Dunrobin Castle

DSCN1222.JPG

One of the most unique things we experienced on our trip was a falconry show at Dunrobin Castle. Grant drove us up along the coast of the Highlands on the A9 and we made several stops along the way including Dunrobin Castle. The castle has been home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th Century. The early castle has since been encapsulated and expanded to be what it is now. The castle sits high on top of a hill overlooking the North Sea and beautiful formal gardens inspired by the Palace of Versaille outside of Paris. We headed to the falconry show out on the castle lawns to see their professional falconer, Andy. Andy lives on site and trains with the birds daily. We had seen birds of prey demonstrations before at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston but they were nothing compared to the work Andy has done with the birds in Scotland. We saw hawks and falcons and had a Eurasian Eagle Owl graze the top of our hair with its wings. It was really incredible to actually feel the bird move the air around us. After the falconry show we walked around the gardens before heading inside. Grant opted out of the tour but Alex and I made our way through the countless rooms. Each one was lavishly decorated. Victorian life is very extravagant to me. They had a room for everything. I could imagine a dinner party in Dunrobin Castle being like a one stop progressive dinner. The castle really put a bad taste in my mouth after we went to see the site of some of the Highland clearances later that day but it was still very interesting to be able to compare Dunrobin to Edinburgh Castle and the way they differed in function and design.