When I temporarily had blue hair! Selfies by me.
My hair nearly matched the cup. Photo by Raven Photo by Raven, edits by me.
Photo by Raven. Looking at the historic kitchen was interesting. All those copper pots and pans! It’s intriguing to see what utensils they had then compared to now – some things I have no idea what their purpose is, some things that haven’t changed much, and some things that seem obvious by their absence. What was even more interesting is that one of the last things you go through in the castle, once you’ve been through the historic kitchen, is the modern kitchen – presumably for when there are private functions (I’m going to guess Lady Cawdor doesn’t let hundreds of visitors walk through the same kitchen her dinner is cooked in each night!). I really like the recessed windows from an aesthetic perspective – I’m guessing they are small and in such deep alcoves because the kitchen is in the basement, and the castle needs really thick, sturdy walls at that level to hold up everything that is above it, especially as it was defensive. Small windows means less of a void in the wall, and less of a space someone could climb in through – however, wide alcoves means more light as light can enter the room from a variety of angles in relation to the window. Modern Kitchen at Cawdor Castle, photo by RavenPhoto by Raven. Click to expandIn front of historic kitchen windowThe comparison between the two definitely makes you think about how much the functional aspects of the castle have changed, and the expected requirements for a kitchen. As an architectural technologist, and one that would like to work on residential properties, things like the types of room that have been used for kitchens over the centuries is something that interests me – for example, the historic kitchen is long and linear, almost in a basement, and with the well in the room, (Not visible in the photograph, Raven would have had his back to it when he took this picture) whereas the modern kitchen is in a much squarer room, and a storey up from this kitchen (I think? It’s hard to judge when the various phases of the building aren’t all on the same set of levels) – both rooms are relatively bright, with lots of white, but the modern kitchen seems much airier, even though it has dark wooden panelling – perhaps because the ceilings are much higher (high enough to be out of shot!). It’s also interesting to note the HUGE copper canopy for the extract fans in the modern kitchen – no such thing centuries back, so it would have been much steamier to work in! Raven’s really into cooking, so I think he also found the two kitchens quite interesting.Maze with minotaur (left) and castle (right). Photograph by Raven.There’s a hedge maze (or labyrinth?) at Cawdor, but when we were there, it was closed to visitors because the roots of the shrubbery needed to recover from repetitive trampling. However, it was visible from outside, as was the mythologically suitable minotaur in the centre!Formal gardens, before their peak, in a cloudy moment. Photo by Raven.
After we looked around the castle as much as we could, we then went out to the grounds. Last time I went to Cawdor Castle gardens, we walked mostly through the woodland walk area and didn’t go through all of the gardens, but this time we went to the gardens. In the Highlands, early May is more springtime than summer, so the gardens aren’t as green and luscious as they probably are in later months. I should probably actually go there around this time of year to best appreciate the gardens! That’s not to say that there wasn’t greenery – as there was, it’s just that the trees, hedges and shrubbery weren’t at their maximum foliage. The weather was quite bright – not hot, but warm enough that a lacy shrug was enough to keep away the chill. However, it was definitely bright enough for sunglasses and parasol (well, to me at least, but I think I have a low tolerance for bright light.) for most of the day. There were cloudier moments, too, but when the sun came out again it was really quite bright.Spherical fountain, photograph by Raven. As mentioned before, there were several spherical garden statues/fountains at the ground. A really interesting one was made of shards of stacked glass, but I lost the photographs I took of that. The stone sphere fountain in the photograph was made by a Japanese sculptor, and there was a matching crescent moon shaped statue – I think the fountain represents the sun. It’s an interesting mixture of modern art and a historical castle and grounds. I think the natural stones helps keep the fountain fitting to the site. Pond opposite ticket booth/entrance. Photograph by RavenCawdor Castle has two main areas of laid out gardens, and then plenty of grounds, wooded and more pastoral, beyond that. There is a lovely pond near the drive and ticket booth, which Raven photographed. It looked most picturesque, a wonderful capture of springtime, especially with all the white tree blossoms. There are more ponds in the woodland area, but I didn’t go there that time – they are also very pretty, especially when viewed from the wooden bridges. Photograph by Raven, edits/filters by me.The last photo from the Castle is me sitting at a small picnic table near the ticket booth, I think having just finished a carton of apple juice or something, and discussing with Raven what the rest of our plans would be. For some reason, sitting there was probably the thing that stuck most clearly in my head. I think it was because I looked up at the new leaves on the tree above me, and the sun, which was quite bright, was glowing through them, so they seemed so incredibly vibrant, almost glass-like. It was later in the afternoon by that point, as we had spent a good few hours at Cawdor Castle, and I tweaked the colours in the photograph just a little to try and best capture what the light felt like when I was there. Sometimes you have to bend reality a little to capture what something feels like. Raven and I together, phone pic by me. As far as birthdays go, I think last year’s was one of the best. Sometimes a trip out is better than a party (especially if you’re more introverted like me. I end up poking my phone at my own parties because I get ‘peopled out’!). Going to Cawdor castle was Raven’s treat, so I’m very thankful to him for taking me (even over a year on!). He took me out to dinner, too (which, just before, is when I took the selfie of us together – hence the different makeup and outfit). Raven is very much the romantic, and I’m eternally grateful to him for all these years together – as well as Birthday trips out! Also, this blog would be much less aesthetically pleasing without his photographic talent! Not just this specific entry (which would just be a big wall of text about how much I like Cawdor Castle otherwise), but in general – he’s taken so many of the photographs of me for this blog over the years, and they’re always really flattering. I don’t look half as good in my own selfies – let alone real life – as I do in Raven’s pictures of me. He’s got a knack for composition and posing that does well to minimise my many physical flaws and highlight my better features (so, less turkey neck, more cheekbones) and even manages to take pretty pictures of me when I’m not trying to pose (those probably turn out better; I pose awkwardly when I know I’m being photographed)