Easily done in a day from our base beside Loch Lomond, the main attractions here are the Georgian courthouse and jail, castle and the small shops which tend to focus around whisky and fudge which is no bad thing. The visitor to the jail can work around the cells and learn about the terrible living conditions endured by those captive here. Having said that, it wasn't unheard of for some people to be repeat offenders as the prison offered regular meals which the very poor didn't get outside.
The jail which is now a museum gives a fascinating insight into crime and punishment in a harsher age. Here are some of the cases.
For Stealing Two Horses 1664: Duncan M'Ilbreid under cloud of night stole and away took twa horses, one black worth three score pounds and one gray worth 40 pounds...and stole twa cheese. The said Justice and his depute ordained the said Duncan M'Ilbreid to be taken to the gallows and theron to be hanged to the death.
For Theft 1672: 'From Sir Rorie M'Leod of one cloth cloat, one pair of shoes, and eight dollars of money...from a Chopman in Appin of a pock of madder, some knives and other little things...John M'Conachie V'Kaig to be burnt in the cheek with the letter 'T' as the mark of a peaker and thereafter to be scourged from the one end of the town to the other.'
For Suicide 1679: Katherine N'Vicar having abandoned and shaken of all fear of God did comitt the horride crime of self murder by putting violent hands on herself...and did hang herself...the said Justice depute ordained the said procurator fiscall to remove and secure a third of the moveable goods and gear in her husband's possession.
For Bestiality 1675: Duncan M'Kawis committed the vyle and abominable crime of bestialitie with ane white mare...pronounced guiltie...to be taken to the ordinaire place of executione and there to be strangled to death and thereafter his body to be burnt to ashes...and ordained the foresaid mare to be killed and burnt.
Singers and Dancers 1591: Agnes Hucheon and Margaret Clark...convicted by their own confessions, for singing of bawdy songs, play at durris, dansing and running through the town after supper, and under silence of nycht on the Sabbath day are ordered to appear next Sunday after the Sermon, bareheaded, beside the penitent stool and there to crave and ask God mercy and the whole congregation forgiveness.
Drunkards 1597: William Vverne, David Rickard and Thomas Oliphant, being called and accused of drunkenness, appeared and confessed the same, and have promised not to commit this fault hereafter. They are ordered to make humiliation next Sunday as an example to others, not to commit the like
Fighting in Church 1630: Helen Bachop, for laying violent hands and striking Marlon Mathow on the third of April within the hous of God in the tyme of divine service, is ordained to pay the soum of twelve pounds, and to appear before the congregation in white sheets, sitting upon a form in the same place where she committed the offence.
Piping on Sunday 1590: Thomas Clochope, Piper, John Hagy, Piper and William Williamson, Piper, are all admonished to keep holy the Sabbath day, the sermons on Sunday and Wednesday and not to use any piping in the night time in the streets nor after supper, nor any other filthy playing, under peril of censorship by the Kirk.
Incest 1587: James Miller appeared before the Session...confessed that he is now moved by God's Spirit and surely persuaded that he has done wrong in marrying Elizabeth Bruce, his first wife's sister's daughter...and therefore is content to separate himself from her company, and to enter on the penitent stool next Sunday with the said Elizabeth, and make humiliation in sackcloth...
Adulterer 1596: James Kengzo...having committed the filthy vice of adultery with Elizabeth Elliott was carried through the whole streets of the town...all the scholars and other a great mulititude of people casting rotten eggs, filth and glar at him, was at last ducked over the head several times.
Card Player 1598: Mr David Matthew appeared...and confessed his playing cards and night walking...for which he makes humiliation and promises never to commit the like fault thereafter.
With Inverness being the eventual destination, a couple of days around Loch Lomond was the first stop on the route. We stayed at a campsite in Drymen and made several trips from here although it was a little too far from the coast to make a trip to the whisky islands for a spot of sampling worthwhile. Finding this campsite was lucky as with it being peak tourist season finding accommodation was a bit like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. A loch side location would have been ideal and the perfect spot was spotted but alas, no room at the inn.
After you've experienced my delights or horrors of United Kingdom, see what the destinations below may have in store for you.