Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Castles, Clans & Carolina

Posted June 30, 2011 1:13 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2011 1:16 p.m. EDT

How many of you have visited a castle? Disney World doesn’t count!  What were your experiences?

Castles abound in Scotland. There are hundreds of them. Many reflect the names of ancient clans. Others bear the names of the towns and cities where they are located. You could easily spend your whole vacation in Scotland going from castle to castle. Two of the grandest castles are in Edinburgh and Stirling, both perched high on hilltops. We visited a dozen castles and castle ruins during our recent trip to Scotland including the one in the Aberdeenshire village of Leslie.

Many North Carolinians make pilgrimages to Scotland to see the castles of their ancestors. Centuries ago large groups of immigrants from Scotland and Ireland left religious strife and economic woes to pursue a new life in America. North Carolina was more attractive than Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states because the land was cheaper and there wasn't a lot of turmoil with Indians here. My own Leslie relatives left Scotland, stayed a short while in Northern Ireland and then made their way to Pennsylvania and eventually down to the Waxhaw region south of Charlotte.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate your own connection to Scotland you might want to consider the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games coming up the second weekend in July. These games are considered among the best in the world.