Balloch Castle was constructed in 1808 by John Buchanan of Ardoch to replace a ruined castle originally built by the Earl of Lennox in 1238. Standing on the shores of Loch Lomond, Balloch Park has been a Country Park since 1981, and became part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in 2002.
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The first time I ever visited Tantallon Castle in East Lothian, Scotland, I was the first and only visitor of the day at 3pm, although this may have had something to do with the gale-force winds and torrential rain that made climbing the towers a distinctly exciting experience!
Luckily, the second time I visited the weather was a lot more conducive to looking around and taking in more than sea spray, and I’m glad I went back because Tantallon is truly stunning. Built by the Douglas family in the 14th century, the huge 50 foot curtain wall and towering cliffs provided a formidable fortress.
Tantallon was eventually destroyed in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell’s army but a surprising amount of the castle still remains, including some of the living quarters. The climb to the top of the curtain wall is hard-going (and can be treacherous in wet or icy weather) but it’s worth it for the incredible views.
Tantallon is signposted from the A19 and there is a car park, although the castle itself is reached via a footpath that can be very muddy in wet weather. Good footwear and a warm coat are essential! The visitor centre sells souvenirs and a guidebook.