This is Broughty Castle in Broughty Ferry Dundee which I’ve lived not too far away from for most of my life four years in Edinburgh being the exception. It is one of five castles within the present city boundary. The other four are Claypotts Dudhope Mains and Powrie. I’ve gone past Broughty Castle walked round it gazed on it from both sides of the river and worked across the way from it in Castle Green. But I’ve never been inside until the other day. I didn’t know what I was missing. It’s a gem – another of Dundee’s discoveries.
There is an excellent museum free to access run by staff from the McManus Galleries Dundee. It sets out the history and archaeology of both the Broughty Ferry area in general and the castle in particular which was built in the 15th Century and saw considerable action involving our good friends/old enemies the English! The stand out items for me though were the four cannon in the courtyard. Apparently they were used as bollards on Broughty Pier until the late 1980s when someone who knew his onions as my dad used to say spotted what they really were and they were lovingly restored and put on display. The viewing gallery at the top provides a feast for the eyes over to the Fife hills and both up and down river. The stairs to the top are steep and narrow but then it is a castle!
And not entirely randomly the visit made me think of racehorses. Back in the 1970s a local haulage contractor Harry Lawson owned three horses named in chronological order after Broughty Ferry landmarks. They were Broughty Castle Broughty Harbour and Broughty Pier. My dad as a keen follower of the sport of kings backed them on several occasions. The best was Broughty Harbour which won him almost £400 one day around 40 years ago – a decent return then. The money was of course re-allocated to the bookies in the time honoured fashion! But here’s to Broughty Ferry – its castle its harbour its pier. Oh and its racehorses!