Our first castle hunting expedition as a family was spontaneous. This is incontrovertible evidence that we’re ready to explore Scotland with a baby on our hip without it being stressful. (First-time parent predicaments.)
I live in the middle of a city. I had forgotten how quiet the world is. When we stepped out of the car, the silence greeted me as an old friend and said, “Remember?” Remember that green things rest in silence and bloom as slowly as the day is long. Remember that when a bird sings, it’s not to disrupt the silence but to enter into its breathings.
The mountains that bordered the sky sat calmly, dignified in their blue sweaters, and the air watched everything with an introverted twinkle in its eye. The fact that a castle waited behind the hill, turreted and real as the wet dirt, felt fitting, despite the other fact that in my mind this kind of castle only exists in fairy tales.
Silence makes anything seem possible.
Even though Castle Fraser withstood a siege from an army that the city of Aberdeen fell to, in the calm sunlight it felt more like a castle in which Prince Humperdink might try to wed Princess Buttercup. It had rich carpets, victorian beds, spy holes onto the great hall, and a myriad of windowed enclaves that would be perfect reading nooks. Tyler enjoyed the library with its collection of aging books. I liked the excitement of all the staircases that spiraled up towers with such tight energy they had to be leading to wonder. Ambrose liked the chandelier in the great hall.
I wore the baby and he behaved like a champ. The silence outside must have inspired him, for he was silent and staring the whole time. Except in the library. He does have a penchant for shouting happily in libraries.
Castle Fraser: A z-plan castle. Construction began in 1575 and was finished in 1636. Evidence suggests that there was a 15th century tower that it was built around. A lot of reworking was done in the Victorian Era so the interior smacks of posh 1800s aristocracy.
When inside you almost think yourself in a small cottage on account of the thick walls and the small rooms. It is only the string of room after room that proves you are in a castle. (Cameras not allowed inside.) I want to pitch a tent on the platform of the tower and spend nights up there watching the stars sink behind the mountains. The view up there quieted both me and Tyler.