Scotland Road Trip - July 2018 - Final Day
Our last day on the road had arrived!
The two places we wanted to visit didn’t open until 10am, so we had a laid back start to our morning. Our first visit was to Tolquhom Castle (Historic Scotland), a just north of Aberdeen. It’s a little off the beaten path (my favourite kind of castle), and well worth a visit. The custodian on duty the day we visited was so lovely, and as there was only one other couple touring the site, the custodian walked up to the castle with us, giving us a fantastic introductory history of the castle.
The castle itself, pictured below, used to plastered and painted white, to micmic the French style at the time. Once he said this, I could very much picture it, but when you see a castle with just its bare bricks on display, I think there is this tendency to assume that it has always looked this way. The family, however, lost a lot of their money investing in the Darien scheme (Scotland’s colony efforts in Panama in 1690s) and were evicted from the castle, but not before force was used - the laird was shot in the leg! The Gordon family then bought the castle, and they subsequently removed the roof, leaving it open to the elements, to avoid paying tax on it. And aside from its missing roof, the castle is still very much intact, and with a little imagination you can really visualise it in its heyday!
Our final visit, before returning to Edinburgh, was to Haddo House (National Trust for Scotland). The only way to visit inside the house is on a guided tour, and we missed the tour by a just a few minutes, but by a stroke of luck there was a large Swedish family who had arrived in time for the scheduled tour, but were too many number to join, so they were going to run another tour half and hour later for them and we were allowed to join! If you get the opportunity, I would very much recommend taking the tour of Haddo House - it’s not dry in the least and filled with so many wonderful anecdotal stories, including about Queen Victoria, a friendly haunting, a very expensive makeover, and the Haddo babies born during WWII!