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Report - Dalquharran Castle, Dailly, Ayrshire - April 2011

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by MacMan, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. MacMan

    MacMan 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    This is a building that takes me back to my childhood, when I used to visit it and explore through the basements and rather dangerous upper levels. It was more intact back then and now much of the interior has fallen down or been removed, leaving a shell of a building which is still fascinating.

    A bit of history: Dalquharran Castle was built by the famour Scottish architect, Robert Adam, between 1789 and 1792. It was a new residence for the Kennedy family, who until then had been living in a much older castle about half a mile away. The castle had two substantial wings added in 1881 in the same style as the original building at massive expense, which almost bankrupted the Kennedys. They moved out shortly afterwards and the castle was leased and served a number of purposes including a youth hostel and a school for the deaf. Eventually it was bought by another family who lived in it for a few years with friends then removed the roof in 1967 to avoid paying tax (unfortunately this was a common practice which detroyed many stately homes at the time). The castle fell into disrepair and years of neglect and vandalism have taken their toll. The exterior stonework however is in excellent condition.

    The stable block buildings in front of the castle was inhabited as recently as the 1990's but these too have now become derelict.

    Over the last couple of decades there have been several plans to restore the castle as part of a new golf course but these have yet to materialise. The most recent resulted in the building being stripped and stabilsed with security fencing placed around the site. For a while the site was occupied by security guards making exploration difficult, but they have now left and some of the security fencing has fallen down.

    We explored on a warm April afternoon and found our way into the buildings without difficulty. It seems that at some point recently copious amounts of cow shit had been spread over the walls, doorways and stairways at the castle, probably a rather disgusting attempt at deterring people like us from entering. Thankfully this has mostly washed away with the rain and dried.

    On to the photos:

    Rear of the castle - this can be seen from the road to Dailly on the other side of the river
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    View of the stable yard and the front of the castle
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    The front of the castle from the courtyard. One of the two little towers at the front contains a small, stone, spiral staircase which climbs the full height of the building :thumb
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    A staircase from the basement level up to the first floor. Unfortunately it went to a wooden floor, which is now gone.
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    The basement corridor which runs along the length of the original building.
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    A kitchen with the remains of a range
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    Brick ovens. There was something a little creepy about these
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    Another basement room. A lot of these rooms were very similar
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    A large gear lying on the floor in one of the rooms. We saw a couple of dumb waiters in the building, perhaps this came from the winding mechanism of one.
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    A board with wires that would have been connected to service bells. This looks like it has recently fallen off the wall.
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    A large dumb waiter shaft in one of the newer wings. This is almost big enough to carry people, and it probably happened from time to time.
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    The end of the basement corridor from one of the wings
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    Looking down the small spiral staircase from roof level. The building doesn't look very tall, until you look down from here!
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    Looking down into the building - not much remains now but I remember when some suspended floors were still in place. There is a little bit of wood panelling remaining around some doors and windows.
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    A view into the round tower from the main staircase at first floor level.
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    A carved window frame in the round tower
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    The central staircase - this would have been stunning in it's day when it was lit from a glass roof.
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    Doorways
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    One of the wings with it's heavy steel beams. The other wing has wooden beams instead
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    The stable block. These buildings were occupied when I first visitied the castle in the early 1990's but they are now derelict.
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    Inside the coach house. This would make a great garage - it possibly saw service as such during the early days of motor cars.
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    Inside the stables
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    #1 MacMan, Apr 23, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2011

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