When I decided to reinvent my blog and I got this one up and running, post-Effing Rainbow, I thought it would be a lovely idea (and an excuse to get myself out of the house and into the world more) to write posts about places I visit, both around Scotland and beyond it, whenever I got the chance to visit somewhere. So far I’ve written up a convention diary for this year’s Worldcon in Dublin, but that wasn’t quite what I had in mind at first. Today’s post is a bit more like it, and so ‘Days in History’ is going to be my little post series for these kinds of adventures.
Because you can’t go much more than a mile anywhere in Scotland without tripping over some interesting little nugget of Historical Significance. It’s just one of the reasons I love it, and I hope you do/will too!
It stands half-ruined now, but there’s still enough of it standing to go exploring in if you don’t mind the lack of accessibility (there are a lot of narrow, winding stairways, not all with handrails, and even some of those were closed off at points, perhaps inevitably). What remains of this palace is still pretty spectacular however, if historical sites are your cup of tea.
This particular site is known for being the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, and home to two centuries’ worth of Stewart kings (James V was also born there). After being rebuilt from previous ruins in 1424, it fell into decline again when James VI moved the royal residence to London in 1603.
What’s left now still shows the signs of the decay and fire damage it’s suffered over the years between, but when I was making my way down those winding stairways, along the narrow servants’ passageways or through what’s left of the kitchens and the great hall, dodging spiderwebs and smelling damp stone and earth, and looking over the grounds through narrow, empty windows, it was wonderfully easy to picture how it must have looked, and imagine the daily lives of all the people who once lived there.
This is why I love going to these places, and why I wanted to have this feature here despite this primarily being a blog about books – if there’s anything that sparks my imagination and fascinates me as deeply as SF/F, it’s places like this. Places that are a shell of their former glorious selves, but remain standing firmly enough to let you imagine what they must once have been. Places that are preserved well enough in our time to transport you, in a sense, back to another. I never get tired of it.
So welcome to the first entry in my Days in History. If you’d like to see more of my photos, I have collected them (all 98!) in an album!
Please enjoy them, I endured being startled by unseen birds (or possibly bats?!) in very shadowy nooks for this.
For more information about Linlithgow Palace, you can visit the Historic Environment Scotland web page.