April 2008 Archives
Just back from a lovely week at Gargunnock House, a Landmark Trust house near Stirling, and the 4th of our biennial Landmark Trust trips. The party as ever consisted of the Burdens, Goddards and Bassetts, plus Landmark virgins the Baines and Cecilia.
The house was of course glorious, dated back to around C15, but mostly C17/18, with huge rooms connected in weird and wonderful ways. A huge dining room which easily sat the 17 of us (Alex stayed at a B&B), a salon with piano reputedly played by Chopin, a drawing room, a small library and more and more.
The grounds were lovely, and we all watched the young lambs play in the field across the filled-in ha ha. I don't think any of us had seen the way that the lambs teamed up to play of their own, almost daring themselves to do things. The daffodils were out, and the extensive rhodedenron just coming into flower - a week later and the garden would have been perfect. The Gardener himself was really friendly, Colin and I had a long chat with him in the now almost empty walled garden.
The whole area was stunnning, the Gargunnouck and Touch hills rising in a steep escarpment to the south, and to the north fine views of the mountains, and to the east Stirling castle sat high on its crag and tail. The area in between was almost completely flat - the Carst - it was only drained in the last century.
The week went something like:
Friday - arrive, pizzas
Saturday - walk below the escarpment to see a waterfall and get our bearings, nice shop in Gargunnock village
Sunday - Stirling Castle, its amazing Hall and taperstries, Nick found an Action Man shop
Monday - Lock Katrin and a 2 hour cycle, a lovely place and fine views of Ben Lui that Nick and I climbed a few years agio, glorious weather
Tuesday - Torrential rain for a trip to the Falkirk Wheel and Falkirk. I managed to find a counter-culture Cybercafe to catch up on email
Wednesday - Did Ben Vorlich, a wonderful Munroe, and still with snow on the top which gave a steep and serious summit, and a fun descent. We even saw an artic hare running across the snowfield. From the summit the whole of the northern horizon was snow-capped peaks.
Thursday - Took Ruth and Kirsten to Go Ape with NIck, Marie and Rellie. Great fun.
Friday - pack and home via the Pineapple House
In the evening we managed to squeeze in games of Warhammer (which the boys Chris, Cameron and Ollie played the whole time), Wings of War, and Risk (which Jo won).
A great week, which went faster than any previous Landmark, and it looks like Saddell in Kintyre for 2010!
Flickrstream (i.e. more photos) available