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Monday, 29 June 2015


We left Blair Atholl at 9 this morning for Glamis. The drive was just over an hour, through highly cultivated agricultural country. 

There is a long entrance drive to the castle.
Sir John Lyon was made Thane of Glamis (rhymes with harms) in 1372 by Robert II, first of the Stewart Kings, and the Castle has been the residence of the Earls of Strathmore for 18 generations. It was remodelled in the 17th century. It was, of course, the birthplace of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother, and where she and the then Duke of York spent their honeymoon.

Our prime interest at Glamis was the significant needlework collection - and in particular the Queen Mother's Suite, with its embroidered bed hangings and cover. The bed hangings were made over a hundred years ago by Cecilia, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, but the original bedcover was lost. 

Phillipa Turnbull was commissioned to work a replica to replace the cover for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday. The replacement now adorns the bed and its quality and fame insured our priveledged treatment at the castle.

Phillipa is clearly well-known and welcome here. We were not only granted private access to the rooms on display, but allowed to take photographs for our own study. We were very conscious of the privelige.
I do not have permission to publish my photos, so will not be posting them. Suffice it to say, we were all really pleased to view, on the inside of the bed head, the original thistle and rose design we have been working over the last 10 days. The texture of the silk makes a difference to shine and colour - a whole new dimension.

There are many other pieces of embroidery done by women in the household - including really wonderful wall hangings. There are numerous tapestries and some beautifully embroidered costumes. It was extraordinary to be viewing these with Phillipa (and a highly knowledgable young guide) and be able to see them at close quarters.

We were able to also go on a scheduled guided tour, and many did. I chose to sit for a while and take in the surroundings, visit the highland cattle and walk around the exterior of the house.

There is a cafe, a restaurant and a very good gift shop.
We finally left about 2.30 pm and drove back to Edinburgh, catching glimpses of Edinburgh Castle through the streets and alleys.
We had our final dinner at the Scran & Scallie Bistro. The meals were generous.
The Champagne Jelly and sorbet was great. No one ordered game after the warning on the menu!
I feel as if I am left with the 'lurk in the bar' from the menu. Wi-fi is not working in my room, so I am writing this in the bar - without however, the wee dram!

This has been a great trip. The women participating have been terrific companions, the teaching excellent and I've learned heaps. Very satisfying and a lot of fun.


  1. What a privilege to get such a behind the scenes look at this place. I've enjoyed your menus too. My 3great grandfather, Rev Magnus Jackson was one of the clergy of Nottingham Cathedral in the late 18th century. Processing this wonderful embroidery trip will take some time, I expect.

  2. I'll also say that while the rest of the blog has left me with intense missing-the-UK, the food has not!

    1. I should perhaps have overcome my aversion to writing about food. The food has been much better than I had expected. There have been some great meals. There was too much last night. Most people on my table chose fish and chips as a farewell to England.

    2. Yes, I wish I could continue with the embroidery pieces while here, but they require a good hoop and better conditions that I have from a small suitcase. I will need to wait until I'm home.

  3. I don't know, Glamis looks pretty dour to me! But the meal looks convivial.

    The menu is pretty thick! I can feel a Scottish accent overtaking me... LOL, looks fun!