Inchmahome Priory was one of those places we had heard about from locals but hadn't gotten around to visiting until we got a rental car. It's located on the only lake in Scotland, Lake Menteith, and was established in 1238. Thanks to Sir Walter Scott, the great Scottish Romantic, people became interested in the island and its ruins, and began visiting the priory long after it had ceased to be a religious site.
Sadly, due to conservation work, we couldn't go inside parts of the priory, but we were able to walk around on the island for a bit. The work also meant that prices were a tad bit cheaper to visit, if you weren't a Historic Scotland member.
Like any notable historical site in Scotland, it was visited by nobility. King Robert the Bruce visited three times between 1306 and 1310. King Robert II also visited the priory at one point, before he was crowned king. And for a few short weeks when she was four, the priory was home to Mary Queen of Scots, to ensure her safety. As monastic houses fell out of favor in Scotland, Inchmahome was abandoned and became property of various secular individuals before it was given into state care in 1926.
Today though, the island still remains a peaceful site. The ruins were covered with small purple flowers, and we were lucky enough to see it on a perfectly sunny day and the surrounding trees sheltered us from the constant Scottish breeze.
There were fields of fading bluebells in the woods. Additionally, there was a boxwood bower, planted in supposedly the same place that the four year old Mary Queen of Scots planted a similar bower.
As we left, I made Aaron promise to bring us back next summer so we could bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the peace and quiet for a whole day. This was definitely a beautiful place to visit and explore.
Because it is only accessible by boat, there was a long wait (and only one boat was running) but it worked in our favor, because not everyone wanted to wait to get over there. There were only about 100 visitors on the island that day, and it was still pretty easy to find a quiet, peaceful spot. Inchmahome is open only from April to September, but if you have the opportunity to visit, it is a wonderful site to see.