Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Castle Mey

By Claire
Leaving John o' Groats, we drove 6 miles to the Queen Mother's home, Castle Mey. It is in a beautiful setting, overlooking the North Sea with farm land and stone walls stretching as far as the eye can see.

View from Castle Mey

The Queen Mother, who died in 2002 at the age of 101, bought this castle after her husband died in 1952. She was grief stricken and wanted a place out of the public eye. She had friends in the area and while visiting, found this derelict castle. She decided to renovate and 3 years later began spending her summers here for the rest of her life.

This painting is on the wall of one of the rooms in the castle. What a beauty! She was just 24.

This is the Queen Mother in the garden at Castle Mey. Would you believe this is a photo I took of a picture on one of our tickets?

There was a guide in every room, including the housekeeper who had worked there for years, who greeted us in the foyer. Each room was cozy and comfortable and rather worn. She didn't believe in replacing anything until it was thoroughly worn out. An item on exhibit in the foyer was a blue coat and hat that she bought when she began visiting the castle and used it there for the next 50 years whenever she visited for the summer! It was a fun visit on our way to our next campground.

Continuing on from the castle, we stopped at a sign for the "Clearance Village" in Badbea. This is a place where tenant farmers went after they were thrown off the land. The laird figured out that he could make more money raising sheep and didn't need them to work the land. Records show that they lived here beginning in 1793. They settled in this windswept place with dangerous winds and cliffs. The story goes that people had to tether their cattle, hens and even their children to stop them from being blown over the cliffs. Some of the men became fishermen, a dangerous occupation for people used to living inland. It was difficult to farm this infertile, hostile land and some of them left for New Zealand.

This is the only remaining house in the village.

Landscape of the village

We saw these strange flowers in Orkney.

We finally rolled in to Dingwall Camping and Caravanning. It's nice and quiet and there are lots of trees and bunnies. We'll only be here one night and then we're off to the Isle of Skye.

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. ~ Mark Twain quotes


Yankee Peddler Bookshop said...

What a lovely day! So happy to keep hearing about your adventures.

punkingee said...

We saw those "cotton flowers" when we were in Iceland, as well as northern Scotland. They grow in boggy areas, as I remember.