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Forts and follies

February 19, 2004
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Saddell Castle, Scotland

History swirls around Saddell Castle in Scotland’s Kintyre. Built in 1508, by 1600 it was in the hands of the Campbell clan, who managed to hang on to it for 400 years. One of their ruses to deter enemies was a removable floor (it’s still there) just inside the front door – where unwelcome visitors would fall straight into a pit below.

Standing by the shore at the mouth of a small river looking across to Arran, Saddell is a real swashbuckling castle with battlement-wall walks on the roof, ancient panelling, deep window embrasures and open fires. To add to the ambience, some guests hire pipers for an evening of Scottish reels on the front lawn, or to pipe in the rosy sunset from the ramparts. The scenery matches the setting, with white beaches and rocks with basking seals.

The McCartney holiday home, which SirPaul sang of in Mull Of Kintyre, is nearby, so you’ll be in good company.

Must-sees while you’re there: The Kintyre peninsula – just 40 miles long and eight wide– is great for romantic walks, as are the islands of Arran, Islay - famous for its single malt whiskies - and wild, magical Jura.

Fort Clonque, Channel Islands

On stormy days, it’s comforting to know that some of the walls are 19 feet thick –and the open fires will keep you snug, too.

Cut yourself off from the world, or at least from the mainland, in Fort Clonque, just off Alderney in the Channel Islands. Reached by a causeway leading to a drawbridge entrance, the fort was originally designed in 1847 to house two officers and 50 soldiers – plus ten64-pounder guns – as protection against the French just across the water. Described by some visitors as like being in a big granite ocean liner, the fort is surrounded by rocks, grass and wildflowers, with spectacular views of the other islets, lighthouses and bird colonies.

Must-sees while you’re there:  Alderney's lovely beaches and the main centre St Anne, a pretty English town with just a hint of France. And as the island's so small, it's worth exploring on foot or by bicycle.

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Follow in thefootsteps of theCampbell clan atSaddell Castle
Great views and rugged surroundingsmake Fort Clonque the perfect hideaway

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