We were all thrilled to embark on our ultimate week long horse riding adventure taking in the castle estate and the surrounding Scottish Borders countryside.
I had set my eyes on European riding and since I love castles & riding, how can I not go on a combination of both in Scotland! I found the Thirlestane Castle Ride offered by Globetrotting Horse Tours and their trip itinerary looked like it would be THE perfect combination of quality time in the saddle and experiencing a quintessential Scottish trip!
Off To The Castle!
After arriving into Edinburgh, Scotland a few days early to get on Scottish time, I met up with our Globetrotting group and they whisked us away to the magnificent 16th century Thirlestane Castle, set in a quiet meadow landscape on the outskirts of Lauder about 30 miles south, in the Scottish Borders.
The first evening dinner was quite the experience as they made us feel like we were already part of the castle family. It was dreamlike walking up to the main state dining room being led up the stairway by a bagpipe player! The dinners in the magnificent State Dining Room were so delicious and special.
Riding Up The Moors!
We rode through new and astoundingly beautiful landscapes every day, from wild, windy moors and through the local village crisscrossed with ancient stone walls.
We got to explore the eastern Scottish coastline at John Muir Country Park which was perfect for long beach canters and wading in the shallows (and passed some feisty llamas on the way)!
Where’s the Bothy?
Outside the castle grounds, the group made headway one of our riding days to a bothy, typically highland bothies are small wooden shelters in the wilderness of Scotland, and this one was set in a magnificent setting.
For part of our group, it was challenging riding past the Castle moors and through, a rugged, wild landscape. Some of up opted for an adventure car ride along a dirt country path through puddles and mud, but to arrive to enjoy a cozy lunch with the entire group.
Final Night Gala Dinner
Our group was joined by Edward Maitland-Carew, the castles descendant of one of Scotland’s most politically powerful families, and dined with us in his grand estate state dining room. He was so interesting and gracious while sharing some history about our roomful of family portraits--the entire room felt like we were dining with the all his ancestral spirits of the past.
Goodbyes with new Global Friends
The Globetrotting company owner, Kate Pilcher & associate, Laura Rae, were actually on this trip us and turned out to be such a wonderful group of truly special horse women from the US - New Mexico, Chicago, Maine, New Jersey & the UK - Isle of Mann, Oxfordshire, Australia & Scotland, which was a one-of-a-kind cultural experience to have new friends around the globe.
Thirlestane Castle is one of the oldest and finest inhabited castles in Scotland.
Being the historic home of the Duke of Lauderdale, the castle still remains home to the Maitland family with Edward and Sarah and their two young children, Emily and Thomas.
The area we stayed in was in the South Wing of the castle, with rooms with exceptional views of the parkland, estate and five-star luxury.
The Thirlestane Castle is also open to the public for luxurious stays, weddings and hosts special annual events.