Dunvegan Castle progress: Medicinal room and gardens

Previous Dunvegan progress post:

In the previous post, I mentioned the eventual purpose of this back room attached to the kitchen.



That room is now finished! It is a space dedicated to the medicinal needs of the Castle. Most Castles would have had some form of such a space and the luckier ones would have had an in residence healer or at least an herbalist who would know the basics of potions and poultices. In some Castles, this room or area might have been a small closet space called a Simples Cabinet, in others it would have been a larger space specifically designated for medical treatment and healing as well as the storing and drying of herbs and such. 


In our representation of the Castle, we’ve chosen to locate it off from the kitchen and with easy access to the outer courtyard on the other side of the room. While the kitchen has been updated over the centuries, the medicinal room remains much the same as it did in earlier times. This side of the Castle is the older part and the rooms on this side will reflect that more than some other spaces. The medicinal room is located right above the old entrance and when the Castle was added on to, this was probably one of the first areas to be built above ground.

This is an overview of these rooms. The empty space will be an entrance or mud room for this back portion of the Castle. If you look closely, you can see that there is a separate entrance  and stairs to the medicinal room. This is so that those in need of the healer or the medicinal room would not have to go through the kitchen to get there. This would have easier served the servants, stable hands, or tenants. The entry from the kitchen is an archway rather than a door because in older Castles, there were few actual doors.



The room is very well equipped with an alchemy station, storage cupboards, work table- which would often double as examining table!



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There are additional shelves for storage of necessary items.


This is the view of the entry from the entrance room. The fireplace remains from the original building of the room.


Much of the wall space near the fireplace was used for drying of various herbs.



When Minn first arrived, she was disgusted that the Castle did not have dedicated working garden space. Just because they were Vampyres didn’t mean that the rest of the lot didn’t need to eat! She berated Brennie soundly for being so lax, inefficient and a number of other things… for not having a good garden and for relying on the local farmers to provide their herbs and vegetables, when it should be the other way around. The Castle should be providing for their own needs and those of their tenants! A garden space was promptly set aside.  It is located off from the formal front gardens, and while it was not as convenient or accessible as Minn would like, it would have to do.

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In addition to the garden space, orchard trees were planted along the walkway to the back area.

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This is the back courtyard, with the original all important fresh water spring well still in place and in use. This well was one of the reasons the Castle was able to survive so well in it’s earliest years, and one of the reasons that the Castle was built in this location in the first place. A fresh water source was vital to survival and protected at any cost!

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Dunvegan Castle progress

Previous Dunvegan progress:
Brennie at tea

While Eric is lost in his memories of a long past, (We will get back to him soon, I promise!), work continues on the Castle restoration and Brennie has a few memories of her own. Brennie has not called the Castle home for quite as long as Eric but she has been there for quite a few centuries! Some of those centuries were more pleasant and or more memorable than others. She arrived during the 1400’s when much of the Castle as it stands today, did not exist. For a long time, it remained rather small and more of a fortress for defense. It was during the 17th and early 18th centuries that the Castle came closer to it’s present day appearance.  Unfortunately for Brennie, those were also some of her more difficult years. Prior to that time, in the medieval period, she had less problems finding ways to fit in as a female and a vampire. Those earliest years were difficult in terms of sheer survival but they did allow her a bit more freedom from social judgements on her appearance and behaviors.  Over the centuries as the Highland Clans were being more integrated into the politics and the regimes of the rest of the country and losing their individual identities and freedoms, life became much more regimented and governed by the social customs and rules of the larger world around them. Eric and the other men found it less difficult to find their place and fit in as warriors, soldiers, clan leaders or land owners. Brennie would have had a far harder time coming to terms with the restrictions and rules placed on her as a proper “young” lady of good standing. 


Even in her earliest years at the Castle, she struggled with being the “Lady” of the Castle. She was not raised in such an environment and had never desired to be in such a position of authority and leadership. It took her many centuries to adjust to it and even in the present day, she was not comfortable with all that running such a place entails. She did learn early on that one thing was essential to the Castle’s running… That was to have a  person who did know how to run a Castle! As Eric’s clan and the Castle took on more importance, Brennie realized that image was and is everything. She needed a person who could help her present a proper image to the rest of the world, who knew what had to be done, how it had to be done and when it had to be done, even if she herself had no real idea?  Somewhere or when during that time, she found just such a person in the form of one Mistress Minna MacGuinn.


