Last month I took a little trip to the west coast of Scotland. It was a staycation that we took to break away from the day-to-day monotony that comes with recovering from chronic illness. It was something positive to look forward to and it turned out to be just what I needed as it helped to give me a bit of a boost. When we were away, we stayed at an amazing hot tub lodge and I quite happily wouldn’t have even left the place. However, I do love to explore new places and so we took a short trip out each day. First to Inveraray Castle and then to Inveraray Jail the following day.
Initially I had dismissed the idea of going to the jail. Having been to Alcatraz I just wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this to quite the same degree. However, we were told that it was a really great place to visit and I have to say I’m glad we went in the end. As it turns out, it was really unfair of me to have formed an opinion before I even went as it was really good!
When you purchase your ticket you are handed a headset for the audio tour. As you make your way through the prison at your own pace you press play at certain points to be informed of the jail’s history. As you listen to the audio tour you are taken back in time and experience what it was like for prisoners in this 19th century prison, which housed both men, woman and even children.
The tour starts with an exhibit about the gruesome forms of punishment that were used in the days prior to courts and prisons. There are even thumbscrews hanging for you to try if you dare!
After the torture, death and damnation exhibit you enter the courtroom, which is full of witnesses. I felt a bit creeped out sitting down and then looking round to find this guy above staring at me. It’s all very well done. As you take your seat the audio tour recalls the tales of actual trials that were heard in the courtroom. Once sentences are passed you then move on to explore the prison cells.
There is an old and new prison block to explore and you are free to go inside many of the cells. A lot of the cells are made up with life-sized models inside to show you what life was like in the prison. In one cell there was even a real actor, which caused one of my friends to about die of fright haha!! In the new block you can even try out the hammocks and wooden beds that are in the cells. There is also a whipping table that you can try out, which provided much hilarity!!
One of the final cells is made up to look like one of the modern day prison cells in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow. It always shocks me to see things like games consoles in the actual cells.
Outside there is a guard keeping watch and, as you come to the end of the tour, he will lock you up in the outdoor airing yards, which were used to exercise inmates.
It was a really great visit and if you are ever in the area, I would recommend going to see the jail.