Sunday, June 25, 2006

Carbisdale Castle

The Castle is et up on a hill in the middle of a forest. Later that evening after the night was well set-in we followed our fearless leader, Disco, out into the fresh night air. Down the long drive we toiled and then out through farmers' fields, over the bridge across the river, and then down the road to the pub - the sole building anywhere in site. It was a cozy little affair that must be kept in business by Haggis and also by the hostel sending people across. They had column heaters that reached towards the ceiling that were glorious. They also had very large dress-up boxes and we duly got sent-off to get changed. There were some very nicely turned-out calves once the boys got into their kilts... Dave the trend-setter had his own cocktail recipie pinned up by the bar and other drivers had added theirs (complete with sketches). Dave hopped behind the bar and promptly had a couple of his whipped up. I can't remember what was in it but it was a lovely sunset colour and quite deadly from the looks of those who managed an entire glass by themselves. We ended up in the other room at one point learning Highland dancing. It was great and the second dance (two rows, first couple leads off and moves down to the end, followed a few turns later by the second etc... style) went far better than the more complicated circle dance that we kept getting wrong and bumping into each other. They had a Scottish band in for us too and several of us got a go on the Scottish drums and on the bagpipes! Then they used the cd player to turn the place into a mini nightclub for us :P

It was an awesome night but I was pretty knackered ad left the drunken revelries around 12.30 with everyone else staying on. Finding my way back didn't seem like such a problem until I realized, terrified, that I was completely and utterly alone in the dark and that should some creature of the night seize me that I really would never be seen again. Plus my cellphone's torch gave me less than 2m of light.
Even so, I had to stop on the bridge because the sky was so incredible. The entire night sky was littered with stars and there was nothing to obstruct them... no cities for miles and miles....

I'd been too busy talking when we'd left to pay much attention to the route and walked for about half an hour before realizing that the road was now heading downwards rather than curling up to the castle. I was exhauseted but turned around realizing that there must be an unlighted turn-off to the castle somewhere. I got such a fright when I heard someone ahead of me but then they stopped and cautiously called out 'Who's there?'. Anyway, I realized it was Fox and one of the other guys who hadn't had any light at all and had no idea where they were. So we all backtracked and bumped into Troy who was wandering in the dark all alone. Evetually we found the turn off and with great relief headed for the castle. The other two fell behind and Troy ended up telling me a ghost story all the way up the drive. Then we went ghost hunting :P We were trying to find the poltergeist room. Instead all we found were some half-naked Frenchmen with a white sheet over one of their heads!


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