scotland day 1: stirling castle and prestonfield house

Stirling Castle

After Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle, we drove to Stirling Castle. To be honest, two castles in one day was a little much, but Scotland is so beautiful that I didn’t really care. All of the greenery and old architecture is a photographer’s dream!

A brief history: Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. Many kings and queens were crowned here, including Mary, Queen of Scots, when she was but nine months old.

A history lover would have gotten a lot out of the museum, but I just wanted to walk and climb and photograph. I had been really focused on work the past few months, and this was therapy for me.

Samantha Fagan at Stirling Castle

With enough water, things can grow anywhere. No planter necessary.

Flowers at Stirling Castle

I love how long the details last. Have you ever thought about the people who carved these details? What were their lives like? I bet they’d be proud to see their work still around.


Stirling Castle detail

Three from the tour group at Stirling Castle

left to right: Barbara, John, and my mom

we’re all starving

Late in the day, we load the coach and start driving back to Edinburgh. Sue comes over the microphone and announces that a very special dinner has been arranged for us. This is a surprise, and we’re all dreaming about what it might be when we pull up to this house.

Prestonfield House Edinburgh

It was like something out of a movie! Except for the Americans in jeans and t-shirts. We hadn’t had time to go back to the hotel and change before our reservation, so off we go in our scrubs!

This is the Garden Room. Outside, we could watch peacocks and other wildlife move about. It was amazing.

Garden Room at Prestonfield House

Prestonfield House prepared a five-course meal for us of more food than any of us could eat! (Some of us may have smuggled cheese back in the hotel in our purses because we classy.)

Garden Room menu Prestonfield House

1. Panzanella salad, baked ricotta, compressed watermelon (seemed like regular watermelon to me), raspberry vinaigrette, semi-drive olives (what??), herb purée:

first course at Prestonfield House

2. Poached and seared, corn-fed (apparently that’s a good thing in the UK) chicken breast, barbequed sweet corn and purée, chorizo-crushed potatoes, lemongrass, almond gremolata:

second course at Prestonfield House

3. Lemon meringue pie, blackcurrant and lime sorbet (this was the best), citrus brandy snap:

third course at Prestonfield House

4. Scottish cheeses: Barwheys, Paddy’s Milestone, 4 Ewes and St Duthac with quince paste, truffled honey, and oatcakes. It was a little funny because the truffled honey didn’t come out until the coffee course. (I mean, really, who could leave this behind?)

fourth course at Prestonfield House

We were stuffed and exhausted and happy at the end of this feast. We headed back to our hotel around 11pm.

Fun fact: Scotland is a similar latitude to lower Alaska, so the sun rises around 4am and sets around 10:30pm. It was trippy, at first, to not be able to tell how late it was based on the sun.



Up next: St. Andrews











3 thoughts on “scotland day 1: stirling castle and prestonfield house

  1. Love the commentary, like the lasting details, corn-fed being high-end, and the classiness of trying to smuggled cheese.

  2. This is so great. I had forgotten what each of the food
    Items were. These memories are wonderful. Thanks again for doing this.

  3. Thanks for the thorough descriptions! It’s literally a ‘taste’ of Scotland! 😉

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