Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scotland: Blair Atholl and Stirling

Day Six: Blair Atholl

After seeing Edinburgh Castle the day before, apparently we couldn't get enough! We hopped a train (thanks to L's stellar train schedule-deciphering skills) and found ourselves in Blair Atholl. There was a lovely long lane that led to the castle.
This looked much more like a manor to me than a castle, but it was still grand and lovely, in spite of some non-period-related construction work on the exterior.
We weren't able to take photographs inside, except for the foyer where we entered, which had some nutty weapon designs and a lot of dead, stuffed animals (there was even a narwhal horn on the wall of one of the staircases!).
Blair Atholl felt much more homey and like real people might actually reside inside the rooms. There was a wedding about to take place in the ballroom, but we made sure to grab lunch in their cafe, our second time to eat in a castle in two days (Husband tried haggis chips, which is as close as any of us got to haggis proper).

The grounds of the castle boasted beautiful gardens, and we wandered about before the rain threatened and we hopped back on the train.
 There was a statue of naked Hercules. I'm not sure why...this area was called the "Hercules Garden" though.
There were even swans, though they appeared to be bad parents (note the eggs decidedly not in the nest)!
Oh, and I can't forget the hairy coos.
A totally lovely place, made more lovely by the gorgeous country setting.

Day Six: Stirling

The train then took us on to Stirling Castle for the afternoon. I've thus far failed to mention how many hills we climbed on this vacation, but the hill leading up to Stirling Castle was by far the worst. I began to have flashbacks of our last trip with L and M. I'm beginning to think they're a sadistic couple who enjoy torturing me physically. But I think they're actually strapping young people who forget I belong on a Victorian fainting couch rather than tromping hither and thither. I would never make it as a soldier storming any kind of castle. 
Stirling Castle offered a more kid-friendly interior, with reenactors dressed in period costume performing speeches and taking questions. One of the reenactors stopped a tourist with purple hair and said, "You must be of royal blood," because royalty was denoted by the color purple. 
Royalty at Stirling was also weirdly into unicorns, so I'm convinced they must have been early-era Bronies
We got to sit in the "thrones" in the great hall (which once held an entire ship that was wheeled in for a coronation dinner). Those royals knew how to party hard. 
Husband got to do a little preaching.
And we wandered around the castle's nooks and crannies, enjoying our last full day together, stopping for a celebratory Cornetto to top off a wonderful trip. 
 Part of the castle was painted with this orange color. There was a reason for it, which I now forget, but I take it as further proof that royalty of Stirling was fabulous
 Creepy faux reenactors in the Great Kitchen. I half expected them to move when I turned my back. 
Nom. We had to have some, for Shaun and Ed. 
Oh, and M was totally EPIC.
We spent our last evening back at our favorite haunt, the Mercat, in their whisky bar area, putting to bed our Incredible Journey. We shared a taxi to the airport the next morning, flew to Heathrow together, and finally parted ways.

Until next time, my friends. Until next time. 


blind irish pirate said...

... Was Stirling where Mary Queen of Scots hung out? Help! I cannot remember!

KittyMarie said...

Yes, it was, BlindIrish! http://www.stirlingcastle.gov.uk/home/experience/courtlife/maryqueenofscots.htm