Monday, 6 May 2013

Visit the historic polystyrene castles of Scotland

Visit the historic polystyrene castles of Scotland

The bonny nation of Scotland is famed throughout the world for its elusive lake monsters and historic polystyrene castles.

The White Castle of Belfast

Unlike other polystyrene castles, which are traditionally painted grey, thereby lending the impression that they have been constructed from stone, the towering 100 foot curtain walls of this Celtic stronghold have been kept pristine white.

The castle, which was built in the 1400s and originally located in Belfast, Ireland, was picked up by a strong gust of wind in 1651 and carried across the North Channel, eventually coming to rest in Prestwick three years later.

In 2001, the chart-topping demagogues, The Corrs, campaigned for the repatriation of the castle with a song titled The White Lady, whose lyrics rhymed “Ireland” with “My land”. The Simple Minds song – Belfast Child - is also thought to obliquely reference 'The White Castle.'

The Maiden of the North

Also known as “The Unassailable Virgin” and “Frigid Abigail,” on account of its gates having never been breached. The last attempted siege of the castle (located South of Hawick) occurred during 1712, when forces loyal to James Tewksbury – the 'Geordie' Earl of Newcastle - were unable to penetrate the fortresses' flimsy walls with their balsa-wood swords and cannonballs made from screwed up paper.

Mel Gibson's Mighty Citadel of Celtic Freedom

Constructed in 1994, and thereafter used as a place of residence by the actor Mel Gibson during the filming of Braveheart. For months Gibson could be heard bellowing “FREEDOM!” from the ramparts. His heartfelt pleas for Scottish independence are thought to have shifted the nation's border southwards by 5 ¼ inches, equalling the territorial gain achieved in 1991, when the Rod Stewart song, Rhythm of my Heart, achieved the number 3 spot in the UK singles chart.

For added authenticity, Gibson populated the halls of this castle with Scottish ghosts (among them the Headless Bagpiper of Aberdeen) which he purchased at auction.

Lairg Castle

Built in the 1500s to defend Northern Scotland from giants. In 1987 the keep at Lairg became the first ever polystyrene castle to be visited by the actor Shaun Connery. The former James Bond star later remarked that he had been tricked into entering the castle and would never have gone there had he known that it was made from polystyrene.

The Drum at Glasgow

Located in the heart of the troubled Drumchapel Estate in Glasgow, this fully functioning castle maintains a garrison of 200 pikemen, who are called upon to repels invaders on an almost daily basis. Visitors to the great hall (frequently described in tourist guidebooks as “Glasgow's Sistine Chapel) can gaze up through the ragged hole in the ceiling, made in 1822 by King George IV, after his excessive weight caused him to plunge through three floors.

The castle's current owners are in the process of raising funds to repair this damage. During your visit you may be asked by one of the guides if you want to buy a pair of trainers or some jeans.

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