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.
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
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.