This was certainly a therapeutic sight. The swan nesting and her friend, helping further with more natural resources towards the nest. They were not disturbed by our presence at all.
The most spectacular duck house I have ever seen. I know where I’d want to live if I were a birdie.
The walled garden featured a herbaceous border and a kitchen garden,but as expected there was not much growing there at all and there were no plants were for sale either due to the slow start in the growing season.
Victorian vinery was also a bit sleepy, but it hosted a thatched summer house. It actually reminded me more of those old fashioned waiting rooms in black and white Hollywood movies.
We also saw our first butterfly. In fact there were three of them, bees too and other wonderful creatures with wings - no dragonflies though.
Who needs to admire 'A' List celebrities walking down a red carpet, when you have such a natural red carpet here. It was truly beautiful. The next stop was the Camellia House, where I thought I found the cutest ever fairy slipper (see bottom left photograph in the collage). Then I looked up and realised it the was the outer of the casing of these flowers which I think are some kind of Camellia, but you can correct me. I am familiar with vegetables and herbs, but such glamorous flowers and trees are still a mystery to me.
A couple of years ago, I marvelled at the soft blanket pods of broad beans, but this in the flower world has taken the crown. It was so, so soft like a bunny rabbits ear.
Then I saw this bearded Pixie. Now that's a sight you don't see everyday. It certainly a change from the Smiling Big Fat Buddha, don't you think?!


  1. What a fantastic post

    but if you don't mind me asking, why don't yo have your allotment anymore?

  2. Great post Mangocheeks! I do so love exploring castles on a sunny day.

  3. This is an outstanding post! I love the castle entryway and the butterfly. :)

  4. Beautiful photos, Mango. You live in a magical place. I love the rocky shoreline and the architecture. And those twisted trees are awesome!

  5. Beautiful indeed. I spent my childhood summers at my Grandmothers caravan at Croy Bay - a stone's throw from Culzean Castle.

    Saying that - although I know I've visited Culzean, I really don't remember it..... maybe a visit this summer and a trip down memory lane is in order.

    Have you REALLY got all the stuff down the right hand side planted in your garden ? Wow - that's an allotment sized list !

  6. What a wonderful trip thanks for sharing and yes I love the pixie much more than a buddha

  7. I once had the opportunity to study abroad in Scotland. I turned it down.....I was scared I'd never come back. I'm still sad I never took the chance, but I knew I'd miss my family.

    Beautiful pictures. I'd love to see more of your travels.

  8. Places like that seem pretend to me. I have never traveled outside the US. I dream of places like that...

  9. It sounds like you had a wonderful day out. It will be a change going on outings instead of spending the time at the allotment. I'm sure you will find some lovely places to visit.

  10. beautiful pictures! i love the twisted trees and the pixie statue looks a little like the fawn in the lion the witch and the wardrobe!
    love the title of the post too!

  11. This looks soooo good, I dont know why I haven't visited here before! It's now on my To Do list thanks! :D

  12. Thanks for sharing your adventure. I, personally, love your photo-heavy posts. Hooray for all the happy yellow citrus and flowers. They definitely lift your spirits, don't they?! ; )

  13. Stunning pics. I love those trees all wild and Wuthering Heights. What fun it would be climbing them!

  14. Thank you Greenglap,
    No of course I don't mind you asking. It was burned down deliberately along with a number of others. I have no doubt that is someone on the plot. If you follow the link below/entry post below. You can read a little about the background.

    Thanks Jacqueline,
    We were not permitted to take pictures inside the castle. Thats okay, there was plenty of natural beauty.

    Thank you Haymarket8.

    Thank you Barbara.
    I do wish I lived in a magical place, but that is not the case. I live on a grey bleak industrial estate with the train shuddering my flat. But the good thing is I do live a drive away from such pretty places in Scotland. I agree the twisted trees are awesome!

    Thank you Sarah-Jane.
    So you must know Culzean Castle well :D
    It is a splendid place, you can def. spend all day there, just be sure to take a picnic with you!

    I had to correct the text in my sidebar. I have these seedlings growing on my windowsill, not yet in the plot. I don't think they are all going to fit, but I sure am going to try. The garden plot is small. I thought it measured 10foot, but its actually 8footby 6 foot (plus pots). I am certainly going to make the most of it.

    Thank you Catsngrams. I'm glad you liek the pixie, me too!

