It is one of the best preserved 14th-century castles in Scotland, it stands where the River Ardoch meets the Teith burn– it’s Doune Castle.
It’s a labyrinth of rooms connected by spiral staircases and narrow doorways.
The first time you see it the castle may look familiar to you.
Doune Castle has appeared a couple of times on the big and small screen, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and lately in Outlander.
Doune Castle as seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The castle appeared as Swamp Castle, Castle Anthrax and Camelot.
You may remember the French taunting scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries;
Well that was Doune Castle. Since 1975 it has become a place of pilgrimage for Monty Python fans. Indeed since 2004 there has been an annual Monty Python Day in September held at the castle.
You cannot resist crying out silly quotes like: Bring out your dead! or Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!.
Doune Castle as seen in Game of Thrones
Although it is well known that Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, in the pilot episode Doune Castle stood in for Winterfell- the House of Stark’s (illfated) home.
Doune Castle as seen in Outlander
In Outlander the castle has portrayed Castle Leoch, the fictional seat of Clan Mackenzie.
The TV show is based on novels by US author Diana Gabaldon. It follows the story of Claire Randall, a nurse from 1946, who is swept back in time to 1743 while on honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. Doune Castle plays a leading role in every episode.
The Real Doune Castle
The castle itself is pretty much an empty shell but with the audio commentary that is provided with the £5.50 entrance fee and voiced by Terry Jones (yes that Terry Jones, one of the Monty Python gang) and the freedom to roam it might end up be just entertaining and brilliant.
You could picture what life must have been like in the castle when it was standing proudly in its glory.
The most attractive bit is going up, through various spiral staircases up to the rooftop.
Also Doune village was known for the manufacture of Doune Pistols in the 18th century.
It is said a Doune pistol fired the first shot of the American War of Independence.
Proofreading: Colin MacInnes