our first day, as we rushed to the castle, we went via a huge garden next to one of the main streets, which kind of cascades downwards, almost like a V-shaped space. There were lovely walkways and gardens for picnics and afternoon lazes, but in the old days, according to our guide, the space was a dark and eerie lake with all kinds of strange stories attached.
The castle itself is a fortress with a palace within. We went through the lovely rooms where the king and queen lived, the rooms where gatherings took place, the chapel, and the kitchens. Part of the castle has been turned into a museum, with lifelike models of the past: the kings, the queens, the working people, soldiers, children and scenarios from that era. It was beautifully done and I wish our museums in India were like that.
That evening, we went for a walk through the old town. Our guide was actually an actor and, dressed in a black cape and a black hat, he took us past interesting sights and enacted stories from those eras, complete with different voice tones and accents. This turned the whole evening into a gigantic tale – a fascinating way to learn some history.
TOSSING THE CABER
There was more history the next day, when we visited the Scone Palace, home of the family of the earl and countess of Mansfield for the past 400 years, and the place of Scottish coronations. The throne at Scone is really just a piece of stone, but a newly crowned king would al- ways walk down the aisle towards it in a ceremony attended by royals and nobles.
Later, we played highland games in the palace grounds: traditional games played by villagers, such as tossing the caber. The caber is a large 4-feet pole, which you have to pick up, spin around and toss, aiming to have it land on the ground in the 12 o’clock position. Then we played weight over the bar, swinging a block of wood and throwing it over a bar placed 15 feet behind us, and later we tossed gumboots into large tyres. Funny games, made funnier by the fact that we really couldn’t play them!
We also went for a safari – a drive in the mountains of Scotland. On our way up, we stopped at a military-looking camp for a lunch of soup and sandwiches, and then continued to the point we’d been aiming for – a lookout point reached by a short walk through some woods.
There was the most amazing view of the lakes below – it was just beautiful! We were 2,000 feet above sea level, and down below was a little village surrounded by green trees. Gorgeous! But by the time we had our phones out to shoot pictures, it was all gone. Fog had rolled in and the scenery vanished. That’s the Scottish climate for you – the