Skip to content


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:

  1. What it feels like to inherit a castle in Scotland
  2. My epic life
  3. My Hysteria grandiflora is coming along nicely

On wildlife and the natural world:

  1. Burst cushions and breakfast assassins
  2. Autumn beech woods
  3. The Tuesday tree: the forest floor

On the Scottish Highlands and islands:

  1. Blue hills and orange sheep: the Highlands in full colour
  2. Wi’ a hundred pipers an a’, an a’..
  3. Skye

On motherhood:

  1. What are little boys made of?
  2. You know that dreaded question at parties…?
  3. The long-term effects of childbirth on the emotions

On whatever takes my fancy:

  1. Art and mythology: The lure of the liminal
  2. Recovery from brain injury: Something on my mind
  3. Blogging, maps and global connections: Hello, World!, 'about' 2013

36 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 4:27 pm

    Welcome to blog-displacement and the distinctive placing of word and image; well done x

  2. dancingbeastie permalink
    September 1, 2009 6:04 pm

    inspired by yours, I may say! 🙂

  3. March 24, 2010 5:00 pm

    how Fortuitous to have found your blog in turn! I’m greatly enjoying my perusing of your posts. Truly fascinating!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      March 24, 2010 5:24 pm

      Welcome, and thank you for your visit!

  4. January 8, 2011 3:50 pm

    Love your photos, and your blog, and I really hope you don’t mind that I put your orange sheep photo up on my Facebook page (with Dancing Beastie’s name by it). If you look at my website you’ll see I have a bit of a thing about sheep.
    I look forward to reading more, and seeing more glorious photos.
    Thanks for amusing me today!

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      January 9, 2011 11:39 pm

      Thank you. I like your sheep too! Funnily enough, the orange sheep post has been one my most popular. Not sure what that says about us all….

  5. February 22, 2011 4:26 pm

    You live in a castle? How cool is that? Sounds wonderful.

  6. March 3, 2011 10:10 pm

    Dancing and beasties, trees and paintings of hares… This is surely a blog after my own heart. Looking forward to exploring it further. xxx

  7. dancingbeastie permalink*
    March 3, 2011 11:07 pm

    Thank you very much for visiting. I hope you will find a little more that appeals…

  8. Julia permalink
    March 18, 2011 7:50 am

    I love your blogs! Pictures are worth a thousand words, yet I love your view on life and nature. I have been noticing the trees that surround me. Our trees fail to compare to your part of the world.
    I am coming to Scotland from the US (state of Georgia) in September 2011. Can you recommend a B&B in your vicinity? Would I be able to meet you and see some of your scenery?
    It’s okay if you want to remain hidden. Just keep posting the lovely pics and stories.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 20, 2011 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Julia. Let me think about that. September should be a nice month to visit Scotland; but come prepared for any kind of weather – even warm!

  9. Kathryn Whitley-Jordan permalink
    June 22, 2011 6:35 pm

    Lovely blog!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      June 22, 2011 7:18 pm

      Thank you very much, it’s nice of you to say so!

  10. hmunro permalink
    October 9, 2011 1:34 am

    Helllloooo, Dancing Beastie! As one of my favorite bloggers, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! (

    No need to follow the instructions to a tee … the honor is yours, regardless. Keep writing; someone in Minnesota is hanging on your every word. xoxo

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 6:59 pm

      How did I miss seeing this? Thank you so much, Heather. Someone else has kindly nominated me for the same award recently, so I really must get my act together and do something about it… 🙂

  11. aubrey permalink
    January 14, 2012 6:34 am

    Just by looking the tags here I get the feeling that it is ancient and delicious here – I’ll be returning!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      January 14, 2012 7:00 pm

      Personally I am neither particularly ancient nor delicious, but there is plenty around here that is both. 😉 I’ll be happy to show you!

  12. March 12, 2012 9:48 am

    What a fabulous blog, and some really lovely photos too.

    Great to see you last week when we passed through… thanks for the tea and biscuits!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      March 12, 2012 8:38 pm

      Thank you so much, Robin. I am very flattered that you should have had a look at Dancing Beastie.

      It was good to see you in ‘real life’ too!

  13. September 25, 2013 9:50 pm

    What a treat it is to have stumbled upon your blog !

  14. January 19, 2014 5:20 pm

    Just wanted to say….I absolutely love your blog. I started following about a month ago, and I’ve been trying to catch up…Your writing style is fantastic, the pictures are beautiful, and the subject matter perfect! You even inspired me to start blogging! Thanks so much!

    • January 20, 2014 3:33 pm

      This is lovely to hear, especially that it has inspired you to have a go yourself. Thank you very much, and all the best.

  15. karinvandenbergh permalink
    February 2, 2014 8:49 pm

    Lovely blog! So glad to have found it (just today through Andrea’s Stephenson’s post)
    Never visited Scotland but I’ve always had a crush for it..its landscape, its people, its music and cultural heritage On my wish-list of traveling places!
    Absolutely love the topics of your blog. Looking forward in connecting.

    • February 4, 2014 11:40 pm

      Thank you very much, Karin, and welcome! Here is a little piece of Scotland on the internet, for you to visit any time you like. 🙂

  16. March 2, 2014 1:45 am

    Hello! I hope you don’t mind….I recommended Dancing Beastie in my new post 🙂

  17. June 9, 2014 6:02 am

    I know that you have a lot more than 200 followers, but I still nominated you for a liebster award. I wanted to recognize you! Details are on my latest post 🙂

  18. June 9, 2014 5:36 pm

    I love your blog! Especially your photos of the magical outdoors around you. I look forward to seeing/reading more!

  19. Catherine Cooke permalink
    August 5, 2014 12:15 am

    I enjoy your blog and always look forward to new entries. Mary Oliver is very nourishing.Many poems are definitely prayers. Catherine

    • September 26, 2014 4:16 pm

      Thank you for letting me know that you enjoy the blog, Catherine. Feedback is greatly appreciated – and you are just right about Mary Oliver’s poems being prayers. I hadn’t quite recognised that until you said it.

  20. annasota permalink
    September 26, 2014 12:53 pm

    All I wanted was a recipe for the giant puffball magically growing in my back yard, and perhaps crystal-clear identification for the poisonous mushroom phobic in me….

    And here was your blog, so delightfully resonating with me that 45 minutes later, with dawn stretching toward the horizon and my work day soon to begin, I am still scrolling through the most tantalizing of your posts. Thank you so much for the time and effort that thoughtful writing requires. I’ll be back.

    • September 26, 2014 4:19 pm

      Oh, what a lovely thing to read! Thanks so much, I’m thrilled that you have been led astray by Dancing Beastie. 😉 It is such a pleasure to find a kindred spirit across the blogosphere. I hope I didn’t make you late for work though…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: