Crookston Castle is basically a 15th century ruin only a few miles from our doorstep but, for some reason, we've never ventured near it before now. It sits atop a small hill in the heart of a residential area and is flanked by some fairly busy roads and the Levern Water. The weather was pretty good for the time of year; sunny but a bit cold, which probably accounted for the fact that we met absolutely no-one in or around the castle.
Crookston Castle was named after Sir Robert de Croc, who built the first castle here in the 12th century and you can still see the remains of the old bank and ditch defences from that time surrounding the site This present castle was built around 1400 by the Stewarts of Darnley. A popular story concering it is that Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, proposed to Mary, Queen of Scots, under a yew tree here. The castle suffered severe damage at the hands of James IV in 1489 when he used the the cannon Mons Meg from Edinburgh to suppress a rebellion by the Earl of Lennox.
Today, it's managed by Historic Scotland and is open to the public so you can wander though what's left of the halls and climb all the way to the top of the North-East tower for some excellent views out over Glasgow.
We were quite surprised that the place was wide open to explore; no sign of any wardens or anyone looking for cash for admittance. It's also really clean and well kept inside; none of the usual detritus of inner-city living such as coke cans, old bottles or even the odd jakey. The interior has been restored a bit so you can easily walk around what's left of the place and can even climb all the way to the top of the North-East tower, albeit by three flights of open-rung ladders from the first floor. Lorna isn't one for heights or at least not heights she can see directly below her feet so she didn't go for the ladders. I hauled my somewhat bulky frame all the up though and was rewarded by some excellent views out over the city.