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Thursday, 24 July 2008

Trip to Glamis Castle

Wednesday the 23rd of July,and i'm going on a bus trip to Glamis Castle and the Caithness Glass visitors centre at Crieff.

I hope the NCCPG don't mind me using their logo,it is the local branch who have organised the outing.Anyone interested in joining the local group can log on to their website at

It's a guided tour of the grounds and gardens of Glamis Castle.

We set off from Dashwood Square in Newton Stewart at 06.30,picking up other trippers en route,the last stop being Tesco's in Dumfries.Fourteen in todays party.
The weather was in our favour,and we were soon on the M74 heading north.

A break was taken at Hamilton services,and while some took advantage of liquid refreshments...

...i took pictures.First of our bus...

...then a few trucks.
Once we're back on the road,we skirt Glasgow,head up the M80 past Stirling with lovely views of the Castle,then on to Perth.
Now i'm in my element.I know quite a bit of Perthshire from my childhood and teenage years,and although i've been back fleetingly it's great to see familiar names again.

Arriving at 11.30 we get our first view of the castle.

Our trip organiser soon has everything in order and we begin our tour.The head gardener is away on holiday,and one of his assistants is taking us.She's a nice young lady who's name eludes me.

Our tour guide volunteers to take group photos for us.

There are a number of ghost stories associated with Glamis.Click on this picture for a larger view (I promise it's not doctored) and look at the small window to the right behind the clock.Eerie!

We begin walking around the front lawn.I wont be giving a history lesson on this blog,this is a photographic blog.Anyone wanting to know more can visit

Visited by Mary Queen of Scots in 1562 and being the late Queen Mothers home this really is a magnificent building.

As we're moving around they're are plenty of informative notices and plaques.

And we see that this the Great Sundial erected in 1671,was used as a means to set the clocks in the castle.It stands at 21ft high.

Heading on we pass this spreading tree.It's got to be a chestnut hasn't it.Does it remind certain readers of another similar tree elsewhere?

Now we're in the Italian Gardens,where after a brief introduction by the guide the group are free to look around.

I think this is a hover fly rather than a bee.

Having had a good look round the Italian Garden we move on.
Here we see a private walkway to the castle.
Outside sits a distinguished looking gentleman with long white hair tied in a pony tail and a bushy white moustache.Fear of privacy laws stops me from uploading the 'zoomed in' picture.Who fits the description?Possibly an Italian Marchese?

Now heading for the Pinetum,which i've found out is pronounced (pī-nē'təm)pie-knee-tum which puts that question to rest.

The inscription on this memorial reads
'In Memory of Her Royal Highness-The Princess Margaret-Countess of Snowdon-Born 1930-Died 2002.She was born at Glamis Castle'.

Now over the Glamis burn we're in the Pinetum.All the trees next to the path are identified.This picture shows how a branch from one tree has melded with the adjoining tree.

There are trees of all shapes and sizes, many from the Americas,including Douglas Firs and the Giant Redwood.

Now emerging from the Pinetum,we stop on the wooden bridge crossing the Water of Dean.

Wonderful wrought iron fencing sets off this giant thistle...

...and the entrance to the walled garden...
The walled garden, used since 1866 to produce fruit and vegetables for the castle fell into disuse in the 1990s but restoration work is now taking place to return it to its former glory.

...empty at the moment.A small exhibition details it's history and future plans.

Now we're on the way back towards the castle...

...and again cross the Water of Dean.This time by an old stone bridge.

And we're now at the rear of the castle...

...where the restaurant and shops are...

...and where i purchased the above delicacies.

Looks like this chap was ready for his cuppa.

It's our turn now,and what a picnic this turned out to be.Such a variety of sandwiches,pastas,sausage rolls,salads,fruit,snacks,cakes and more.Fruit juices and other drinks.Definitely fit for a king.Our hostess has excelled.
Well fed and watered and with time moving on we're heading for the castle guided tour.
Only time for the first two rooms of the tour.

No photographs allowed inside,so this and the following photo are courtesy of Glamis Castle.
The dining room.A short introduction by the guide and we were allowed to look around.The walls and ceilings are covered in frescoes and paintings some dating back about 600 years or more.Lots are family portraits.Not a smudge on the highly polished table or the silver cutlery.

Time pressing we moved on quickly to the 'Crypt'.
This was used by the servants,and there's a scary story associated with this room.
This from Cruachan.
There is said to be a secret chamber hidden within the deep walls of the crypt. One of the many legends tells about a resident, the first Lord of Glamis, Patric and a visitor named Old Beardy were gambling one night late into the Sabbath. Although a servant warned them of the time, and that they must not play beyond the stroke of midnight, they claimed they would play until eternity if they so chose.
A stranger appeared right at midnight and engaged them in another game. The friends began to argue during this game, causing such a commotion the servant went to discover what had happened. Upon opening the door, the servant found the room encircled in flames, with the two sinners still playing and arguing in the middle. The stranger disappeared, but it was known by all that Satan had condemned the sinners to gamble until eternity. The room eventually had to be sealed. To this day, visitors to the crypt claim to see the card game re-enacted at the witching hour on the Sabbath by the ghosts of the two gamblers.

Too quickly our short castle tour is over and we're heading back to the bus.

We do get a look at the sealed up room from the outside though.

Back on the bus and we're heading for Crieff.
The time schedule has to be kept,otherwise our driver will run out of time and we'll be stranded somewhere.As it happened traffic was light and we made good time,so there wasn't a problem.

Now we're at the Highland Drovers visitors centre...

...and i get my picture taken.

Some wonderful pieces were on show in the Caithness Glass shop.
I think quite a few of the group made purchases.

I wandered off to take these pictures over the road.

After a browse round the other shops,time was now on our side and we could relax and converse at the cafeterias outdoor area.Our thoughtful hostess brought out food still left from the picnic to have with our beverages.A lovely end to the day's activities.
The bus ride home went well,our driver was on top form at all times.
Back at Newton Stewart my travelling companion graciously dropped me off on my street.
Thanks to the organisers for a really memorable day.


  1. That looked like a wonderful day out.

  2. It was for me Jayne,I think a few of the members of the NCCPG were dissappointed that the walled garden was empty but i'm sure most enjoyed the day.


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