Seasonal living in a Scottish castle.
My husband’s family have lived in this castle on the edge of the Highlands for about four centuries. The current generation took it on only about a decade ago, so we are still getting the hang of it.
On the family crest there is a gryphon rampant (i.e. on his hind legs, waving his front paws in the air) who has always been known in the family as the ‘dancing beastie’. We love living among the many ‘beasties’ in this beautiful corner of rural Scotland: our neighbours include deer and osprey, red squirrels and wild salmon, otters and pine marten. And we enjoy the ‘dancing’ part as well, whether it be an informal ceilidh with friends or the full pomp of a white-tie Highland ball. So ‘Dancing Beastie’ seemed as good a name as any for this blog.
What prompted me to start writing was the curiosity shown by friends about what life is really like in an ancestral castle. I thought it would be fun to share some of the more surreal and old-fashioned aspects. However, I soon realised that it would be hard to give much detail without compromising the privacy of my family and friends. While I do write a bit about this tweedy-tartany side of life when I can, then, it tends to be the ‘beasties’ and the natural world which figure most prominently. Not least because I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and I am happy to show you something of the woods, the hills, the daily encounters with wild creatures which make life here so special.
A few other random topics sneak in from time to time too. I’m a full time mum and chatelaine (great word!) but once upon a time I worked in the ‘real world’; and before that I did a doctorate in history. The historian bit still comes in useful when I am acting as a tour guide here at Castle Beastie (sometimes I wonder if it’s the reason my husband married me). So I write about motherhood and family life, for example; art and architecture; history and ‘her’story. Then there’s the Tree posts, which have become a bit of an institution at Dancing Beastie. (We have some pretty awesome trees here. No, really.)
Hope you enjoy it, anyway, and thanks for looking.
*All words and images copyright Dancing Beastie unless otherwise stated.*
Some Favourite Dances
Wondering where to look? For a taste of ‘Dancing Beastie’, may I suggest the following posts. (Remember that you can also click on any subject in the tag cloud – that’s where it says ‘It’s all about’ at the top right of the page – to find further entries.)
On life in a castle:
- What it feels like to inherit a castle in Scotland
- My epic life
- My Hysteria grandiflora is coming along nicely
On wildlife and the natural world:
On the Scottish Highlands and islands:
- What are little boys made of?
- You know that dreaded question at parties…?
- The long-term effects of childbirth on the emotions
On whatever takes my fancy:
- Art and mythology: The lure of the liminal
- Recovery from brain injury: Something on my mind
- Family life and traditions: Immortal memories: just an ordinary Burns’ Night