Posted by: Shanna Germain | 08/09/2009

Pg. 131: Rothesay Castle (Redux)


Part of Rothesay Castle, looking into the chapel.


As promised, a post today on Rothesay Castle, which I went and explored yesterday (and would have written about it then, but there was cloud cover or a bird flew over the island or something, and my mobile Internet essentially exploded). You can read all about the castle at the link above, including when it was built, when it was rebuilt, when it was destroyed (and by whom) and anything else you could possible want to know about the castle. I suck at history, so I’ll let them tell you all about it, and at least you’ll know all the names and dates are right!

What I do want to talk about is the Pit Prison. Not surprisingly, my favorite parts of any old building are the dark and seedy underbellies. In Rome, my favorite thing was the Coliseum — namely the gladiator pits. I like haunted houses and old buildings and those places you’re not supposed to go. So, the Pit was … awesome and, yes, scary. Namely the climb into it, which is on a rickety ladder into a very tight tunnel that’s so small you can’t even see your feet. And down and down you go. The pit is tiny and dank and smells like mold and wet stone and dead things and you can’t help but wonder what they did with the little tiny cut-outs in the walls (bathroom? food? mini Pit Prisons for the really, really bad guys? Kiddie Jail?). I can’t imagine how long they held people down there, but after five minutes, I was ready to climb out and return to the real world.

Coming back outside into the sunlight made my eyes water after all that tiny darkness. But it was very very good to see the sky again.

Far and fast, s.



The view of the moat, the town of Rothesay and the sea, all from the middle wall of the castle. See those clouds? Yes, it poured about five minutes after I got back inside.



The sign to the Pit Prison, just in case you couldn’t find the tiny, thin, tunnelly thing that goes down about twenty feet into the ground on a rickety ladder. Or in case you wanted to pretend you couldn’t find it.



Me, in the Pit Prison. Yes, I climbed down the rickety ladder. Yes, this is the place horror movies are made of. Yes, I felt all Blair Witchy. It was good.


“Listen, lad. I built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. Other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ’em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one… stayed up! And that’s what you’re gonna get, lad: the strongest castle in these islands.” ~Monty Python



  1. King of Swamp Castle: We live in a bloody swamp. We need all the land we can get.

    Prince Herbert: But I don’t like her.

    King of Swamp Castle: Don’t like her? What’s wrong with her? She’s beautiful, she’s rich, she’s got huge… tracts of land.

    Ah, to go down in history for having huge…tracts of land.


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