Dispatch #5: Dunure, Scotland

Castle road signs are not uncommon in Scotland. Catch bus 361 at Smith Road near the Burns memorial and ride it south for 20 minutes to the stop in Dunure.


It’s not the way Mary Queen of Scots did it in August of 1563, but hopefully she enjoyed as beautiful weather as we did. The site is said to been a point of origin for the Kennedys of Carrick, whose clan ruled over southwest Scotland.


Reportedly this is the castle where Gilbert Kennedy tortured Allan Stewart, basting & roasting his feet over a pit in the castle’s black vault. If you had to be imprisoned at least you had a room with a terrific view.


In 1429, James Campbell and John MacDonald met at Dunure to negotiate on behalf of King James I and the Lord of the Isle. Negotiations fell apart and MacDonald was killed. King James then had Campbell executed for being a poor negotiator. Tough job. Madmen can be so hard to please.



The storage facility at Dunure is basically a fancy chicken coup that held over 200 nesting boxes. Outlander fans will recognize Dunure as the site of several episodes from Season 3. We walked the modern-day built labyrinth and I prayed for the people of Ukraine and for Putin to meet his maker.


We also met Douglas – “The only Scotsman without a dog” – who was visiting from Glasgow with his son, a documentary filmmaker.


I got a call from the man who ushered me into this writer’s life of mine: Poet/essayist George Venn. We talked at great lengths about his time in London and his Scots grandfather of the Fyfe clan. I don’t know what my life would have become were it not for the Scotsmen who shepherd me into teaching and writing – Rick Wallace & George.


Never underestimate the power each of us possess to shape another’s life for the better. Hasn’t Zelensky proven to all of us the power we have to inspire a world toward doing good versus evil? I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people who inspire me everyday to care for others and to fight on their behalf.

Karen Spears Zacharias is a graduate student at the University of West Scotland. She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Murder Gene/May 2022. Available for pre-order now wherever fine books are sold.



  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1646636481
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-164663648 


Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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