I promised a post for the second castle, so here it is.  On our trek to Dirleton Castle (we missed our stop and had to tramp back up the road to the sign that was clearly not positioned obviously enough), we passed by sheep.  My very first Scottish sheep.  Did they frolic in the heather for me?

Not even once.  These were the unfrolicking sort of sheep.  And they didn’t even have the common decency to be in a field of heather either.  I was sorely disappointed in the sheep.

We did, however, pass by an enchanting looking forest beyond a stone wall.  It definitely had prospects for Otherworldly entry.

Immediately upon entering the grounds of Dirleton Castle, we did not see the castle itself, but the gardens, which were amazing.

I have always felt that a truly excellent garden is one that you can feel immersed in, even lost in, so that the outside world is hidden.  I like being fully and completely inside the garden.  This one did the trick rather well.

The other element of a fabulous garden is when it is big enough to have paths wandering off through the trees and around the corner so that you don’t quite know where to go first.  We would come back to that section later.

I really wanted to bring a book here and curl up on a bench or stretch out on the grass (okay, maybe not in the damp, spongy grass, but you know, hypothetically) and just read for hours and hours.  It was that kind of place.

And we hadn’t even gotten to the castle yet!

Unlike Tantallon, Dirleton was sort of hidden away and hard to spot from below.  It sits on a hill, but the massive trees and foliage all around made it a sort of sneaky castle.

The fact that something this big could be hidden was impressive.  I think that claiming a stealth castle could definitely come in handy…

I approved of the epic entry to Dirleton.  Much more impressive than Tantallon’s little door.

In a lot of ways, I enjoyed Dirleton’s grounds more than Tantallon’s because there was a lot more exploring you could do, such as sneaking through passages from one side of the castle and popping up on the other.

Sadly, there was really no upstairs to speak of that you could climb around in, but I loved the grounds and passages.

I have Tantallon for grandiosity and view and I have Dirleton for sneakiness, gardens, and exploring.  I think there is a nice balance to be found.

There was a big, huge bread oven in the kitchen area.  I love baking bread!  This place is perfect!

This area would have been the banquet hall with a high ceiling and long tables.  There was easy access to the kitchens for the servants.  Nicely laid out, actually.

A heavy fog had settled, which you can kind of see through the door leading back out of the castle.

Nap finds flowers!

After we left, we passed by a field with a couple of horses.  One of them started frolicking quite enthusiastically, darting from one side of the field to the other.  He is clearly a show-off, but I appreciated the effort after the Great Sheep Disappointment.

Yet another secret path leading somewhere that is probably beautiful and amazing…

We came back through that garden that I glimpsed on the way in.  It was a very proper, orderly sort of garden with some really cool trees.

Who needs a shed when you can keep your gardening supplies in a miniature castle?

The paths were so neat and tidy and perfect, but the flower beds were big, lovely, chaotic masses of different types of flowers.  I really liked this part of the garden too.

It was so misty outside the walls.  It almost looked like there was nothing outside the garden.  But then you can see green through the doors.

Narnia passage?  Quite possibly.  But it was locked.  Aslan didn’t want me to come in yet…

There was a very cool tree that deserved a photo.

Yet another cool tree.  I’m pretty sure that someone must have planted a pineapple in the ground and this thing is what sprouted out of it.  Weirdest tree I’ve ever seen…

We had to leave by 4:30 due to new October closing times, but we had enough time to really enjoy the grounds and the castle.

I honestly don’t know which of the two castles I liked more.  Tantallon was grand and glorious and tall, sitting up on the cliffs overlooking the sea, but Dirleton was quite large and impressive and had really beautiful grounds and gardens.

But then, do I really have to choose?  I think I shall keep them both.