Musings on m
y life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Scotland III: Lochs and Glens

We didn't go far out of town, but one of the beauties of Scotland is that from the major cities you can be away from the city and into rural countryside in a matter of minutes. Callander/Killin used to be one of my favorite "get away from it all" spots when I was working in Scotland and living with the family in Glasgow, and - thanks to the glorious weather (we're still marvelling at the 50+-degree temperatures and true sunshine that we had for 95% of our visit!) and a cousin with a car, we had a magical day out on this trip, including not only a quick stop by my former haunts, but also getting to see a couple of the minor lochs, a very castle-y castle and a celebrity Highland Cow - all within an hour's drive of central Glasgow. Bliss.

Loch Earn

Even in the depths of midwinter, the countryside is staggeringly beautiful. FWIW, this was about 3pm - may have been warm, but the sun still goes down early in the frozen north....

Doune Castle

Edinburgh Castle is a sight well worth seeing, but its military history tends to overshadow its sense of having been a place of residence. Doune, on the other hand, looks and feels like you expect a castle to look and feel - it's easy to imagine people living in it, something emphasised by the "mod cons" design features it had built into it! No doubt that it was still windy, damp and cold, but it offered private privies for the nobility attached to each state bedroom and in small "aristo only" cubbies off the great hall, serving hatches from the kitchens into the halls to keep the food moving smoothly, and an early kind of central heating through clever hearth and flue placement heating upstairs rooms with the fires in the kitchens.. It looks like it was quite a practical and pleasant place to live by Medieval standards.

Sharp-eyed readers may notice something else about Doune: it was the castle used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In fact, Terry Jones narrates the castle's audio-tour guide and, if you're remotely familiar with the film, it's impossible not to walk through without lines from it leaping into your head as soon as you see the reality of the location!

Serving hatches to allow the cooks to hand off the food to the servants to take upstairs. If I'm not mistaken, the reverse of this shot is where they filmed the "Just a little bit of peril!" scene.

While we didn't get as far as water-logged Perthshire, there was still some flooding in Callander.

Didn't stop us from taking in the view and enjoying a supper from the (very good!) chippy in town. Not sure our daughter has quite connected with (understatement) the iconic status of the British chippy, but she did at least give them a try, even if she balked at trying the deep-fried steak-pie she was offered.........

And what trip to Callander would be complete without a quick visit to local celebrity Hamish the Highland Coo?


Beach Bum said...

I loved castle Doune! It was my favourite castle in Scotland, and I saw a few. I have a picture of my cousin standing in the kitchen oven; impressive.

MG said...

Isn't it fantastic? We were really glad to see it - neither Bill nor I had ever been there, but Bill's cousin took us. Very glad he did! Was a wonderful day out, especially since I got a glimpse of my old haunt Killin. Love it there.