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Tessa Joughin | profile | all galleries >> Fact and Fiction >> The Road to Destiny (Castle) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The Road to Destiny (Castle)

Over 30 years ago when I first visited the Eastern Free State, I was intrigued by a Medieval castle that stood at the edge of a sandstone cliff on the top of a remote mountain like the prow of a ship. Hewn out of the native sandstone, it blended in with it's base and it took a moment or two for one to recognise the turret with it's crenellations and realise that it was man made. The story went that the man who had planned and built it had run out of money so it stood half finished, a monument to a romantic dream. It was only accessible to hikers and there were tales of a stairway that led to nowhere and arched windows that had never been glazed.
A couple of years ago a rumour went around that it had been bought and was to be finished. There was great interest. In September of last year late one Sunday afternoon we went up a very rough road that had been dug into the side of the mountain and ended up on top of the world with this dark castle silhouetted against the setting sun. There were wheelbarrows, planks chips of sandstone and all the detritus of building lying around, but the shell was there and we scrambled around in awe, standing on the top parapet and looking at the 360 view of the mountains of the Witteberge and the Malutis all around us.

I was asked to photograph it in May by the new owner Mike Fogg and the change was remarkable. It has been a long journey but the Destiny Castle is going to be one of the exciting destinations in South Africa.
Destiny Castle - perched on the edge of a sandstone cliff
Destiny Castle - perched on the edge of a sandstone cliff
The road to Destiny, past hidden farms, on a gravel road..
The road to Destiny, past hidden farms, on a gravel road..
..past reed beds and willows...
..past reed beds and willows...
...and a bird-hide.
...and a bird-hide.
The road winds through fields..
The road winds through fields..
..and farmlands.
..and farmlands.
Through waving grasslands...
Through waving grasslands...
..golden poplars..
..golden poplars..
..and silver poplars..
..and silver poplars..
..with the castle ever beckoning.
..with the castle ever beckoning.
A rocky outcrop seems to overshadow the castle
A rocky outcrop seems to overshadow the castle
At the bottom of a cliff of mushroom shaped rocks, lies the owner's home.
At the bottom of a cliff of mushroom shaped rocks, lies the owner's home.
Like a mushroom itself, growing out of the rock..
Like a mushroom itself, growing out of the rock..
..it looks like a Hobbit house..
..it looks like a Hobbit house..
..with a secret entrance under the rock!
..with a secret entrance under the rock!
The more conventional entrance.
The more conventional entrance.
We wound up past the mushroom rocks
We wound up past the mushroom rocks
They look as if they would tumble if nudged!
They look as if they would tumble if nudged!
The colours of the sandstone cliffs are beautiful
The colours of the sandstone cliffs are beautiful
Grasses and ferns cling to the undercut cliff face
Grasses and ferns cling to the undercut cliff face
Some of the plants stain the sandstone with this distinctive dark streaking,
Some of the plants stain the sandstone with this distinctive dark streaking,
The road winds on, up...
The road winds on, up...
..and suddenly you are up on top of the world!
..and suddenly you are up on top of the world!
Past sentinel Lombardi's
Past sentinel Lombardi's
Almost there
Almost there
A little more climbing...
A little more climbing...
Looking back
Looking back
Looking forward...and there it is!
Looking forward...and there it is!
My first view - during the building.
My first view - during the building.
Wintry landscape from a parapet
Wintry landscape from a parapet
View to the Malutis in Lesotho
View to the Malutis in Lesotho
View over Eastern Free State farmlands
View over Eastern Free State farmlands
View to wards Bethlehem and Clarens
View to wards Bethlehem and Clarens
A modern geyser will be hidden under sandstone
A modern geyser will be hidden under sandstone
Some of the windows are installed
Some of the windows are installed
Towering over us
Towering over us
The new bedroom wing
The new bedroom wing
The views from the spa.
The views from the spa.
Golden sunset in the valley below
Golden sunset in the valley below
The Castle - six months later
The Castle - six months later
The generator will be hidden in this turret
The generator will be hidden in this turret
View to the Witteberge from the base of the main turret
View to the Witteberge from the base of the main turret
The formal rose garden seen from above
The formal rose garden seen from above
The secluded courtyard and the sun-deck
The secluded courtyard and the sun-deck
The sun-deck and the bedroom courtyard
The sun-deck and the bedroom courtyard
The main courtyard
The main courtyard
Patrick the Butler welcomes you
Patrick the Butler welcomes you
The round lounge at the top of the turret
The round lounge at the top of the turret
Quiet areas in the room where one can play chess...
Quiet areas in the room where one can play chess...
..or poker
..or poker
A cosy fireplace on a cold day
A cosy fireplace on a cold day
Room with a view
Room with a view
A quiet sundowner
A quiet sundowner
Legendary characters look down from the walls
Legendary characters look down from the walls
The intimate dining room
The intimate dining room
Patrick in the foyer..
Patrick in the foyer..
keeps an eye on the diners..
keeps an eye on the diners..
..behind the thick curtains.
..behind the thick curtains.
Dining by candlelight...
Dining by candlelight...
..or by glittering chandelier.
..or by glittering chandelier.
Cocktails
Cocktails
One of the four opulent bedroom suites
One of the four opulent bedroom suites
Old fashioned elegance
Old fashioned elegance
A breathtaking view to the Witteberge
A breathtaking view to the Witteberge
A place to relax in comfort
A place to relax in comfort
A four poster bed
A four poster bed
A slipper bath and a shower
A slipper bath and a shower
Romantic sunset
Romantic sunset
Valley view
Valley view
Castle door
Castle door
View to the Malutis
View to the Malutis
Four bedroom suites
Four bedroom suites
Perched on the edge of a cliff
Perched on the edge of a cliff
Stereo view from the cliff
Stereo view from the cliff
A quiet chat
A quiet chat
Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view
The secluded courtyard off the bedroom wing
The secluded courtyard off the bedroom wing
A fully equipped, modern kitchen
A fully equipped, modern kitchen
Busy chefs preparing an sumptuous meal!
Busy chefs preparing an sumptuous meal!
The castle's shadow falls over the rose garden
The castle's shadow falls over the rose garden
The main turret has a barbecue or braai area with spectacular 360 views
The main turret has a barbecue or "braai" area with spectacular 360 views
Sunset over the sun-deck
Sunset over the sun-deck
The gentle contours of the farmlands
The gentle contours of the farmlands
Looking to-wards Clarens
Looking to-wards Clarens
Golden light in the upstairs foyer
Golden light in the upstairs foyer
Knights of the Round Table
Knights of the Round Table
Sunset through a turret window
Sunset through a turret window
Destiny Castle silhouetted against a spectacular sunset
Destiny Castle silhouetted against a spectacular sunset