With Halloween happening on a weekday night this year, my friends and I had a bit of seasonal fun this weekend at this lovely place: Glamis Castle.
Glamis is my favourite castle hands down (and I have visited … many). It’s not just the Macbeth connection, or the connection with Queen Mother, or anything like that, it is because they (still privately owned by the Strathmores) really care about the place and about making visitors feel welcome. There is always something special about what they put on. And it is a community thing – the castle is staffed by locals who have been there for a long time, the guides have been there forever, the old castle kitchens (now the restaurant) uses local produce from the estate, etc. I seriously love visiting this place and try to do so at least once every year.
This year, the castle put on a Halloween event – A Halloween themed tour of the castle and they also made up a Macbeth inspired walk around the grounds that was fitted with sculptures and a light and sound installation.
One of my friends has problems with her eyesight at the moment and can’t really manage well in the dark. So, we decided to get there in the afternoon and walk around the castle gardens and woods first, while there was still daylight.
It was so much fun. The other friend who came was a bit sceptical at first because, well, how much fun can trees with lights really be, right? However, we spent nearly the whole walk laughing and being shocked by the sounds. At one point my sceptical friend found a big, bright red button in from of the witches sculpture – of course she pressed it! The thunder, lightning, and smoke that ensued set us jumping. One of us even lost her shoe! Seriously, we had so much fun.
After the woods, we joined the castle tour that we had booked. It was fab! They had dimmed the lights so the parts of the castle were completely dark, others just lit by candles. They decorated everything with gargoyles, skeletons, cob webs … and live actors dressed as ghosts, zombies, knights, witches…all turning up at random times to make you feel really, erm, uneasy.
(This photo was one I found on the Glamis Castle Facebook page.)
The tour told only of the castle’s ghosts and gory stories, and a little history. Not much history, tho, because this was a Halloween tour and there were kids present (who might have been bored). And still, we all learned something new.
At the end of the tour, I ended up as a tribute to the resident witches but managed to escape just in time to follow my friends to the old castle kitchens for homemade roast pumpkin soup and a well deserved and absolutely huge pot of tea.
So much fun.
On top of that, I picked up from the tour that there seems to be a connection between Glamis and Bonnie Dundee (Graham Claverhouse or Bloody Dundee) – who was the subject of Josephine Tey’s only (as far as I know) work of non-fiction (which is on my TBR). And because of how rabbit holes work, I now need to know what the connection is. (There is a portrait of Claverhouse in the portrait gallery at Glamis…)