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Claypotts Castle
Glamis Castle
Stanley Mills


May 15

The sunny weather is over. Rain today. Gray misty cold rain. Breakfast was a cold, continental affair. It was ok, but on one of these gray days, having a hot breakfast would have been nice.

We drove down to the Dundee Harbor to see the Unicorn and Discovery -- ships docked as floating museums at quayside. The Unicorn is a frigate, and one of the oldest wooden boats afloat. But it has been shorn of its masts and "rebuilt" as a blocky research ship and Mark didn't even take a picture of it. We walked a bit further down to see the Discovery, but it is associated with the arctic exploration museum, which doesn't open for another hour and a half. I thought it would be an interesting visit -- documenting the various trips that people have made to the arctic, but we passed on waiting in the rain since Mark just wanted to get out of Dundee.

We took about six u-turns to find Claypotts Castle, which sits in a residential area. We got stuck a bit in the many roundabouts on the way out of town and were feeling a bit of déjà vu as we kept passing the same streets over and over, but we eventually zipped out of town to Glamis Castle.

The Queen is not in residence. of course

It was still pouring buckets when we got the Glamis (glah-ms), and we ducked inside just in time to make the next tour. The tour wasn't as enthusiastic as our tour at Duns yesterday, but it the scenery is far grander. The castle is huge and built around the core of the original tower house. The tour winds around the public spaces of the castle, through dining halls and galleries filled with antiques and portraits. The grounds of the castle are very pretty, but it's still raining hard enough that no one is going outside to enjoy them. Hmph. We retreated to the café for lunch and had Forfar Bridies, the local specialty -- meat pasties, really, with brown gravy and veg. Quite tasty and warm.

One of the newest Historic Scotland sites is a retired cotton mill, Stanley Mills. The entire mill structure -- warehouses, factory buildings, sluices and water wheels were in use up to the middle of the last century and a huge restoration project converted many of the old buildings into flats and offices, and Historic Scotland was able to recreate the fabric of the place with two warehouses full of machinery, displays, and interactive exhibits about the woolen and cotton mills. They made cigarette tapes here (used by the machines that rolled cigarettes) and various bands and belts for large machinery, among other things. Mark loved it - machines to run and water wheels to play with. IT was interesting to see the bits and pieces of the mill that remain and try to imagine the work here -- hot, dusty, dangerous, noisy. Video and audio from workers here at the mill paint a very vivid picture.

Surrendering to the rain

At this point, the day is gray, it's raining and windy, and we just bagged it for the day. (Well, we did drive around bit looking for some other castles, but the rain is hard enough that don’t' want to take the camera out). We did stop and hike down to see the waterfall near Rumbling Bridge on the way into town for our hotel in Dunkeld. We're staying at the Royal Dunkeld Inn, an old coaching inn. It's small, and rather tatty, but in a comfortable homey sort of way. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming. They managed to squeeze us in to a tiny, tiny room, but the bed is comfortable, the heater works well, and we're ready for a quiet evening in.

We ate in the hotel's highly rated restaurant (well, we ate in the bar, as the seating in the restaurant was full, but the menu is the same). Mark had garlic-lime-chili sea bass and I had simple fish and chips, but everything was extraordinarily tasty and washed down with pints of Guinness. There is a wedding gin the hotel tomorrow - we sat in the bar with the family as they tried to plan out their schedule for the day and compared notes on the bride and groom.

It was still raining enthusiastically outside, although Mark did take a brisk walk after dinner while I napped. He came back and we lounged about. Mark was paging through the phone book -- three pages of FARMERS, a coupe of pages of hairdressers, and the rather odd discovery that the local legal firm advertises on the side of the rescue helicopter. They sponsor it, so their name is emblazoned on the side. That seems a bit…forward, if you ask me!