Seen from the M9, for many years engulfed in scaffolding, it was particularly interesting to take a guided tour round Duntarvie Castle as part of the Doors Open Day scheme. The castle is category A listed and a scheduled monument.
While the castle probably has early 12th Century origins, the building in more-or-less its present form dates from the late 16th century. Ultimately owned by the Earl of Hopetoun, it was abandoned ca 1840 and the 20th century found it ruined. Restoration is being undertaken by the present owner, Geoffrey Nicholsby, who plans to make Duntarvie a function venue and also the headquarters of Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmakers. Good progress has been made: the new roof is now in place, the east tower is 40% rebuilt, new floors have been inserted into the west wing and the barrel vault that was missing has now been replaced.
Rectangular three-storey block with square five-storey towers projecting at either end (the east tower had partially collapsed): turrets with turnpike stairs in the tower-main block angles. The internal straight stair (ground to first floor) is an unusual feature for its period.
We followed this with a visit (see extra photo) to Linlithgow St Michael's Parish Church, one of three big Burgh churches, dating around 1425, a magnificent building with so many historical features. Of note are the masons' marks on several pillars, the carved pulpit depicting four queens - including Mary, Queen of Scots - and seat-handles, the coloured glass windows and the statue of St Michael on the exterior (top row and bottom left), after which we enjoyed live performances as part of the Linlithgow Folk Festival - by the Cross (bottom right) and in St Peter's Scottish Episcopal Church (bottom middle) running concurrently with Doors Open Day.