Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cortachy Castle

Come with me on a sneaky little tour through the Cortachy Estate. I'm not sure if I was meant to gain access to the grounds, but some careless aristocrat or his minion left the gate open......
What's a nosy guy supposed to do?

The castle is about 5 miles north of Kirriemuir in Angus.
Impressive little Gatehouse. It was a pretty dreich day, not the best for photos, but you'll get the idea.

The River South Esk runs through the Estate.... nice for a spot of salmon fishing for the Earls guests..... hope none of them fall in and drown.

As you can see the river was quite high with all the recent snow melt.

Not all that often that you see whitewashed Castles.

There's a nice little gory legend attached to the castle.....

....Lets face it, what sort of castle worth it's salt doesn't.

You'll find the legend described in full below....

I was tempted to try the door handle, but thought I'd mebbe not push my luck....

These places tend to have big dogs.....

Here's a rough guide to the history of the place...

Cortachy Castle

Cortachy Castle is a large baronial manor built around a 15th century stronghold and is the hereditary seat of the Earls of Airlie. The lands were granted to Sir Walter Ogilvy by King James II in 1473 which is probably when the construction of this castle began, though there had been a an earlier castle of the Stewart Earls of Strathearn dating from 1330 on the site previously. During the 17th century the castle was severely damaged, first by Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyll when he attacked it in 1641, then Cromwell burnt it down in 1651 because Ogilvy had given shelter to King Charles II there. Argyll had also destroyed the earls other castles of Airlie and Forther in 1640 which gave rise to the song "The Bonny House of Airlie". During the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745 the Ogilvy's supported the Stuart monarchy again and had the castle, estates and titles seized by the Crown. The castle was eventually returned to the family before 1815 and the Earldom by 1826. During the remainder of the 19th century the castle was heavily renovated.

Cortachy Castle and the Ogilvy family are haunted by a drummer boy who was reputedly thrown to his death from the highest tower by one of the Earls. It is uncertain which Earl of Airlie or indeed which century the legend pertains too, but the Earl in question killed the boy for either feeding information to his enemies or for having an affair with his wife, or perhaps both. The last words the drummer boy said were a curse on the family. Since then the ghostly sounds of drumming have been an omen of impending death.

There is a story that the drummer was heard by a Miss Dalrymple in December 1844 whist staying at Cortachy Castle. She had the story explained to her by a nervous Earl and Lady Airlie, emphasizing that the last time it was heard, a Lady Airlie had died. Miss Dalrymple fled the castle after hearing it a second time and Lady Airlie commited suicide within six months. If this is correct the experience would have happened during the time of David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie (1785-1849).

A second account has the drumming foretell the death of David Ogilvy, 9th Earl of Airlie. The drummer was supposed to have been heard on 19 August 1849 by an Englishman visiting the castle. The 9th Earl died the following day and was succeeded by his son David Graham Drummond Ogilvy.

David Graham Drummond Ogilvy, 10th Earl of Airlie is said to have had his own death announced by the drummer which was supposedly heard by both Lady Dalkeith and Lady Skelmersdale one hour before he passed away in 1881.

There are various descriptions of exactly how the drummer boy was dispatched. My favourite was that he was crammed inside his drum and the drum was thrown from the tower......nice way to go!

As I was leaving, I swear I heard the sound of drumming........ !

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Monday, 19 April 2010

Arbroath cowers beneath the foreboding clouds of volcanic ash...... no, not really.

But you could have been forgiven for putting two and two together and getting five this afternoon.

There were certainly some curious cloud formations above me as I drove from Montrose down to Arbroath this afternoon

I saw in the news today that the Royal Navy has been dispatched to pick up stranded Brits abroad...... The Dunkirk Spirit eh?
This does however leave one wondering exactly what it is the Royal Navy gets up to when there are no Brits stranded on a beach somewhere.

It also makes one wonder whether the Navy would have been dispatched in such a gung ho manner to the resounding applause of David Cameron and his cronies if there wasn't a General Election in the offing......
Or am I just being cynical (as usual)

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Saturday, 17 April 2010

Many of Horror

How good is this?........

