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29 October 2014
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Culzean Coves
Culzean Coves
Scrambling over the rocky shore to the front of the castle maybe a bit arduous, but it is well worth it when you come to these caves, dug into the rock under the castle and built in the medieval period, creating the look of inhabited caves.

However, the story of these caves is not as straightforward as at first you may think, for these caves were once the haunt of one of the coast's most enduring activities - smuggling.

In actual fact, the caves may have been the earliest inhabited part of the castle grounds, as the castle itself is built upon a network of caves, perhaps occupied into antiquity - and certainly inhabited during the mediaeval period.

However, after this period, and certainly by the time the present castle buildings were constructed, the caves were being used for an altogether more sinister purpose. In this quite, secluded, and above all, privately owned, part of coast it was easy for those bringing contraband goods into the country to unload and stoer their goods in these caves.

Culzean Coves
Culzean Coves

Alcohol, including brandy and whisky, tobacco and silks were all smuggled in extensively in the Firth of Clyde from Ireland and the Isle of Man, and the caves at Culzean form one of the most tempting places in the whole of that coastline to drop off smuggled goods.

It's also very hard to believe that with the high level of smuggling going on, that the Kennedy clan who owned Culzean, or at the very least their agents who ran the castle, were not either heavily involved in the smuggling, or at least tacitly allowing it to continue. Especially given that the 8th Earl Cassilis had a legitimate business as a wine and spirit merchant! The likelihood is that, in common with many similar landowners up and down the coast, they were perfectly happy to allow it to continue on their property in return for a share in the profits.


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The walk's stages
walking manIntroduction
Where to start
walking manStage 1
Gas House
walking manStage 5
Swan Pond

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