Every Castle has it’s version of Minna… Castle Leoch for instance has Mrs. Fitz. 

Glenna Fitsgibbons Outlander 2014

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Our  Dunvegan Castle has Mistress Minna MacGuinn or just Minn if she likes you well enough?

Minna Minna Macguinn

There was a period of time when Brennie was not necessarily  on that well liked list and would be the first to admit that she was downright skairt of the woman!

Minna and Brennie


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Who’s Kitchen is it… It’s Minn’s Kitchen, Who runs the Castle… Minn does, and best ye not forget it lass!

Minna's kitchen2


All of the upstairs kitchen, as well as other improvements were more due to Minn’s suggestions… or demands than anything Brennie would have thought of during that time. Once Brennie sorted things out and came to an understanding with Minn, understanding as in it’s Minn’s way… Well, after that Brennie left much of the day to day running of the Castle up to Minn and they got along fine!


Minn’s kitchen, and best ye not forget that!

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Minn was instrumental in a number of changes and improvements. The back room behind the kitchen would eventually become a large alchemy/medicinal and herbal room. And, Minn was also responsible for added garden space outdoors… Shortly after her arrival, she shrugged and tsked at the lovely outdoor gardens and made a comment to Brennie. “Achhh and sure it’s a pretty place for entertaining and all but what would ye be needing that for seeing as ye’re so skairt of them such things now aren’t ye?” She was right about that… This was during a time when Brennie was having such a difficult time of adjusting to the world that she avoided people as much as possible and her reason for having Minn was so that she didn’t have to face any of the many guests that often frequented the Castle. Minn was having none of that, and she was the one who helped push Brennie back to the outside world.  Minn would get her working garden and Brennie would get her life back during that time as well!






Behind the Scenes: Work on Dunvegan Castle

Yse, it’s very slow progress but at least I have made some!  I was waiting for the new Amore Venue/set hoping there would be some items I could use on the Castle… unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed in that respect! I did find a use for the new windows though. They work well when recolored, and I have swapped a few of the other windows out with these new ones. I am not going to replace all of the windows with these new ones because I do think that would be overdoing it? A few scattered around though does change the appearance a little and adds a touch of color to the stonework.

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I also finally found a place to use this new gate from the Brunch at the Old Mill set from the Sims3 store.

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The rest of today’s work was on the main level of the Castle. A larger, newer kitchen space was added along with less formal dining for servants and a back breakfast or tea room.  The kitchen space is designed to easily access the formal dining/great room as well as the breakfast room. There would also be convenient and easy access to the lower level old kitchen and storage areas. This new kitchen will be up to date with modern appliances but will retain an old world rustic feel to it. The décor is not finished in either space but the layout is set now. There was some initial thought on replacing the flooring in these two rooms but I have decided to keep the old stonework floors here. The stone flooring gives the historical and old world feel to the rooms. They have been lightened and scrubbed up to lighten the rooms up a bit.

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Breakfast/Tea room  This room is not meant to be a formal tea room but just more of a comfortable dining space for family or guests.

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Previous Dunvegan progress:

From the Creator: Sims3 That’s Amore Venue

I have installed the last Sims3 Venue offered, have had a look around it and can now make some observations about it.  Yes, the preview screens of it were quite impressive… but that is usual due to some good marketing and photography work on their part!  I mentioned previously that I purchased it more for the contents included in it rather than the venue itself… I am not disappointed with those individual items so it’s worth the money spent, for me anyway. I was not really expecting a whole from the venue/ build so I can not say I was surprised or disappointed in that aspect either!


