I love it when you go on a journey and stumble onto something completely unexpected.  Something you didn’t plan for.  Little surprises, wondrous discoveries.  Like the one I stumbled on in North Berwick.

On the bus ride to my hotel the other day we drove past meadows filled with sheep, a trailer park on a bluff, gas stations, apartment complexes.  And then I looked out the window to my left and my jaw dropped.  There loomed a massive crumbling castle!  I couldn’t believe it.  Only planned on coming to North Berwick to see the Highland Games, and it turns out they have a historic castle here as well.  I went there today.  And it was amazing.

Tantallon Castle was built in the 1350s by William Douglas (whose uncle was a close friend of King Robert Bruce), and for the next 300 years the Red Douglases lived there as one of the most powerful families in Scotland.  It seemed to me from all the history I read about them that they betrayed their own countrymen a lot.  Made me wonder how the people of North Berwick feel about this place.

In 1491 Tantallon Castle was besieged by James IV in reprisal for an agreement to betray him to Henry VII of England.  In 1543 the Douglases again sought to betray Scotland to England, allowing it to be used as a base by Henry VIII's ambassador during his "Rough Wooing" of Mary Queen of Scots.  In 1650 Cromwell's forces attacked and destroyed the castle, leaving it pretty much the way it is today.  Tantallon is supposedly haunted, and there’s a video you can watch that shows the “ghost.”  I don’t know.  I’m not convinced.  See what you think.

The Tantallon Ghost

Walking around in the roofless rooms of Tantallon - ancient stones soaring up into the sky - was truly like stepping back in time.

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Tantallon Castle

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