Doune Castle

Doune Castle

Close to Scotland’s geographical centre in Perthshire, Doune Castle is a medieval fortress with one of the best-preserved great halls in Scotland.

Doune Castle history

Originally built in the 13th century, Doune Castle was most likely damaged during the Scottish Wars of Independence and rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century.

The man who rebuilt it was Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany and grandson of Robert the Bruce. Albany has often been considered the ‘uncrowned king of Scotland’, and was the country’s effective ruler from 1388 to his death in 1420, due to his elder brother Robert III’s political weakness and the capture of the future James I by the English in 1406.

For many years Doune Castle acted as royal residence, hunting lodge, and dower house (traditionally used by the widow of an estate owner) until 1603, when James VI left Scotland to take the English throne as James I. Following this it was used as a strategic military stronghold, seeing action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the mid-17th century, and in the Jacobite Risings of the late 17th and 18th centuries.

Ruined by 1800, restoration works were then undertaken in the late 19th century, and the castle was passed into state care a century later. Since then the castle has been used as a prominent filming location, and has appeared in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as well as in Game of Thrones as Winterfell.

Doune Castle today

Today, visitors to Doune Castle can re-tread the footsteps of kings, real and fictional, while listening to the audio tour narrated by Monty Python member Terry Jones. The views from the battlements look out over the River Teith and Monteith Hills on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, and invite contemplation over the views those who lived at Doune hundreds of years ago may have seen.

Inside the castle, the striking 29m high gatehouse houses the fabulous Lord’s Hall to explore, featuring an intricately carved oak screen, musicians’ gallery, and double fireplace. The castle as a whole is labyrinthine in nature, with rooms connected by spiral staircases and low, narrow doorways – so you can literally get lost in history!

Getting to Doune Castle

Doune Castle is located in the village of Doune in Perthshire, and can be accessed by taking the A820 road off the A84, and following the brown tourist signs. Parking is available at the site.

Stirling train station is 8.5 miles away, following which the 59 bus service will take you to Bank Street in Doune, a 15-minute walk to the site.


Trip review: Doune Castle, Perthshire

Doune Castle is a great day out for anyone wanting to learn about Scottish history, while being out in Scotland’s wonderfully fresh air! Oh, and a ‘wee’ touch Monty Python ………but more on that later.

Driving up to the castle on a cold damp day, we found that we could park easily and the toilets were well sign posted. Before heading into the castle, we took our ADHD dog for a quick walk around the grounds. The only downside was Historic Scotland’s request to keep dogs on the lead, fair enough when so close to farm land.

On entering the castle, the small ticket booth was housed within the entrance passage. On paying for our tickets, we were handed an audio tour ‘for interpretation purposes’ which set our expectations high.

Before explaining much more about our day out, I’ll explain why I was so excited to visit Doune Castle. The Castle is one of Scotland’s finest late-medieval strongholds standing proudly between the River Teith and Ardoch Burn. Built in the 1300’s, it is not known who originally owned the castle but it is most famously associated with Robert Stewart, a member of the royal house of Stewart who held the government of Scotland for 22 years (1388 – 1420). All relatively history buff, geeky, yes?

Well, it gets geekier! I was extra chuffed to visit because I wanted to learn more about the Victorian Restoration of the building which took place in the 1800’s, and the artistic and technical arguments which raged during the castles restoration phase. Two BIG Victorian heavyweights who ploughed their way into the argument against over-zealous restoration were the art critic, John Ruskin and design guru William Morris. Both were increasingly disturbed with the amount of restoration which was taking place within Britain’s historic built environment at this time. Their campaigning and influence resulted in the first legislation in Britain aimed to preserve ancient monuments (Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882). However, very little was mentioned via the audio tour (only really pointing out the gargoyles), or the castle signage about the Victorian changes. Poor show!! Only in the guidebook is the restoration briefly mentioned.

As I say, expectations were high for the audio tour which is narrated by Monty Python superstar and history nut, Terry Jones. As most people are well aware, Doune Castle is the set of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Filmed in 1975, the castle has now become a pilgrimage for history buffs and Monty Python fans alike. Although the Terry Jones touch is quirky, the audio tour focuses too heavily on the Monty Python connection, often missing out crucial information about the design of the castle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved being guided through famous Grail scenes by Mr. Jones while standing ‘on set’ but we must always keep in mind the wonderfully rich history of this building while nodding to it’s recent fame.