If you are planning to use it as is, please be forewarned that it is a huge lot- 64×64, with little else to do on the lot other than experience the Gondola ride? Not much thought or effort was given to interior décor or entertainment! In my opinion this lot is what I would call a definite fixer upper with a lot of potential! Please excuse my photos… I plopped it down in my current empty world of Aurora Skies and it doesn’t necessarily quite fit in with that environment. All of the photos are taken in build/buy mode as I really just wanted to go in quick and check it out.

These are some quick overviews of the lot after placing it.

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I could resist trying a few adjustments to portions of it to see some differences in the appearance? As I said, it qualifies as a fixer upper… I do not care for much of the wall covering that they tried with this build. It’s far to shiny and I think it detracts from the over all appearance! I changed the roof color/pattern and did some very basic wall covering replacements to come up with this?

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Here are some photos of the interiors such as they are…

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You can find a number of places to sit, or make use of a computer… The décor and atmosphere leaves much to be desired!

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I did find one spot to do some painting… after you get bored with reading!


And, after an exhausting trek through the building and the very large lot, you can at least find a place to sleep? If two of you came here together, possible for that romantic encounter on the Gondola, you are out of luck on finding space to sleep together! I found only this one bed anywhere on the lot! If you were planning on a nice romantic meal together… please remember to bring your own and be prepared to cook it on a grill! I did find one grill located on one of the balconies near the entrance.

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Overall impression and thoughts on this venue… Yes, definitely has potential as in a massive renovation and redecoration project. It does seem to have a good basic structure and foundation to work from but the redecoration would be extensive and take quite some time! You could easily go in and add some entertainment and recreation, as well as some decent cooking and some convenient toilet facilities?! I can see the opportunities for some great photos, at least out door ones… Not sure if I would bother taking photos inside without some redecoration!



From the Creator: Now back to Sims3!

My previous post regarding sims4 is my final one regarding what ifs and maybes or what evers. The game does not come until September and until then I will focus my attentions back to what I am working with right now. That would be, of course Sims3!  Some of you may be wondering what is taking me so blasted long with the current Dunvegan Castle project?! Well, aside from the distractions of Sims4, the current story progress, and yes… of course, Outlander… I am waiting somewhat impatiently for the new and last Sims3 store offering! It comes out tomorrow and I really didn’t want to do much as far as building and decorating on the Castle until I get this new venue/set and see what it has to offer me! I am quite excited about it… I only wish they had offered it sooner!

The venue/set is called Amore and is being put out as a final Goodbye parting gift from the store. Hmmmm if it were truly a gift from them, then it would be free… But, I highly doubt that would happen! None the less, it is rather impressive other than the odd looking water? I can only assume that the water feature is similar to the roller coaster track set, or the farm tractor path set in previous store offerings. I am not going to complain, though, as the rest of it looks fantastic! Here are some preview pictures of it!

amore amore2 amore11 amore9 amore8 amore7 amore6 amore5 amore4 amore3


I am not sure yet what all comes in the set but, I am looking forward to it! I do think that there should be some things I can make great use of in my Castle build! So, now you know why it’s slow progress for now on the Castle build!



Sims4: some last thoughts!

If you’ve read my recent posts concerning this upcoming game, you are well aware of my concerns about it so I will not rehash those here! I did spend quite a bit of time yesterday searching through all of the information out there in order to maybe better understand and accept this new game concept. I will provide you with some additional pics and links to articles so that you can make your own decision on it.  I do have to say that after viewing some of the photos, I am impressed with some of the things. For example, the furniture now seems to match better and be of some uniform size… I say this because in sims3, many of the furniture and décor items are odd sizes that do not seem to fit with each other!   There is also a lot more décor than I would expect from a base game!


As you can see in these photos taken by Bill of Bill’s Sim Creations during his time at the Creator’s Camp, there are items that I as a historical builder can easily work with!

Photo by Bill Schloss of Bill Sim's Creation. photo preview of sims4

Photo by Bill Schloss of Bill Sim’s Creation. photo preview of sims4



Sims4 preview photo by Bill's Sim Creations

Sims4 preview photo by Bill’s Sim Creations



From viewing some of the wonderful photos, I am also a bit less concerned for now about the loss of terrain sculpting. Some of the information given states that the lots are placed well enough within surrounding areas to give a better feeling of the natural environment. I could deal with the flat lots and work around not being able to edit the lot. Bill has a wonderful outdoor photo of landscaping that he did. I am so impressed with it. And, I do love that Pirates ship play set! I could definitely use that. One of the recreation items missing in this new format is the swing set… I can’t say as I miss that too much? I am happy to see some new, more creative items!

