Every little girl dreams about being a princess and live in a castle - on my birthday this year I was finally going to treat the 30 something year old little princess in me by staying in a castle in the ancient Kingdom of Kilmartin.
Imagine your perfect fairytale story, what are some of the essential characters that come to your mind instantly? These are the few ingredients that makes Kilmartin Castle a good fairytale to experience.
The Village - Ideal Setting for a Fairytale
Kilmartin is a small village about an hour away from Oban best known for its history. The village sits at the heart of the magical Kilmartin Glen, and there are over eight hundred ancient monuments to be found within six miles of the glen. These include ancient burial cairns, rock carvings, and standing stones, as well as the remains of the fortress at Dunadd. The top of the fort stone fortifications is still intact and in one of the slabs of rock closer to the summit there are remains of a bowl and a footprint that has been carved out. The footprint has been thought to have been part of the coronation ceremony for the kings of Dalriada. Although in many texts it mentions that the size of the shoe is meant to be a size 8, I am told by the locals that the footprint is magical and it changes shape to fit any shoe size. You can imagine my surprise when my humble shoe size of 3.5 fit perfectly into the carved stone, coronating me victoriously the Queen of Kilmartin for few seconds. As I looked up towards the glen, just like in fairytales, I felt the little princess in me turn into a fully grown up Queen, looking to fulfill her destiny.
Later that day, the newly coronated queen embarked on exploring her kingdom and the standing stones situated around the glen - the allure of the standing stones and the inescapable history of the glen left my imagination working overtime for the entire time.
The History behind the Castle
When the current owners Simon and Steph invited me to stay at their rustic castle, I looked up the history of the place. I found out that it was a 16 century castle built by the rector of Kilmartin and later it was owned by Clan Campbell. With the castle being just less than 500 years old, I am told that the castle itself has only had five owners. One of which was a homeless person that claimed it as their own and lived in it for few years. I am sure there is a story there that is in so many ways best left untold.
The Love Story
How the current owners Simon and Steph ended up owning the castle is a fairytale in itself. Two travelling foreigners met in Scotland and both not only fell in love with each other but also with the Kilmartin area. When the castle came up for sale they sold all their worldly possessions to buy it. Then they decorated every nook and corner of the castle with a certain kind of mismatch of antiques that evokes the mischievous curiousity in the little princess in me.
The Giant Mythical Creature
There was snow on the ground when I finally arrived at the castle, it was a long drive from central Scotland, not because of traffic but purely for the number of photo stops made. Argyll never ceases to amaze me, how it’s not a national park on its own is beyond my understanding. We met Karen, the Manager of the Castle. She was very friendly and happy to answer any questions. Then just before she left she introduced us to the Giant. Every good fairytale should have a giant character and in this one it was the key. She told us that it was the original key and the only key they had for the castle and I felt privileged to have been the caretaker of the Giant during our stay!
The Tiny Windows with Magical Views
There were many tiny original windows in the castle, each with special powers. Some windows showed you the past, some windows showed you the future. But my favourite window was the one that showed you the present. You get to live in the moment when you live a simple life.
In the morning of my birthday as I was getting ready in one of the three bedrooms of the castle, the window urged me to look outside. To my surprise, the window wanted to show me a character from one or my favourite fairytales. Bambi leaped and said hello..
I could go on with my fairytale characters that I found within Kilmartin castle or even go futuristic with the curious robots dotted around the castle. However I think it’s time for you to discover your own fairytale ending when you visit Kilmartin Castle. Click here for the link to their airbnb. In my unicorn estimation. It’s definitely a 5 unicorn star experience. Happy fairytale making...