The window at Swamp Castle

You can watch the Swamp Castle scene here:

Due to Doune’s stunning location and surviving rooms, it has been used loads of times for entertainment purposes including Ivanhoe (1997), Outlander (ongoing) and one I am personally excited about GAME OF THRONES (2009 pilot).

As you can probably see from my post, we loved the day out but learned more about TV and film locations, than Scotland’s rich historic past! Overall, I would recommend a day out to Doune just to visit Castle Swamp, Castle Anthrax and Winterfell……but buy the guidebook.


Doune Castle – History and its Haunting!

Doune Castle which appears in the outlander series as the mckenzie clans castle and feature in the pilot series for the game of thrones. It also features in the films the Monty python and The Holy Grail.

On arrival it appears very grand and admittly we wasn’t disappointed when we got inside. It is simply beautiful and properly one of the most enchanting castles I have visited to this day.

Built during the 13th century and was occuptied by the Jacobite Rising of 1745, by Charles Edward Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, and his Jacobite Highlanders. It was used as a prison for government troops captured at the Battle of Falkirk. Several prisoners, held in the rooms above the kitchen, escaped by knotting together bed sheets and climbing from the window.

Roman artefacts have been found on the site of Doune Castle, and the very name ‘Doune’ is derived from ‘dun’, meaning ‘stronghold’

It is rumoured that the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots has been spotted here and lights from the windows. One of the bedchambers is traditionally known as ‘The Mary Queen of Scots Bedchamber’, there is no written record that she stayed here, although her son, James VI, certainly did.


What was filmed at Doune Castle?

As you now know, Doune Castle was featured in Outlander, the popular TV series. This is not its only accolade though!

Game of Thrones

Doune Castle was also used as Winterfell Castle in the pilot of Game of Thrones. This much-loved Westeros location attracts plenty of visitors in its own right, especially since the series ended and Historic Scotland agreed to participate in the Game of Thrones takeover, which involved displaying Game of Thrones signage at filming locations all over the UK.

Doune Castle was part of the Game of Thrones takeover. Photo by Reiseuhu.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This famous comedy film released in 1975 is set in the Middle Ages. It follows King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on a grand quest for Holy Grail. Although I will confess that I have never seen it, after listening to the audio guide by Terry Jones, it has made it on my to-watch list!

The Outlaw King

The Netflix Original The Outlaw King follows Robert the Bruce after he takes the Scottish Crown and is made an outlaw by the King of England. Some of its scenes were also filmed at Doune Castle. In the film, Doune Castle acts as the setting for Douglas Castle and Church.


Doune Castle

Explore this 14th century courtyard castle in Doune, with a striking 100 ft high gatehouse and one of the best preserved great halls in Scotland.

This site is currently closed as a precautionary measure while we undertake site inspections. We apologise for any inconvenience. Find out more about our conservation work.

The formidable Doune Castle was built for the Regent Albany. The striking keep-gatehouse combines domestic quarters including the splendid Lord's Hall with its carved oak screen, musicians' gallery and double fireplace. This was used as a film location for the BBC production of Ivanhoe and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

As well as being heavily featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Doune Castle was also used for the castle known as Winterfell in the pilot of the award winning TV series Game of Thrones as well as Castle Leoch in Outlander.

Find out how grand banquets were prepared in the kitchen servery, and enjoy stunning views of the River Teith and Ben Lomond from the battlements.

The castle courtyard and cellar, including display, is accessible via a steep, cobbled (but partially timbered) tunnel. Assisted access is possible for the determined, but is difficult. Visitors can touch a number of stone features, such as the well in the courtyard.

Doune Castle on the silver screen

The stunning Doune Castle plays a leading role in the show substituting for the fictional Castle Leoch – home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in the 18th century episodes. It also features in the 20th century episode where Claire and Frank visit the castle in ruins on a day trip.

*Outlander is the TV adaptation of the critically acclaimed time travel romance and fantasy adventure novels by American writer Diana Gabaldon. It centres around the story of Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), a married English combat nurse from 1945 who, while on her second honeymoon in Inverness, is mysteriously swept back in time to the 18th-century Scottish Highlands. There she meets Jamie (played by Sam Heughan), a chivalrous young warrior, with whom she becomes romantically entwined.