Sims4 preview photo by Bill's Sim Creations

Sims4 preview photo by Bill’s Sim Creations

Sims4 preview photo by Bill's Sim Creations

Sims4 preview photo by Bill’s Sim Creations


Speaking of  some of those sport and recreation items… I do see a climber in the above picture that I prefer over the sims3 jungle gyms! Now, if they would consider giving us a few of the sims2 items that I have missed so much over the recent years… mainly the obstacle course- I loved that item in the Sims2 and would love to see a come back of that, as well as the log rolling! Ahhhh but, now I am getting distracted and side tracked from what is important right now!

You can find more photos and excellent information on the build features on Bill’s Blog. Please do go check it out!


Ok, so now I have made peace with the loss of terrain sculpting, which is a huge issue for me, but I think I can work around it.  The next huge issue for many is of course, the elimination of the color wheel. That issue is being addressed, concerns have been already been brought to the game creators, and there are already modders working on mods to deal with that issue. I have already made my peace with that because I do understand the enormous amount of game lag the create a style has created in sims3. The loss of this item was not really a deal breaker for me once I found that the game will be much more custom content friendly!

Ruthless has addressed all of the concerns about the color wheel on her blog. I am not going repeat all of this here, she has voiced all of our concerns better than I could and you should read her thoughts on it! If you read the rest of her blog, you will find all of the additional information on building, and how the game works as far as loading screens.


The loading screens and the semi closed world have never been a concern for me.  I agree with Ruth’s opinion that I would much prefer to deal with quick loading screen than wait forever for my game, or my lot to load… or for my sims to drive across town!  I am perfectly happy with going back to the loading screens and thus ending up with a more open approach than we have in sims3. Sims3 always promoted the idea of a completely open world or game but never really accomplished that. In sims3, yes you do have an open world concept but really, you are stuck in that one town for the most part without the ability for your character to move to another town, or visit another town without having to basically start all over. What this means is your character loses all of it’s friends, it’s job, aspirations and wishes if they moved to another town. In the sims2, and now sims4, your sim may start life in one town but can easily work, shop and visit other towns or move there without losing any life progress. For me this is what makes it a truer story telling opportunity and I do look forward to that part of it!

Read Ruth’s information on the loading screens here!


Well, I have made progress on working my way through all of this mess, haven’t I?  Only a few concern left to address here.  This does leave one of the biggest, most crucial concerns for me. That is the loss of the move objects cheat, which is so vital to so many users of the game! I have already voiced my concerns and frustrations about this and so have many other users. This one seemingly small missing detail could actually be the most major deal breaker for a large portion of the creative community. It affects us in so many ways, from building and decorating to photographing and styling that it has become an very necessary cheat for all of us.  It has of course been brought to the attention of the game creators. Those who attended the Creator’s Camp voiced their concerns on this over and over again, so hopefully they have listened and will find a way to provide us with some form of this tool or at least some work around for it!

For some excellent information on the photography aspect of the game along with the new animations, You should go over to Simatography and read through their articles!


I am not going to go into the whole bizarre baby issue right now… it most certainly need some work as it is so ridiculous that it takes us all the way back to sims 1 in it’s presentation and interactions! Suffice it to say, I will not be bothering with many babies in the game. There isn’t much point to bother with them at this point! All I can add on this issue is that I would hope they are diligently working on this aspect of the game.  Ok, I’ve found the clip I was searching for to give an accurate depiction of the strangeness of Sims4’s dealing with the baby situation!



My last thought… and one that gets me through all of this is a promotional guarantee made by EA? If you are not satisfied or happy with this game, You can return it for full refund within 24 hours! So, that does give me the option and opportunity to try it out and at least feel like I haven’t totally wasted my money if it appears that it is not going work!


