Sadly, my current blog has reached its full quota in space so I am unable to post pics! I’ve decided instead to simply write up the journey and add pics when I post to facebook or twitter.
This morning I enjoyed a leisurely start in my huge apartment in Falkland before going down to the restaurant for a sturdy Scottish breakfast minus haggis and beans (for a change). Now you’d think that would set me up for the day but think again.
By 10am I met up with my two Mancunian friends (Liverpool is close enough, surely). We sipped our coffee and I negotiated the unsteady territory of Paula’s accent and speed of speech. 30 mins later we were joined by Meg Minick who lives in Falkland, and who could provide many little snippets about the Outlander portions filmed in the locale. I believe I have become multilingual if only in accents.
After some rib-crushing farewells we parted company: two to the distant south, one to work in St Andrews and me to my ongoing holiday (shrieks of cackling laughter).
I paid for the house and garden ticket to view the gothic- looking Falkland palace. Up two flights of curling staircase each room boasted an elderly warden who spoke enthusiastically about the room and items in their charge. It is a palace still in the list of royal residences – and has a long and colourful history going back to er, late 14th century/early 15th. Once more Mary Queen of Scots apparently spent time there, and various of her forebears. It was under the care of Keepers for much of its life. Cromwell did some major damage to it, and its ruins were renovated – at least in the front – by the fabulously rich Earl of Bute in late Victorian times. It has the only royal catholic chapel among all the residences of the Queen.
I enjoyed the stories, tried to hold the thread of the kings and queens in chronological order in my head (and failed) and stumbled out into the gardens for fresh air.
Which reminds me: when the girls arrived yesterday they sat on the chair outside Falkland church waiting for me. (Prepare yourselves for a ghost story!) After an hour a portly woman with dog collar on and holding a set of keys came out of the church and introduced herself. Spookily neither can remember her name. She invited them inside but they declined, so she left by way of the gate, locking it behind her. Half an hour later a man in comfortable clothes clutching his own keys stepped through the gate muttering that he liked it left open. When told that the vicar had shut it behind her, he said, astonished, “What vicar?” He knew of no such woman!
Jamie may not be the only ghost in the square.
I had another cup of tea and put the direction to my B&B in Loch Lomond into Apple maps. A mere 1.5 hours later I pulled in to a tiny village called Gartocharn – and had to back track a little way to the Schoolhouse I’d passed. Here – despite the drizzle that has fallen constantly since I arrived- I am installed in a comfy room with ensuite for two nights and couldn’t be happier. I’ve rested, brushed myself down, and gone out in the car to find a restaurant. 15 mins away there was one and I ate a delicious teriyaki salmon on bed of lettuce with the obligatory side of chips.
Home again I’m sitting in bed watching the rain come down over fields beside me.
Until tomorrow then…