Bishop's Castle

Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Three words to describe Bishop's Castle? Weird, terrifying, and fascinating.

Mike, Heather and Andrew ready to check out Bishop's Castle!

While out in Westcliffe, Mike and I were excited to really check out some of things to do and see around there. Our trip the year before was so quick we felt that we didn't have a lot of time to explore what all Westcliffe had to offer.

Jim Bishop has been working on the castle since 1969.
Heather under one of the stone archways.

When we asked the locals what we needed to do while we were in the Westcliffe area, Bishop's Castle was always on their list. Not knowing what to expect, we headed off to see the castle on Friday with the Manleys.

Think these stairs look a little sketchy? Yeah, they're worse in real life.
I had a minor freakout halfway up.

So, a quick history of Bishop's Castle...since 1969 Jim Bishop has been constructing this elaborate castle on the side of a mountain. He's an eccentric, anti-government guy - so parents be warned - there are lots of anti-government, blunt rants posted all over the castle's grounds, which makes it just that much more of a strange experience. Wikipedia has a pretty good description of the place - it's really hard to explain in a few sentences, and really, you have to see it to believe it.

Yes, that's a dragon. Yes, it breathes fire. 
Stained glass in the main room of the castle. 

The castle has been constructed of natural stone and metal, and features a fire-breathing dragon at the top of one of the towers. He keeps working on the castle non-stop so that it's always in construction mode and he doesn't have to pay property taxes.

Heather checks out all the natural stone it took to construct the castle.

Beautiful view from way up - if you can relax and enjoy it at that point!

As my engineer husband pointed out, nothing about the castle is safe or structurally sound. (Exactly what you want to hear halfway up a rickety staircase.) Signs all over the castle warn you that Jim Bishop is not liable for anything that happens there. If you're scared of heights, this is not the place for you. Not only are the heights dizzying, they're more fear-inducing when you realize what's holding you up, shouldn't be holding you up. Conclusion? You've got to see the place, but I wouldn't go climbing too far up, especially with little kids. It's a truly enter-at-your-own-risk kind of place.

Mike and Andrew looking at the poor construction of the balcony - up about 100 feet. Perfect!
I nervously stepped out for one photo to prove I was there.
Definitely faced a lot of fears that day up on the castle. But you know what? It was fascinating.

We made it!

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