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Stirling’s First Castle: An Exploration of Craigmillar Castle

While we know today is an important day for those celebrating Independence Day in the United States (Happy 4th of July everyone!), we also have a bit of a celebration here in Scotland. Our latest Wee Walking Tours canine family member- puppy Stirling- had an important milestone of his own to mark as he visited his first castle! In the tradition of his famous tour guide brother, Sawyer (which you can read more about here and here), Stirling takes over the blog this week to describe our castle exploration from his unique point of view.

Hello everyone! My name is Stirling, and for those who met me in my introduction blog post, you will probably be surprised to see how much I have grown since then. I have been having so much fun playing with my new brothers- Finn and Sawyer- and they have been teaching me a lot of important skills. Mom and Dad have fun calling us nicknames like- ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘The Three Amigos’, and ‘The Three Caballeros’. I have also been to see my friends at The Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Hospital for Small Animals. Mom and Dad tell me those visits were important because I got all my vaccines so I can safely join them on adventures.

Speaking of the vet, I had a feeling that my latest car ride wasn’t going to just be another visit for more jabs. That’s because Finn and Sawyer also came along, and- most importantly- we had on our bow ties. They both tell me that this is an essential part of our ‘explore and discover’ missions. Afterall, tartan bowties help us to stay classy.😏 Sure enough, as the van came to a stop in a car park I didn’t recognise, I could smell the excitement in the air. Mom and Dad started getting us all ready, and, before I knew it, we were setting off on an epic exploration.

I’m not going to lie, every day I wake up early with an abundance of energy and excitement for what lies ahead. Therefore, when I saw Craigmillar Castle for the first time, I could barely contain my enthusiasm- this was a lot bigger than our back garden. From a distance, it looked like a whole lot of stone, but I was about to learn there was so much more. By the way, Mom has previously written about Craigmillar Castle, so please be sure to read that for more information about its history.

Forgetting to heel, I picked up my step as we walked through the entrance gate. Wow, Craigmillar Castle is quite large up close! Since Finn and Sawyer have been here before, they took the lead to show me around the Castle grounds.

Sawyer, I hope I can be as much of as an expert canine tour guide as you some day.

I tried to smell everything I could in the lush, green grass. The sky was blue, and the sun was shining- what a beautiful summer day! Apparently, part of our adventures involves a lot of ‘sit and stay’ commands so Mom and Dad can take pictures of ‘The Three Musketeers’. I tried my best, but I must admit that my excitement took over on a few occasions- I am a puppy after all.

After a fun exploration of the grounds, Finn and Sawyer told me that they were going to take a break and let me investigate the Castle alone with Mom and Dad. I wasn’t sure if I was up for the task, but I decided to step up and take on the challenge. Plunging straight into the darkness, I carefully made my way across the uneven dirt/stone floor. The first room we went into required Dad and Mom to duck as they entered. They told me that it was the Castle prison where people were locked up! With the scary thought of being locked up, I didn’t want to linger, and we made our way out.

Wait up Mom and Dad! I don't want to get stuck in puppy prison!

Every where we went in Craigmillar Castle, I tried to do my brothers proud, and carefully explored everything so that I was ready to give them a full report when I was done.

One of the next rooms we visited was said to once be used by Mary Queen of Scots- one of the most famous women in Scottish history. Mom tells me that I’m going to hear about her quite a bit as we go on adventures around Scotland.

It’s so nice here in Mary’s room, I think I’ll take a wee break and sit down for a bit. It’s hard work climbing up that spiral staircase on our way to the rooftop. Sure, Dad is carrying me most of the way for safety (okay all the way), but my explorations are still exhausting.

Once well rested, we continued onward and upward to a room that Dad said was where they had lavish feasts and banquets…sounds like my kind of place! I’m always hungry and wouldn’t mind a snack right about now.

As we approached the Great Hall, I did a thorough inspection, starting with a beautiful old door. If you look closely, you can see its warm golden hues match my ears. At least that’s what Dad said.

Walking into the Hall, I can’t believe how huge it is. This is where the laird, his family, and guests would have fancy dinners. However, I don’t smell food anywhere. I better keep looking…

Well, I couldn’t find any food in the Great Hall, so Dad and Mom said we’re going up to one of their favourite spots in the whole castle- the rooftop and the battlements.

I can’t see much from my point of view, but the breeze is refreshing and carries many new scents.

As we make our way back down, I wonder if there are any ghosts around? Sawyer told me that he has seen castle ghosts before.

Mom also told me that the people who lived here, the Prestons, probably had many dogs. Maybe there are ghost dogs haunting this place? Just in case, I’m going to explore as quiet as possible so as not to disturb their spirits.

Is that a ghost puppy?!😱👻🐕

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my very first castle visit. We’re sure lucky that Craigmillar Castle is so close to where we live. And Mom and Dad assure me that, as I grow, there will be plenty more castles to explore. If you had fun on this adventure and want to follow along for more, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

As much as I like to think that I’m the star of the show, my big brothers have been doing this a lot longer than me. You can join them on our Wee Walking Tours social media channels- Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Lastly, when you visit Edinburgh, be sure to check out the fun Edinburgh walking tours that my dad and big Golden brother, Sawyer, take people on. Maybe some day I’ll be able to tag along.

Until next time- Explore & Discover!


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