Doune castle in northern Scotland started construction in the 1200’s and was completed in the 1400’s. The castle is a well preserved example of a medieval fortress. It is famously the filming place of both’ Outlander,’ and more importantly, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’
The reason for me to visit this castle is its connection with the hilarious film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ All but one of the film’s castle scenes were filmed here. On the right in the castle gate house is a gift shop where you pay admission and get a set of headphones. The headsets give you an audio-tour hosted by none other than Monty Python member Terry Jones. You can also purchase you very own Equine Simulation Kit (2 half coconut shells) to clip-clop your way through the castle. Click the following link for an educational film about equine simulation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFy_0xVIG0M
After getting your headset and Equine Simulation Kit, walk back out to the front of the castle and begin your tour. Clip-clop your way up the hill re-inacting King Arthur and Patsy from the movie. While going up the front path to the gatehouse, you can picture the greatest failed, fictional idea in the history of the middle ages: the Trojan Bunny Rabbit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2PdyxMtiYM. The long path under the gate house was built at an incline so that attacking armies would be so tired after fighting through the castle inhabitants and up the path, that they would not be fit to fight afterwards.
Once past the gatehouse hall, you enter into the courtyard. You may be able to picture the wedding guests from the movie’s Tale of Sir Lancelot, who he does not waste time in slaughtering them. In the courtyard, look to the wall upon your left. If you were there at the filming of the Holy Grail, you would be staring at the back of John Cleese. In the audio tour, you will here a portion of “The French Taunting” scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey0wvGiAH9g, “Your mother was hamster, and your father smelled of elderberries!” I laughed out loud upon hearing this as it was suddenly so obvious and clear where I was standing.
Turn to your right from here and choose the leftmost stairs. Once up these steps, you will find yourself in the castle’s kitchen. Look around the room closely and listen to the audioguide. This is the Castle Anthrax!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0A5vzGMQr8 Look at the door through which you just came, and you will notice that this is the door that Michael Palin (Sir Galahad) knocked on to get out of the rain. You will be played a bit of the scene on the audio tour.
From the kitchen servants would carry food into the great hall, which is a very silly place. This is Camelot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ghXxXyAuw, where in the movie, the knights of the round table sing their song and dance. In history, this would have been where the king and his guests feasted. A balcony is stationed for musicians to entertain the king and his subjects.
Move on from here into the throne room, which was renovated in Victorian times. Above the throne room is the Duchess’ hall. In the Holy Grail, this was the swamp castle in which Michael Palin (Swamp Castle King) imprisoned Terry Jones (his son in the movie). You can visualize as you enter Terry Jones being guarded by Eric Idle and Graham Chapman, the incompetent guards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZbG7iwRh34
There is much more to the castle than what I have covered here; so much that I have forgotten most of it. For a Monty Python fan like me, the rooms I covered are what matters the most. Seeing where some of my favorite scenes from “The Holy Grail” were filmed brought the movie to life. I will make a later post about important Monty Python locations in London. Until then, make sure to be wary of any fresh fruit which might cross your path. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWCBOsJr-w