Sunday, June 25, 2006

Carbisdale Castle

The night of Day 3 we spent sleeping in Carbisdale Castle. Sleeping in a castle in Scotland is just plain cool... It's a gorgeous place that eventually got into the hands of the YHA who have kept it beautifully. They've modernised it to a certain extent - like the kitchens - and the place is just plain huge. It's the kind of place that you arrive at and then wonder from room to room feeling vaguely lost. You find yourself going from staircase to staircase and trying to remember which door and which landing you enetered from as you move from corridor to corridor and around bends and down stairs etc.... We discovered two huge kitchens and dining rooms, several huge lounges (they even had internet but it was broken unfortunately), billions of rooms, statues, paintings etc... They had some beautiful artwork there. It was humbling, and slightly puzzling, to think that this huge huge building had once housed one extended family plus servants.... You'd have felt overwhelmingly small drifting through it!

The castle did of course come with secret passages and ghost stories. Several of group spent an hour or so searching for the secret corridor and discovering at least one statue which moved. It turned out the escape passage ran down to the groundsman's house on the estate. Young guests used to sneak into his living room and play pranks or rearrange his things so eventually they blocked it off.

Our host delighted in telling us the ghost stories (also available in published form at the castle) of the little wandering boy or of the haunted nursery where the nanny used to lock up the children for the day and then go about her own business. He confessed to us the next day when we were leaving that he'd made up the tales over a successive course of visits and they had caught on. He was telling us how he used to send the tour group off to the pub by themselves while he set up arcane symbols etc... in glow-in-the-dark chalk on the drive to scare them. The last time he did it they came back early and he had to dive into the bushes - leaving a shoe behind. The group stopped, glanced at the symbol, picked up his shoe and said something along the lines of 'ah well, Dave'll be right' and kept staggering up to the castle. Dave had to hop back, wet and with small leaves attached to himself. He decided afterwards that he couldn't be bothered and would much rather go to the pub :P


Post a Comment

<< Home