Thursday 1 August 2019

Not quite Dunrobin

Just a few miles up the road from our holiday accommodation was Dunrobin Castle, so it was somewhat inevitable that we would end up there at some point. Inevitable, perhaps, but not without my stubborn refusal to allow myself to enjoy the landed-gentry-fest.

Yup, pedantic AND obdurate.

The was a minor flurry of activity before we set off.  During breakfast, eaten al fresco, we saw an Osprey hunting over the loch. Aw crumbs, there was muesli everywhere. For the avoidance of doubt, we were eating muesli, the Osprey wasn't.

We arrived at Dunrobin just before the doors opened, but not before two coach loads of German tourists. We wandered up and down staircases, along corridors, through rooms and learnt about all manner of family history, but very little about the fabric of the building.

In fact, it was only this view, through a round window looking into an inner courtyard, which hinted at the multiple layers of history contained within the stonework.

The contents of each room were proudly labelled for our delectation. One particular glass cabinet caught my attention. It contained one of a pair of ornate slippers, apparently left behind, centuries ago, by a guest from the Vatican. What the actual?! Couldn't they have stuck it in the post and re-united it with its owner? Jeez, if this is what we've come to, there must be hotels and guest houses up and down the land, all treasuring the hot water bottles which Our Lass leaves behind. ["What, pet? Again? Surely not?!"]

The formal garden were a bit more informal due to the presence of a recently-mown hay meadow, the work appearing to be done by hand rather than machine. One begrudgingly bestowed brownie point to Dunrobin.

I went Full Quirk with my camera, a task made much easier by this weird tree/bush/plant thing. Please note the exquisitely out of focus step ladders, bottom left.

Another Dunrobin attraction that I was assiduously ignoring was the Falconry display. However, this did have the added benefit of being a tourist magnet, so every other part of the garden was quieter. I noticed a Grey Heron, flapping slowly and earnestly from the shore, across the estate and making a bee line for the garden, right up to the point where it discovered that the air space beneath it was full of raptors. With an undignified squawk and an ungainly volte-face, it lumbered away in high dudgeon.

Meanwhile, a familiar sound, which I had been hearing for a few minutes, finally made it to my brain. Why was I listening to Fulmars?! Of course, to the birds, the castle was just another rocky cliff face. Balcony display, anyone?

As the sun put in an appearance, plenty of insects were making good use of all the nectar and pollen on tap. This year seems to have been a bumper one for Painted Lady butterflies in the UK (and elsewhere) and there were umpteen of them busily slurping away.

Eschewing the gift shop and lunch in the cafe, we headed into Golspie like good little proles, and had a peasantly light lunch. I even stirred my tea with revolutionary fervour.

Then it was onto Golspie's other attraction, the Big Burn Walk, a gentle saunter along paths lush with Summer's bounty and through leafy glades between towering cliffs. 

It occurred to me that if we were walking along the Big Burn, then this must be a sideburn, perhaps even one of a pair.

Proofreading this post, I realise I should point out that when I say 'Big Burn', that is with an R and an N, not an M.


Alyson said...

Great pictures - I know what you're saying about the castle but I have a soft spot for it as it's where my other half "popped the question" many moons ago! Not sure if it's still there but there used to be a great museum in the grounds where the "loot" appropriated from foreign travel was on display.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Wow, that was a stylish proposal! Aye, the wee museum is still there.