  15. Oh Ribbit,
    What a shame. One of my best friends came over for University (1 year exchange) and she went back. But she had a the love of her life waiting back home, so Scotland could hold onto her :D I so miss her.

    I am sure Scotland would still welcome you. Scotland biggest industry is is tourist trade!

    I totally know what you mean. I too have not travelled overseas much, and exploring whats in my backyard has only come about now.

    Thank you Karen.
    There was so much detail about the place.

    Thank you Jo.
    I know i'll be enjoying these days out, but I do so much miss the allotment plot. It was my weekend haven :( I'll just have to try and make the my tiny garden plot my little haven now.

    Thank you so much Clare :)
    I have to confess I was going to label the title 'The red carpet, fairy slippers and pixie ears'. It was my husband that came up with 'Castle in the Ayr'. So I must give credit where it is due.

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment Catherine.

    Your so welcome MaddyG.
    I am so pleased you enjoyed the photo-heavy posts. I do get nervous, afterall it is a growing and cooking blog.
    I agree the colours do lift the spirit.

    Thank you Christine.
    The trees are marvellous. I'm sure they'd be fun climbing them, but I'm much too old for that now! :D

  16. Hi, Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. I have dreamed of being able to visit a castle like that....I enjoyed the trip so much!! Peace, Stephanie

  17. Mangocheeks.

    I have started to read the history and background of your lost allotment. Open-mouthed. What a eye opener. I am so sorry that this has happened to you.

    The situation you described somehow reminds me of the film Schlinders list, where the Nazis got fat by pillaging from the Jews.

    Whoever did this to you must surely be driven by jealousy.

    I am truly, truly sorry that this has happened to you.

    I think your blog is fantastic.

  18. What a gorgeous post and what great pics, came back from the West coast and Mull last Friday and longing to return, must add Culzean to the ever expanding list!

  19. Thank you Kateri.

    Oh Stephanie. I am so pleased you enjoyed the tour. Weather permitting. We may visit another castle and country garden :D

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I do believe it was a case of jealousy. We are still very sad about it.

    Hello there Jane aka Chicken Lover and Thank you so much for your comment.

    I've been to the Isle of Mull once and really loved it. I would love to go back.

  20. that's certainley a lot of stuff going on on your windowsill ! Saying that - I get carried away and plant too much....so much so I end up giving courgettes and beans away to people in car parks, petrol stations - you name it. They think I'm mad - but never had anyone say no yet !!

    I've stacked out the shed with seedlings and have only planted 1/2 the varieties I intend to. If you see a vegetable plant on my blog at some point that you fancy a plug or tow of - send me a mail :-P

  21. Mangocheeks, I LOVE your photos! I'm glad you decided to post so many of them, but greedy-me wishes you could have posted them all! :-) They're all wonderful, but I especially love the butterfly (gorgeous colors!), arch of twisted branches, the castle gateway (I have a thing for gates and doorways!), the lovely swans, the sundial and the bearded pixie. And that blue, blue sky... it matches our bluebirds! :-) Thank you for sharing such a glorious part of Scotland we didn't get to see. (So much beauty, so little time!)

    I'm off to read the article about your allotment's tragic fate, but I know from the comments it's going to make me sick. :-( I'll have to return for more beautiful photo-therapy after I read it!

  22. I know Sarah-Jane,
    In my heart I still think I have a lot of space, but in my head I know it is not so, but I just can't help it. Like you I am getting carried away!

    Thats so funny - you offering plants at various locations to people passing by. Cor if you came up to me and offered plants, I'd snatch them outta you hand before you could say ..do you want these? but now I have to be realistic. Space!

    Thank you for the kind offer regarding the seeds, if I do see something that tempts me. Please be assured I am comfortable not to ask you. Thanking you so much for your generousity.

    Thank you so much for coming y my blog. It is so much appreciated. I share the photography with my husband. He takes the ones of the scenic places mostly and moi the food. I will let my husband know about your admiration for his photographs. He's anamateur photographer and will be pleased. Your right the bluebirds certainly do match your bluebirds :D

    I will be exploring a lot more of Scotland at weekends now (weather permitting) so you will see a lot more photographs on my site. In the past it would have been a lot of growing vegetables. The blog will still have some growing veg, just not the extent it was this time last year :( I know you have read the history. Also Thank you for your kind comment re the allotment. It is appreciated as it the loss still hurts.

  23. Hey ho! You are never to old to entertain K-I-S-S-I-N-G in trees :)


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