Doune Castle - History

Doune Castle was built upon a thin peninsula sandwiched between the River Teith and the Ardoch Burn. The fortification was the stronghold of Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany who became known to history as Scotland’s uncrowned King. It was later besieged during the troubled reign of Mary, Queen of Scots and was briefly held by Jacobites during the 1745 rebellion.

Doune is located at the confluence of the River Teith and the Ardoch Burn both of which provided access far inland into the otherwise impenetrable terrain. Accordingly the site was of strategic importance and the long, thin peninsula created by the two waterways was ideally suited for fortification. The name Doune derives from “dun”, meaning stronghold, and may have been the site of an Iron Age (or earlier) fort. However, the first known fortification was built by the Romans in the first century AD.

After almost four decades securing England and Wales, the Roman army finally advanced into Scotland in AD 79. Forces under General Gnaeus Julius Agricola established a line of forts along the Forth/Clyde isthmus and, after securing Southern Scotland, campaigned in the north. They won a decisive victory at the Battle of Mons Graupius (AD 83) and thereafter built a network of forts between the Rivers Forth and Tay in order to isolate the Highland massif, the source of continued resistance. The lynchpin of the military disposition was a Legionary fortress at Inchtuthil. Connecting these facilities with the wider Roman world was Dere Street, the main Roman road that ran along the eastern spine of Britain. Doune was one of the forts along this road.

Doune Roman Fort was configured in the normal ‘playing card’ layout with an additional annexe on the west side. The rampart consisted of an earthwork bank topped with a palisade. It was fronted by a ditch and, at least on the vulnerable northern side, there were additional ditches to provide further protection. In total the fort enclosed around 5 acres. The unit assigned to garrison the fort is unknown but, based on the archaeological evidence, seems to have been at least part mounted. Doune remained occupied until the Romans withdrew from Scotland in the late AD 80s at which time the fort seems to have been deliberately burnt.

For the next fifty years, Roman forces consolidated along the Tyne/Solway isthmus ultimately entrenching their position with Hadrian’s Wall. However, the accession of Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 138 meant that military forces once again invaded Scotland. A new frontier was established along the Forth/Clyde line - the Antonine Wall - and many of the forts to the north were also rebuilt. The former Agricola era forts on Dere Street - Camelon, Ardoch, Strageath and Bertha - were all rebuilt at this time. Strangely there is no evidence to suggest Doune was re-occupied but, given the distance between Camelon and Ardoch , it would be have been unusual military practise if this was not the case. The Antonine Wall was abandoned circa-AD 158.

Little is known about the early history of Doune Castle. From the tenth century onwards, the site formed part of the Mormaerdom (and later Earldom) of Menteith, a swathe of territory that stretched between the Rivers Forth and Teith. By the thirteenth century this was dominated by the Stewart family who had their main seat at Inchtalla Castle. However, they also had regional caputs such as Dundonald Castle on the west coast and it has been mooted that Doune performed the same function in the east. If so there would inevitably have been a fortified residence at the location and this is supported by an analysis of the stonework in the lower structure of the later castle which suggests a pre-existing stone building.

The castle seen today was built by Robert Stewart. Born around 1340, he was a younger son of Robert II and through marriage he secured the Menteith territories. His ascendancy continued when his elder brother - John Stewart, Earl of Carrick - displaced his father and later took the throne as Robert III (the name change was to avoid connection with the earlier English appointed King John Balliol). However, Robert III suffered a debilitating injury from a horse kick and the death of a key ally - James Douglas, Earl of Douglas - which led to a power vacuum that was ultimately exploited by Robert Stewart. By 1386 he was appointed as Guardian of Scotland and was elevated to Duke of Albany in 1398 - one of the first two Dukedoms ever granted in Scotland. Unfortunately the other one was granted to his nephew David, Duke of Rothesay and the two individuals became embroiled in a power struggle resulting in a three year hiatus in Robert's Guardianship of Scotland. David died in 1402 at Falkland Palace whilst under the care of Robert Stewart "some say of dysentery and some of starvation". Robert was also accused of lacklustre efforts to free James Stewart, heir to the Scottish throne, who had been captured by English pirates and handed over to Henry IV of England. However, whilst Robert allegedly struggled to find the money to release James from captivity, there were ample funds for the construction and fitting out of Doune Castle.