Previous post regarding sims4





Behind the Scenes: Finally some progress on Dunvegan Castle!

I finally got a chance to do some work on Dunvegan Castle!  The lowest level is now finished and represents what the earliest years in the Castle might have looked like. In those earliest ancient times, there would not have been a Castle.  The earliest dwelling would have started out as well protected underground space with an entrance close to the water. Over the centuries, the water levels would have changed, creating more of a land base entrance to the dwelling.  The living space would have been shared by all of the clan members in those earliest of times. There would have been few actual doors between areas. The archways would have allowed heat to easier pass through all sections of the dwelling. The stables would have been connected to the Living spaces allowing for greater protection of the livestock and also for  added warmth to be shared. I have tried to put it as close to accurate as feasible and possible. These initial photos are taken in build mode since it was easier to work without people on the lot for now!


A small portion of this level has been renovated for modern purposes. The remainder of the space has been restored to the more ancient time period of the Castle’s history and will be featured on public tours when the contractors and historians are finished with the Castle’s restoration!


In previous episodes of the story, you saw the sleeping and more private family space.

Screenshot-49 a family in mourning

Here are some views of the old kitchen and general living space.  These general living areas would have been far more basic and sparse in décor than the private quarters. The general areas would have been used by everyone in clan for all of their daily living needs. The finer items would have been reserved for the more personal, private space.

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This is a view of the old entrance room. The stairs in the entry lead up to a courtyard area where the well is located. The stairs in the old kitchen lead up to what would be newer portions of the Castle.


In back of the stable is a central common space that would have been used for everything from work space, added sleeping space, storage or recreation.

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An overview of what the space now looks like!



We did have to make one addition to the lot for our story purposes. There is now a small dungeon or prison space which is located near the old entrance. This space would have been where Svein was kept under close supervision during his confinement.  It would later have been used for prison space, or possibly another hiding space… There was no need to add extensive décor to this space as it would have been very utilitarian. The upper room is equipped with some seating for those waiting to visit with a prisoner, or waiting to be imprisoned! The purpose of using a ladder rather than stairs is not just for space saving. The ladder could easily have been removed, there by preventing a prisoner from escaping!


Upper room


Lower prison level.


view of Castle with the small prison tower added.



Previous Behind the Scenes post:



From the Creator: More Sims4 news!

Ok, it’s Monday and the embargo has been lifted on the sharing of information from the Creator’s Camp held last week!  As most of  the simmers know, EA hosted a special Creator’s camp in San Francisco last week and invited a number of very talented builders and creators to learn more about the Sims4 game. Sadly, no I was not one of them… would have been fun and exciting as well as quite convenient as I do live in the area! Enough of my moaning and whining over that. I am happy for all of those lucky people who got to attend! They learned a lot about the game and now can share it with us!

What I am going to do for now is post links to some of the many videos and articles posted.  I will come back later and update with added links as I find them!


This video is from PC Gamer. I thought it was a great review and he was honest in his observations of the positives and negatives regarding the new game.


This article is from Sims Resource news. Much of this article deals with the animations and the future of mods and custom content in the game!


My simming friend, Bill Sim, who is a very talented creator and all around great guy, has just posted this article on his blog!


I am really excited about a few of the preview pictures because I can see that it might just allow me to build some castles and more historical type homes right away!

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I am a little disappointed and concerned with a few things that I deem as critical to building and decorating, such as no move objects cheat available. Many of the creators attending the camp voiced their concern about this and hopefully made the game creators understand just how important this cheat is to us as creators!  They have given us some other great trade offs though, such as adjustable height walls and windows!

They have also given us so much more in the way of animations and interactions between the sims in the way of multi tasking!  What this means is that a character can now do more than one thing at a time.  An example is that they can be watching television, eating, and talking to another character at the same time! This is a huge help as far as story telling and pictures for me!  I can actually set my characters up in a realistic way now without having to rely so much on custom poses or animations! It will save me incredible amounts of time as well as provide some better and more realistic interactions and expressions! I can honestly say right now that I am looking forward to experiencing the game as a whole!



