. . . is his castle! Well, on Friday, we managed to get a complete castle to ourselves for an hour, and it was great!
We’d driven past Brougham Castle, in Cumbria, quite a few tines, but never visited, so last week we thought it was about time! It was a bit breezy, but not too cold, and at least it was dry! The castle is maintained by English Heritage, and sits next to the River Eamont, which we were told used to be the boundary between England and Scotland (before the plucky English pushed back those heathen Scots, or maybe it was the heathen English pushing back the plucky Scots, who knows)!
We arrived around mid-morning and, since it was a week day, it was pretty quiet. We paid the entry fee and bought a guide book (which I virtually never read while I’m walking round) then walked across to the castle itself. The few people already there must have just been finishing their visit, because after about 10 minutes they left, leaving the whole castle to me, my wife and our two dogs! Well, the dogs thought this was great and promptly set off trying to explore every nook and cranny available. It’s a good job we kept them on short leads, because the iron fencing that’s in place to stop humans any bigger than a small child from falling into the wells or off the top of the keep poses absolutely no barrier at all to a small, agile dog!
So, we had the place to ourselves for about an hour and walked round the site a couple of times. At certain locations there are information displays, very nicely illustrated with paintings showing what the castle would have looked like in the past from the same vantage points, which was really good (and the guidebook also has some nice illustrations in it, I’ve since discovered)!
I climbed the 70-odd steps up the spiral staircase to get to the top of the keep, while my wife thought it more prudent to stay at ground level and make sure inquisitive dogs didn’t get too excited! We then had a walk back round to the car and across the old stone bridge over the River Eamont (now repaired since suffering flood damage in 2015), effectively undertaking a very small scale invasion of what used to be Scotland! However, in place of swords and crossbows we were armed only with ice creams, a camera and two small, happy dogs!