Torwood Castle and Tappoch Broch

Tappoch Broch
Tappoch Broch
I have Paul at Through the lens to thank for alerting me to this walk – I had never heard of either Torwood Castle or Tappoch Broch before he wrote about them. Not long after I read his post, we set out to explore ourselves.

From the village of Torwood, we headed up Castle Loan to the castle itself which dates from 1566. It’s now in the care of a trust but from 1957 until 1998 it belonged to Gordon Millar, a chartered accountant from Glasgow. He spent all that time renovating the ruin but died before completing his project. I’d say there’s not much left to show for it really! Poor Mr Millar. The cows don’t seem impressed.

We carried on past the castle in search of the Blue Pool, a Victorian brick-lined tank with clear, turquoise water. No-one seems to know what it was used for but the colour is thought to be from the high levels of aluminium sulphate found in the local fireclay.

We then retraced our steps back to the castle and headed up to the broch, one of the best-preserved in lowland Scotland. Brochs are Iron Age dwellings consisting of two concentric drystone walls forming a hollow walled tower with galleries and stairways in between. There’s just enough left to get some idea of that – see the panorama at the top of the post and the pictures below.

From the broch, it was a pleasant walk back through the woods to the car.

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks – meet walkers worldwide at her site.


31 thoughts on “Torwood Castle and Tappoch Broch

  1. restlessjo July 27, 2015 / 09:33

    Good learning curb this week, Anabel! I don’t think I’d heard of a ‘broch’ before (although I do visit Paul’s blog occasionally- I’ll have to recheck 🙂 ). Tappoch Broch sounds like some kind of culinary treat (or not! I thought of tappioca).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. helenmackinven July 27, 2015 / 10:29

    I’ve been up to the castle several times but never to the Blue Pool so must visit one day as many local folk talk about it.


      • helenmackinven July 27, 2015 / 13:30

        That’s interesting as my brother-in-law has been trying to locate it for years. It really should be better signposted.


        • Anabel Marsh July 27, 2015 / 14:24

          We had a leaflet which listed it as a point of interest and even had a picture – but no directions! See comment to Paul on this post for where we found it eventually.


  3. VioletSky July 27, 2015 / 13:15

    The blue pool is interesting – wonder if anyone used it for a swimming hole?


  4. Paul July 27, 2015 / 13:20

    Great post Anabel. I never visited the blue pool when I went, is it over behind the wall and the trees at the back if the castle?


    • Anabel Marsh July 27, 2015 / 14:21

      Thanks Paul. Yes, it’s quite a long way down the path behind the wall and the only indication that it’s there is a break in the wall on the right. Even then, it’s not obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pit July 27, 2015 / 15:08

    Thanks for taking me there, Anabel, and have a great week,


  6. Birgit July 27, 2015 / 17:20

    What a great walk. The castle does not look like it was ever renovated. I wonder how much money he sank into this castle. It does look like a great ruin. I wonder if that pool was a fountain many eons ago. It seems to have that shape. The iron age dwelling is so neat to see and to use the same steps they used. what a beautiful walk


    • Anabel Marsh July 27, 2015 / 17:25

      Thanks Birgit, I’m guessing he didn’t have much money left for his heirs!


  7. Suzanne July 28, 2015 / 10:06

    How very interesting. I really enjoyed tagging along on your walk.


  8. Sarah Ferguson July 28, 2015 / 13:59

    Mr. Millar may not have finished, but what he left is certainly attractive!


  9. jazzfeathers July 30, 2015 / 21:55

    Can’t decide whether I like the castle or the broch better. Oh, wait, I don’t have to decide. I can love both!!! 🙂


  10. Donna August 2, 2015 / 04:19

    It’s strange to think about an accountant owning a castle. Even one that is a ruin. Really don’t have either of those in Minnesota. Castles and ruins that is. We have lots and lots of accountants. Wonderful pictures. Once again commenting late since I wanted to make sure to look pictures on my desktop instead of just tiny pictures on my phone.


    • Anabel Marsh August 2, 2015 / 08:18

      Thanks Donna, your comments are always welcome, late or not! As usual, most photographic credits go to John, though I have to say I am a very good director 😉

      I think the owner must have ignored his accountant’s instincts when he invested in this.


  11. rosemaylily2014 August 3, 2015 / 05:42

    Poor Mr Millar – he doesn’t seem to have got much to show for all his efforts 😦 It must be a money pit – hopefully the trust can do some renovating? I didn’t know what a “broch” was before either so thank you for the Iron Age history lesson! The area looks lovely basking in the sunshine!


    • Anabel Marsh August 3, 2015 / 07:50

      Thank you! It looks to me as if the Trust has its work cut out just maintaining the castle to stop it falling down any further. There are more brochs in the Highlands and Islands – this one is unusually far south. Some of the others have far more remaining and you can really imagine what they must have looked like.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. cassam101 August 3, 2015 / 15:29

    I wonder what the castle looked like when it was finished.


  13. Alex Hurst August 9, 2015 / 17:02

    Lovely photos, as usual. But I do have a question, and please excuse my ignorance… what is a broch?


    • Anabel Marsh August 9, 2015 / 17:18

      Not ignorance! They are unique to Scotland. A broch is a tower-like building with double walls and staircases in between, all drystone. Dates from the Iron Age. There are some better preserved examples than this one which might well be featuring on the blog soon…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alex Hurst August 9, 2015 / 23:24

        That’s really cool! Thank you for explaining. What was their main function? Defense?


        • Anabel Marsh August 10, 2015 / 07:40

          Possibly defensive, or possibly just a grand home for prestigious members of the community as they weren’t all on obviously defensive sites.

          Liked by 1 person

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