From the Creator: Behind the scenes

As most of you know, we are in the middle of filming in the highlands of Scotland right now telling Eric North’s story. We took a short break from the filming to enjoy that other time travel journey… Outlander! While we were on this break, we decided to send some of the cast members to a special event that we were invited to. We received an invitation to attend the premier of Mark Stone’s new network, Sims World TV! You can find more great info on it here:

Sims World TV


The cast had a fantastic time and we wish Mark Stone and Sims World TV the best of luck and much success in the future!

We thought you might enjoy the photos taken at the event!



One of the official promotional posters for the event

Time Slips cast members: Brenda Blonde, Judith Self, Eric North, Adrian DeWare, Scoithin Reil, Svein North, Eleanor DeGuille

Time Slips cast members: Brenda Blonde, Judith Self, Eric North, Adrian DeWare, Scoithin Reil, Svein North, Eleanor DeGuille

Arriving at the premier



Arriving at the premier

Arriving at the premier

Of course, the paparazzi immediately showed up and Eleanor was not amused!

Eleanor is not amused! Paparazzin show up!

Eric found a way to get back at them!

out takes, Eric gets back at paparazzi!

The paparazzi was not amused by Eric’s stunt… He seems to be a bit off focus with his camera? Unless of course he was intentionally aiming for Brenda’s assets… if so, then I believe we can bring a case of sexual harassment against him!

uninvited guests



Ohhhhhh We have not seen Eleanor in quite some time! She was enjoying a much needed vacation but did fly at the chance to attend this event! Here she is arriving and getting her Fairie on!

Eleanor gets her faire on!

Upon landing on the red carpet, she is cool, graceful and sophisticated as always!

Eleanor DeGuille at premier Eleanor at premier

Eleanor is joined by the other ladies for a little fun!

Ladies of Time Slips

Ladies of Time Slips: Scoithin Reil, Eleanor DeGuille, Judith Self, Brenda Blonde

Eric with Judith and Brenda

Eric, Judith and Brenda Close up of Eric, Judith and Brenda

A private moment between Judith and Eric caught on camera.

Eric and Judith

The camera also caught the rest of the group off guard while waiting their turn for photos!

paparazzi out take shot of the group

Adrian DeWAre… yes, Adrian is also playing the role of Artorius in the current episodes! Here he joins Scoithin Reil and Svein North to pose for the cameras!

Adrian, Scoithin and Svein close up of Adrian, Soithin and Svein

The men of Time Slips get their turn to have some fun!

Men of Time Slips close up of the men

Finally, Although they may have left their kilts in Scotland, the men did bring their swords!

Swords held high They brought their swords!


A formal Salute and Congratulations to Sims World TV from the cast of Time Slips!

Salute to Sims World TV


Behind the Scenes: Update on Dunvegan Castle progess!

The current story line involving Eric and Reina required both indoor and outdoor scenes for filming. Rather than attempt to build a whole set for those scenes, I chose to incorporate them into the Dunvegan Castle build! The indoor set of Reina’s death was done in the lower level of the Castle. It was designed to portray the ancient cottage room in the Fairie village where Eric’s family sought sanctuary. It worked fine for that, and now that those scenes are complete, it will be a part of the old Castle rooms. It will represent what the oldest parts of the Castle would have looked like as a sleeping and private chamber for the first Clan leaders who lived there. In addition to this room, there will eventually be an old kitchen and work room as well as an old entry room.

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These areas are based on information and one picture from the real Castle that I used for inspiration!

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In my adaption of the Castle for story purposes, I am trying to incorporate some real aspects of the Castle into it. During the present day,  Eric, Brennie and Svein are working on renovating the Castle and grounds, and having it open to the public for historical tours. Those tours would include these older sections and some background on what the Castle would have looked like before it became a Castle!


The outdoor scenes were filmed along the river bank below the Castle. That area now includes a memorial to Reina, which we will see in an upcoming episode!

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A preview of the upcoming episode where Eric says his final farewell to loved ones.

Eric's final farewell to loved ones

previous episode:

next episode of Dunvegan Castle progress;