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Forget munros, castle bagging is the new sport

30 June 2009

Historic Scotland launches search for the country’s most cultured family

Scotland is famed for its rugged countryside and outdoor pursuits but the less energetic are swapping Munros for the new sport of castle bagging.

Touring the country and visiting the most castles in a weekend has become a popular pass-time for recession hit Brits.

Historic Scotland has noticed an increase in the number of visitors to their properties who say they are on a quest to bag the most castles they can.  

They’ve found around 20 visitors a month are making the most of Scotland’s plethora of strongholds and travelling around to visit them as a day out or weekend away.  One family even managed to visit 20 properties in just seven days.

In the current financial climate one in five people are choosing to holiday at home and experience Scotland’s culture and heritage.

Historic Scotland is tapping into this market and offering six months free on their family membership when you buy 12 months.  Families will pay just £6.16 a month to get free access to more than 70 properties across Scotland and can bag as many castles as they like.

To celebrate the Make Your Own History campaign they are challenging families to take up the new craze in a search to find the country’s most cultured family.

Barbara Smith, executive manager of Edinburgh Castle, said:  “We have noticed an increase in visitors who say they are trying to visit as many castles as possible.  It seems to have become a bit of a sport to see who can “bag” the most.  

“We look after more than 60 castles across the country so there’s plenty to choose from.  It’s a great way in the current climate for families to spend quality time together and get out and experience Scotland’s culture and heritage for themselves.  

“The hard part is choosing which castles to visit and how much time to spend there as there is so much to see and do.  We’d love to find the family who have bagged the most of our castles to date.”

Elaine and Alistair Greig could be contenders after notching up 39 castles around Scotland.  The enthusiasts enjoy spending time with their children Ewan, seven, and Eilidh, five, touring Scotland’s keeps.

Mum-of-two Elaine said: “I’ve loved visiting castles ever since I was a little girl and my children love it now too.  Their favourite pass-time at the weekend is a visit to Edinburgh Castle. They can run around for hours at a time and let their imagination go wild.

“It’s a great way to spend time together as a family.  We often take a picnic with us when we go for the day.  We are spoilt for choice in Scotland with the number of beautiful historic properties we have and they are perfect for families to explore.  

“All young children love the history behind castles and the people who live there like knights and kings and every property has its own unique story.”

And foreign tourists are getting in on the act with one German family visiting 35 sites in 10 days and a Spanish couple managing 37 in 14 days.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland said the new trend is slightly less strenuous than Munro bagging but still a great way to spend a day out enjoying Scotland’s natural beauty.

David Gibson, Chief Officer for The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, said:  “Scotland’s castles and mountains are inextricably linked though their history and beauty and are both set in wonderful scenic landscapes that are great to explore.  Like munro-bagging, castle bagging carries a health warning – it can be seriously addictive.”

Historic Scotland will reward the family who can bag the most castles in a weekend.  Parents can send their admission tickets and photographs as proof of the trip to and the winning family will be reimbursed for entry.  

For more information on Historic Scotland and the full terms and conditions of the membership offer visit

Note to Editors:

  • For further information, please contact Lee-Ann Fullerton or Lucy Hewitt at Consolidated PR on 0131 240 6428 or 0131 240 6425  or email /
  • Historic Scotland membership includes access to some of Scotland’s top tourist destinations including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Linlithgow Palace and Skara Brae on Orkney.  
  • Historic Scotland’s activities and events programme is also free with the membership.  Events this year include the recreation of a 1640 siege at Urquhart Castle.  Visitors can see Highlanders, Lowlanders, Royalists and Covenanters with pikes, muskets, cannons and swords in action.  
  • Families can also experience knights jousting at Linlithgow Palace and meet some of Scotland’s most famous icons at Stirling Castle including Robert the Bruce and William Wallace.
  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage attractions.