Many of Horror

You say "I love you, boy"
I know you lie
I trust you all the same
I don't know why

'Cos when my back is turned
My bruises shine
Our broken fairytale
So hard to hide

I still believe
It's you and me to the end of time

When we collide we come together
If we don't we'll always be apart
I'll take a bruise, I know you're worth it
When you hit me, hit me hard

Sitting in a wishing hall
Hoping it stays right
Feet cast in solid stone
I got Gilligan's eyes

I still believe
It's you and me to the end of time

When we collide we come together
If we don't we'll always be apart
I'll take a bruise, I know you're worth it
When you hit me, hit me hard

'Cos you said our love
Is letting us go, guess what
Our future is for
Many of horror
Our future's for
Many of horror

I still believe
It's you and me to the end of time

When we collide we come together
If we don't we'll always be apart
I'll take a bruise, I know you're worth it
When you hit me, hit me hard

Biffy Clyro 2010

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Sunsets, Orang Utans and Kit Kats

Skyline over Forfar from my bedroom window this evening.

And seeing as you're here.......

Next time you think about buying anything made by Nestle......

From Greenpeace's website:

'Nestlé, maker of Kit Kat, uses palm oil from companies that are trashing Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orang-utans towards extinction.
We all deserve to have a break - but having one shouldn't involve taking a bite out of Indonesia's precious rainforests. We're asking Nestlé to give rainforests and orang-utans a break and stop buying palm oil from destroyed forests.'

Check out this vid, it lasts about 59 secs:

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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Heart of Darkness

Aware that I run the risk of being labelled as a grumpy old Luddite, I nevertheless feel compelled to express my serious concern regarding light bulbs.

Wtf is going on?.......

What's this all about?

Now I'm as green as the next guy.... but I have my limits.
I went into the kitchen tonight and switched the lights!
Ok....into the cupboard for a replacement..... and this was all I could find. A poor excuse for a lighting source if ever I saw one. All the radiance of a single match.
My entire house is now populated by these monstrosities, skulking in the darkness with their sad attempts at illuminating the shadowy corners.

Taking into account my crap vision under normal circumstances, these really aren't helping matters.
I used to be able to read in my house......sadly a thing of the past after the hours of darkness now.
I'm seriously considering investing in one of those miners lamps you wear on your head..... and that's just for going to the loo. I've taken to peeing in the bath to make sure I don't miss!

......and they call this progress?... pah!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Arvo Part

I went you Tube searching for this piece of music... It's Arvo Part's Spiegel Im Spiegel, a piece of music which sends shivers down my spine.
Part wrote this piece in 1978. He was born in Estonia but moved to Austria and ultimately Germany. He was responsible for the style of music he called Tintinnabuli.

"Tintinnabuli is the mathematically exact connection from one line to another.....tintinnabuli is the rule where the melody and the accompaniment [accompanying voice] one. One plus one, it is one - it is not two. This is the secret of this technique." - from a conversation between Arvo Pärt and Antony Pitts recorded for BBC Radio 3 at the Royal Academy of Music in London on 29 March 2000, as printed in the liner notes of the Naxos Records release of Passio.

During the hunt I came across several pretty picture videos which were ok...... you know... just ok.
Now I'm no big fan of ballet or 'the dance'.... can't really make head nor tail of it, if I'm honest. But I liked this. If you have 5 minutes to spare, fill your brain with this... and let me know what you think.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Dunnottar Castle

Largely due to a lack of decent current pics and also as a special treat for someone I know who loves this place, I decided to post another series of pics of Dunnottar Castle. The top two were taken by me last June. The others I nicked from the web.

I've never seen the castle in snow.....I toyed with the idea a couple of times this year, but the snow was just too bloody deep! The path leading down to the Castle is bad enough in summer.

I liked this painting with rainbow by W.H. Paton (1828-1895). Do you think it was really there or was it artistic licence?.....

.... and this is simply gorgeous.

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Thursday, 1 April 2010

Robin Fulton

Reaching Helmsdale

If it weren't for
this red tweed jacket
I bought in Brora
I might well wonder
if we'd ever gone
north of Inverness.

We shouldn't need proof
but do, it not being
normal to crowd in
so many slow years
to three or four hours
cuffed by a sea-wind

and buffeted by
non-highland music
from the Highland Games
up on Castle Park
(now called Cowper Park
– no-one can say why).

We'd come a long way
to look at gravestones:
we could read father
was 'devoted' while
mother was 'beloved'.
Weren't both 'beloved'?

Wandering I saw
Andrew Rutherford
had four doctorates
(honorary) chipped
on his stone. And Nan
MacLeod my once fierce

maths teacher, mother's
best friend and bête noire,
had an out-of-place
middle name: Percy.
Her mother Lizzie
sat by a peat fire

trapped and arthritic.
Unmoving the stones
turn their backs on us.
Blind they look through us.
This brash easterly
from the Moray Firth

is not going to stop:
the longer it comes
to blow in my mind
the harder it will
tug at my coat-sleeves
my hair my eyelids.

Robin Fulton 1937 -

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