Just a few miles west along the coast from where I live is the place dubbed by the Vikings when they invaded these parts around the tenth century as ‘the land of milk and honey’.
They enjoyed themselves around here raping and pillaging so much that they stayed long enough to found enough offspring to build a few villages.
Amongst those villages were Borgue and Tongueland. The villages still carry those names to this day.
The building in the foreground of my first pic is Castle Haven – a once-upon-a-time dairy farm situated near Borgue. A previous wealthy owner built a grand ‘coo parlour’ there. Tiled from floor to eaves the building has seen a multitude of uses including being fitted out as a recording studio. I understand the latest plans aren’t so grand and involve converting the buildings to holiday lets.
I wish ’em well – so long as they don’t disturb the remains of the original ‘castle’ or ‘iron age dun’ I stumbled across recently down on the foreshore less than half a mile distant.
First I had to tiptoe past the snoring Galloway Rams who were gaurding the route —
before sneaking in the front gate like a proper invader —
First thing I heard were the buzzing of over a million bees as they gorged themselves on the flowering ivy – they were everywhere so I headed to safety up the stone staircase —
and soon I was on top of the walls —
where I got another surprise —
An inner wall fortification had been built inside the thicker and taller outer wall and the space between had been roofed over where it was still intact – quite sophisticated for an iron age Dun. In fact more in keeping with the outer defence walls of Constantinople and the Golden Gate which date from around the same period in history – first to sixth century AD.
The Vikings arrived around the 10th century and carried out a demolition job which didn’t leave much standing. This bit below was rebuilt about one hundred years ago — it’s the back door and a short path leads down to the deep water harbour. The only safe and easily accessible anchorage along this rocky stretch of coastline between Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright.
There are various stories – no doubt of fact and fiction about this ancient ruin so I will add my own interpretation based on what I’ve seen and imagined.
Archaeologists have unearthed sufficient evidence in these parts to prove that there was trade with Mediteranean countries back then . So – in my eyes this is a trading post built and used by early merchants who arrived by sea. The locals would have basic stuff like timber and animal pelts to barter for tools – weapons and suchlike. Christianity in the form of priests St Ninian and St Andrew arrived about the same time and left plenty to show for their time here.
When things were hunkey dorey a bit of banter and barter went on. When the wind changed and things got hot as it does from time to time in these parts the visiting traders would wake up their rams from the pasture by the front gate — hitch up their robes and leg it straight across the inner courtyard — out the back door and with a shout of ‘to the boats lads’ were down the back steps — into the boats and gone!
Makes as much sense as some of the theories I’ve heard about this place. All I’ve got to do is find one of these shiny gold Turkish coins to prove it —
Now wouldn’t that be amazing 🙂
Guest photos taken by Bombardier and Largely Helen – thank you