|Cawdor Castle gardens: photo credit of Casa Coniglio|
I admit it. I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to travel. As much as I love to see places that are beautiful or interesting, I love it even more when I can visit a place with a great back-story.
So the year we went to Scotland, it was almost preordained that we’d visit Cawdor Castle. Cawdor Castle was the fictional home of Macbeth. I always loved that play – the drama, the guilt, and the eventual victory of good over evil. (I like it so much, there’s actually a small Macbeth reference in my last book, The Witch of Bloor Street!)
Truth and history sometimes collide. Reading the guidebooks before we left, I knew that it was impossible that Macbeth had ever actually lived there, but in my imagination anything is possible. And Shakespeare had written his play based on the belief that Macbeth was the Thane of Cawdor.
So it was with a mix of reality and fantasy that we stopped at the castle that warm August day.
Now the only problem with romantic ideals is that it’s sometimes difficult to impose them on the rest of your family. (Remember what happened when we visited the Temple of Artemis?) The girls were ten and seven when we travelled to Scotland and, sadly, wouldn’t have cared if Lady Macbeth herself had greeted us at the drawbridge. A less interested family would have been difficult to find. And, to be fair, how would most seven-year-olds respond to, “This castle wasn’t the home of a play you’ve never seen”?
That’s why I was so thankful for the gardens at Cawdor. It seemed almost impossible that a greying castle in northern Scotland could be backed by three such lovely gardens. The oldest, the Walled Garden, dates back to 1620 and includes orchards, vegetable gardens, and a holly maze. The Wild Garden is a collection of bushes and woodland, and includes five nature trails. And the Flower Garden, which was envisioned in 1710 by the real thane of Cawdor, bursts with colour.
|Photo credit Casa Coniglio|
|Photo credit Cawdor Castle|
Shakespeare wrote of the castle: “the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses”. The history may be wrong, but the inspiration is completely right.
|Playing in the garden, happy at last.|