I decide to visit Carlisle Castle and am just in time for one of the daily guided tours.
The tour guide is quite good, and I learn more than I ever wanted to about a number of things, including what a medieval toilet was like. Let’s just say that you wouldn't want to go swimming in the moat in those days. The guide also gets into talking about peoples’ personal hygiene. Baths were not popular. He quotes Queen Victoria, who said, "I bathe four times a year, and that is quite enough."
The guide takes us to other buildings within the Inner Bailey, including the Captain’s Tower, a typical 12th-century structure with heavy wooden doors, a portcullis, and the gruesome "murder holes."
The old Royal apartments, chapel, and Great Hall now house the Museum of the King's Own Border Regiment, which is still headquartered outside the inner walls, but inside the outer walls.
We see the ruins of Queen Mary’s Tower, which is among the oldest buildings of the castle and was named after Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at Carlisle. Nearby is Lady’s Walk, where Mary used to walk in the sunshine during her captivity.
We also explore the dungeons with their famous "licking stones," and the walls with their cannons.
You can view my photos in the Carlisle Castle Album at: http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/ed_hk/.
You can learn more about the castle at http://www.theheritagetrail.co.uk/castles/carlisle%20castle.htm.