Doune Castle was an enclosure castle designed to be equal to contemporary high status fortifications such as those at Bothwell and Caerlaverock. The north-east corner was occupied by a four storey tower house with the gateway into the castle running through its basement. High status accommodation occupied the upper levels. The castle’s Great Hall was located to the west of the tower.

Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany died in 1420 and was succeeded by his son, Murdoch. However in 1424 James was released from captivity in England and sought revenge on these he perceived as having been slow to secure his release. Murdoch was executed in 1425 on the grounds of ‘unconstitutional violence’ and Doune Castle taken into Crown ownership. With the proximity of the major Royal fortress of Stirling Castle, there was no need for Doune to function as an administrative centre so it was predominantly used as a hunting lodge. Later it was used as a residence for widowed Scottish Queens including Margaret Tudor, wife to James IV who had been killed at the Battle of Flodden (1513). She appointed her brother-in-law, Sir James Stewart, as Keeper of Doune in 1527. He was killed in a street brawl in Dunblane in 1544 and was followed by his son, another James, who became embroiled in the turbulent politics of the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. First implicated in the murder of her unpopular Italian advisor, David Riccio, he was later accused of supporting the Queen following her abdication. A force under Matthew Stewart, Earl of Lennox and Regent of Scotland besieged Doune Castle and demanded his surrender. After three days he gave himself up and briefly forfeited the castle. By 1570 though he had been restored and was granted the castle permanently when he was created Lord Doune.

Doune Castle was garrisoned by Government troops during the 1689 and 1715 Jacobite rebellions. However, it was briefly embroiled in the 1745/6 uprising when it was held for Prince Charles Stuart by McGregor of Glengyle with a garrison of 25 men. The castle was then subsequently used as a prison for Government soldiers captured at the Battle of Falkirk in January 1746. The Jacobite garrison withdrew to join the main rebel army as it prepared to fight in the Battle of Culloden (1746). After this the castle was abandoned and slowly drifted into ruin.

CANMORE (2016). Doune, Roman Fort and Annexe. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

CANMORE (2016). Doune Castle. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Cruden, S (1960). The Scottish Castle . Edinburgh.

Dargie, R.L.C (2004). Scottish Castles and Fortifications . GW Publishing, Thatcham.

Maxwell, G (1984). Doune Roman fort .

Saltar, M (2003). The Castles of the Heart of Scotland . Folly Publications, Malvern.

Simpson, W.D (1959). Scottish Castles - An introduction to the Castles of Scotland . HM Stationery Office, Edinburgh.

Stevenson, J B (1985). Exploring Scotland's heritage: the Clyde estuary and Central Region, Exploring Scotland's heritage series . Edinburgh.

Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications . Historic Scotland, Haddington.


Doune Castle

Special arrangements are currently in place at Doune Castle, to comply with Scottish Government guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Safety measures

  • Our staff have been trained in hygiene and physical distancing and have been provided with the necessary PPE
  • Signage is on site to guide visitors, including one way systems and marked areas that are currently closed to visitors
  • We have introduced enhanced cleaning measures to make visitors feel comfortable while visiting
  • In line with Scottish Government legislation and guidance, face coverings are now mandatory if you are visiting any indoor/enclosed spaces at our sites including retail and catering areas (subject to some exceptions)

What will be open during your visit

One-way route in operation

  • All external areas
  • Kitchen tower (upper level closed)
  • The Solar
  • Lord’s Hall
  • Gatehouse Tower (no access to the bedchambers)
  • Two unisex toilets
  • Parking (no parking for larger coaches or mobile homes)
  • Audio guide, included with your admission ticket

What will remain closed/unavailable during your visit

  • Ice-house
  • Ground floor cellars
  • Kitchen tower - no access to upper level, Mary Rooms
  • The bedchambers in the Gatehouse Tower
  • Wall walk

Carers tickets

In line with best practice in the visitor attractions industry and as advised by Capability Scotland, visitors with disabilities are treated on an equal basis with all other visitors and entry is charged at the appropriate admission category rate - Adult/Concession/Child. Proof of disability is not required.

We offer free entry for carers accompanying visitors with disabilities. To book a free carer ticket, please email [email protected] and quote your order number.

Parking

There is a level, tarmac-surfaced car park with two accessible bays. Visitors can be dropped off at the castle by reversing a car up to the gate. Please call the site in advance of doing this on 01786 841 742, and be aware of pedestrians using this route.

Approach to the site

There is an adapted toilet in the cottage, 25m along an artificial grass path from the car park.

