So this past week I went on a day to trip to Rothesay Scotland! For the few people I confused with my Instagram story of my train ticket I was not going home to Rothesay, New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend…instead I was exploring a new part of Scotland! Rothesay in Scotland has always been on my bucketlist of places to travel to after seeing the photograph of the Rothesay U.K. post office in the Rothesay N.B. Post office as a child. Rothesay is the principal town of the Isle of Bute, an island in the Firth of Clyde.
Lucky enough for me Rothesay is only about an hour and a half West from Glasgow. The voyage itself is comprised of an hour long train ride to the coast followed by a thirty minute ferry ride from Wemyss Bay to the Rothesay harbour. The ferry reminded me of the ferry between Saint John N.B. and Digby N.S. The harbour front of the town is filled with shops, pubs, hotels, and a little yacht club. Looking out from the waterfront is absolutely breath taking being able to see all the green hills across the water.
Historically speaking Rothesay is a very important town for Scottish history. The Rothesay Castle was built in the 13th century, making it one of the earliest surviving castles in Scotland. As a history student who focuses on Medieval and Early Modern Europe, needless to say I was pretty excited to explore this castle. The castle is in a rather unusual shape of circle that is pretty much in ruins now with a moat circling it in the centre of town.
The castle also has an interesting story to it because it went back and forth between Scottish and Norwegian control. The castle was first built to mark the pressence of the Scots to the Norwegians. The castle was also used by the Stewart Kings, including James IV and James V. In Scotland the individual who was next in line to become king was known as the Duke of Rothesay, the English equivalent of Prince of Wales. Currently, Prince Charles holds the title of both Duke of Rohesay and Prince of Wales since he is next in line to become King of England and Scotland.
The castle was used up until the late 1600s when Oliver Cromwell’s troops demolished parts of the castle. The castle had been kept under the watch of the Marquess of Bute, and in the 1700s the Marquess moved his family to a new residence at Mount Stewart.
Our next stop after having lunch at a lovely little pub we made our way to Mount Stewart, the current residence of the Marquess of Bute. Mount Stewart was about a fifteen minute bus ride away from the centre of town. The nineteenth century manor that was built following a fire that destroyed the majority of the home in 1877 (the same year as the Great Saint John Fire!!).
The house is probably the most extravagant place I have ever stepped into, and the house is not even fully finished! The 3rd Marquess of Bute had grown up travelling all around the world and had a real passion for art and architecture so the house design was really unique. He died prematurely in 1900 so he never got to see his full vision completed. The current Marquess of Bute and his wife decided to under take the project of finishing all details of the house and it is still being worked on today.
Besides the fact that this place was also called Rothesay, like my home town in New Brunswick, I was really impressed with the town. I definitely recommend stepping off the beaten path and visit Rothesay if you’re ever travelling in Scotland. I definitely will be making another appearance here.