Caerlaverock Castle / by Martha Keyes

This was a pretty epic part of our time in Scotland. For many, many years, Emily and I had been wanting to see Caerlaverock Castle--the stronghold of the Maxwell Family from the 13th century. It was the first stone castle in Scotland, and it's where only 60 men withstood Edward I's English Army for 3 days.
Being at the very southern tip of Scotland (next to Gretna Green, for all you British history buffs), this site was VERY out of the way from our Skye trip, but everyone was more than willing to go the extra miles to visit it. 

I had seen many a picture of the castle from the outside and, being a bit of a castle snob thanks to the amazing study abroad I went on many years ago, I wasn't expecting much. It didn't look too exciting from the outside to me, so I assumed that there wouldn't be much to do inside. I was so pleasantly surprised when we went entered the castle, though! It is a VERY cool place, and we could have spent even more time than we did exploring it (we got way behind schedule here because none of us wanted to leave).

I told Brandon to pause for a picture in the archway, and that's what he did ↑

After exploring the interior of the castle, we walked the grounds a bit and then headed toward the site of the old castle just a couple hundred meters away, now nothing but ruins. There was the prettiest green swamp nearby the ruins that we all really loved. 

I've already made plans to take my parents back to the U.K. for a family history trip in these next couple years. There is truly something different and more meaningful about seeing sites that relate to your ancestors--knowing that important moments from their lives which likely have shaped your own in certain ways happened at these locations.