We were in Glasgow yesterday for a barbecue, so we took advantage of being in the west to visit a few castles that we hadn’t been to before.
Although the area around Glasgow is very built-up, there are a surprising number of castles still standing. Some have been incorporated into newer buildings, such as The Peel at Busby, which consists of a 16th century tower attached to an 18th century house.
Close by are a number of mottes belonging to older castles, and a few kilometres away is the restored tower of Mains Castle.
Mains Castle is thought to have been built in the late 15th or early 16th century by the Lindsay family. Having fallen into disrepair, it was restored in the 1970s and 1980s and is now a private residence, standing at the edge of the James Hamilton Heritage Park.
Although a Victorian mansion house was added in the 19th century, the original tower is still visible and bears more than a passing resemblance to Mains Castle.
A few kilometres to the north-east is the main castle of the area, Bothwell Castle. Started in the 13th century it has a massive circular donjon, or tower, which dominates the later 14th and 15th century additions.
The castle stands on a rocky outcrop, from which was quarried the stone to build the castle.
After suffering at the hands of English invaders in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the west wall of the donjon was pulled down by the Scots in 1337 to prevent the English from using it again.
Inside the donjon are three storeys of octagonal rooms featuring ornate arched window recesses.
The view from the windows looks down into the courtyard towards east wing built in the 15th century by the Earls of Douglas.
Walter de Moravia, the original builder of Bothwell Castle, had grand plans which would have seen the castle extended to double its present size. The advent of the Wars of Independence put an end to these plans however, and the foundations of outer towers and a gatehouse can still be seen in front of the castle.