The path to the castle is 275m long. It starts off on tarmac at a slight incline and ends with a very steep gradient and rough, uneven cobbles. These can be very slippery when wet. The route is visible from the car park.

A ssistance dogs are permitted at all our sites and within roofed areas. Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and not left unattended at any time. Owners must pick up after their dogs.

Visitors' dogs are not permitted at Doune Castle.

Visiting the site

Please note: While specific arrangements are currently in place at the castle, staff are eager to assist any visitors with specific requirements. Please contact the site or make staff aware if you have any concerns.

Visitors will be able to explore the castle’s exterior areas freely. However, a one-way route will be in place through the interior spaces. Please be guided by on-site signage. Access to some spaces may be limited. Face coverings should be worn in interior spaces.

  • The castle entrance has rough, uneven cobbles and is on an upward slope with a single handrail
  • The audio guide will not be available at this time
  • The courtyard is grassed and uneven. The ground floor shop is step-free
  • The first floor, including Kitchen, Great Hall and Duke’s Hall, is reached up a straight stair of 13 steps with a handrail. There are several raised thresholds
  • The Queen Mary bedchamber will not be open at this time
  • The second floor, containing the Duchess’s Hall and other chambers, is reached by uneven spiral staircases with handrails
  • Some of the castle’s smaller spaces will be closed at this time

Surroundings

The castle sits in extensive wood and parkland. There is a footpath to the village of Doune and a riverside walk below the castle.

Opening times

This site is currently closed as a precautionary measure while we undertake site inspections. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Facilities

Doune Castle Statement of Significance
Doune Castle on Scran

Browse images on our online learning resource.

Doune Castle on Canmore

Read detailed information on our online catalogue of Scotland's heritage.


Contents

The town is dominated by Doune Castle, built in the late 14th century. Architecturally it is a mixture of fortress and manor house. [4]

Bonnie Prince Charlie passed through Doune in 1745. [5] : 35

Doune was also famous for its manufacture of pistols, but this eventually ceased due to the competition of manufacturers in, for example, Birmingham where production was cheaper. Today, these pistols are collected and can be found in major museums, including the Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Allegedly a Doune pistol fired the first shot of the American War of Independence. [6]

Throughout the parish the names most often met with are Campbell, Stewart, Ferguson, Morrison, McAlpine, McLaren, MacDonald, Mathieson and Cameron. [5] : 102

Land east of Doune was owned by the Stirling of Keir family (who still own a lot of the land around Keir House, but sold the house itself), and the current owner of the Keir Estates is the politician Archie Stirling. One member of the family, SAS founder David Stirling, is memorialised at a monument on the Keir land near Doune known as the 'Hill o' Rou'.

The local amateur football team Doune Castle A.F.C. play in the Caledonian Amateur Football League. The local cricket team play in the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union.

Doune is well known for its pistols and Roman remains, but the Doune area has been inhabited a lot longer and many burial mounds and standing stones supporting this are clearly evident and plentiful. To the rear of Doune where the Ponds and the Doune Riggs housing development now sits was known locally as Currachmore. This area contained the bluebell wood, an area popular with walkers it was also part of the Doune Golf course. This area was quarried and the sand coming from here was used in the construction of Longannet. Also lost to the quarrying was a mound measuring 150 yards (140 metres) long, 100 yd (90 m) wide and 30 ft (9 m) high, known locally as the Round Wood. At the time of quarrying, a stone cist or coffin was uncovered and in it were remains of a small boy aged 6, with a small stone axe. He was identified as one of the Beaker people of the early Bronze Age 1800 BC. [5] : 97

The remains of a Roman fort were excavated by Headland Archaeology. [7] Three ditches and the base of a rampart were investigated comprising part of the defense works. Set into the back of the rampart five circular stone bread ovens were located. Running behind the ovens a gravel track was interpreted as the intervallum way (one of the internal roads of the fort). The foundations of a building that it is thought served as the fort’s hospital were also uncovered. Fragments of samian ware and amphorae were recovered dating to the Flavian period and the first Roman incursion into Scotland (from AD 79 to mid AD 80s). The remains of the Roman fort are a scheduled monument. [8]

Doune Speed Hillclimb is the most prestigious hillclimb course in Scotland, and hosts a round of the British Hill Climb Championship each year.

The town used to be served by Doune railway station.

Doune has often been used as a filming location, most famously for Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was filmed at Doune Castle. The castle has also been used for major TV series, most notably Ivanhoe, Game of Thrones and Outlander.


All About Game of Thrones' Real-Life Winterfell Castle

Winterfell is much more than just the home of House Bolton from Game of Thrones. Doune Castle—the real fortress located in central Scotland near the Stirling district where the Winterfell scenes are filmed𠅋rings in more than 25,000 visitors every year for a few other reasons that don’t involve Jon Snow. Read on for five things you (probably) didn’t know about this 14th-century-castle-turned-Hollywood-scene:

On the Search for the Holy Grail

Doune was the primary filming location for the 1975 cult classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The crew intended to use a number of castles to film various parts of the film until filming permission was withdrawn from the National Trust. With no time to find new location replacements, the team depended on the different rooms and features of Doune to use as a different settings to keep filming on-track.

Monty Python Day

Super fans: the castle has been known to host an annual Monty Python Day.

The Never-Ending Lease

Ownership of this castle has shifted a number of times since it was constructed in the 13th century. Currently, Doune is owned by Historic Scotland under a 999-year lease.

In the Details: Original Stonework

The stunning views are one thing, but make sure to take in the smaller details if you find yourself wandering its halls. Much of the castle’s stonework remains from a reconstruction in the 14th century after the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Famous Visitors: Elizabeth Taylor

Here’s another movie moment to add to this castle’s growing list: actress Elizabeth Taylor became very familiar with the locations while filming Ivanhoe with her husband and peer, actor Robert Taylor.

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.


Undiscovered Scotland

Doune lies seven miles north west of Stirling. Travellers driving along the main A84 gain only the briefest of glimpses of the village as they pass through: its centre lies a little off to the north of the road. The slight detour is well worth making.

Doune's history goes back at least as far as the Romans, who probably had a fort here in the area later occupied by Doune Castle. The discovery of medical instruments suggests the Romans also had a hospital here, on the site of what is now Doune Primary School.

The village's more recent history owes much to the Castle in whose shadow it originally grew. Over the years the centre of the village migrated steadily westwards, towards the line of the main drove route from the Highlands to the markets of central Scotland. Doune Castle now stands a little apart from the village and to its east.

The village has a slightly time-stood-still feel, with a range of small shops intermingled with cottages. A surprise in the centre is the location on the main street of the headquarters of Harvey Maps, again looking like it belongs to another time and place.

Doune's centre today is the Mercat Cross, standing in a triangular area at which the main streets intersect. The Mercat Cross was the commercial heart of the village, and the centre of the many fairs held in Doune over the course of the year. A more grisly testament to the movement of the centre of the village can be seen from the declaration of King Charles I that public executions should take place at the Mercat Cross rather than, as before, at the Castle.

Doune is bounded to the south by the River Teith. The river is crossed by the A84 at the Bridge of Teith. The bridge here was built by the royal tailor, Robert Spittal of Stirling, in 1535. There had previously been a ferry across the river at this point.

The story goes that Robert Spittal wanted to cross the river one day but was a little short of cash. The ferryman refused to carry him across for less than the standard fare. It is said that Robert Spittal's subsequent building of the Bridge of Teith had less to do with his concern for the public good than his desire to do the ferryman out of a job. Spittal's bridge was widened on its western side in 1866 to double its width, though it remains narrow by modern standards.

For a time, Doune became famous for the manufacture of pistols before being displaced by more highly industrialised centres like Birmingham. It is said that a pistol made in Doune fired the first shot of the American War of Independence.

On the south side of the River Teith lies Deanston. This was a company village built in 1785 to house workers for the vast Adelphi cotton mill, designed by Richard Arkwright. In the early 1800s the mill provided 1000 jobs for adults and children. Until 1933, all workers lived either in Deanston or Doune. The mill was enlarged and updated in 1950, but closed in 1965.

It was then converted into Deanston Distillery, with the weaving shed becoming a warehouse. The distillery has since seen a change of ownership and a period of closure from 1982 to 1990, but it has been back in production since then. It now offers tours and an excellent visitor centre.

Three miles south east of Doune, beside the B824, stands the David Stirling Memorial, also known as the SAS Memorial, commemorating Colonel Sir David Stirling, OBE, DSO, founder of the Special Air Service.


Watch the video: Doune Castle History. Scotland. 4K