Invited by a writer friend to attend the first ever “Crime at the Castle” event in Glamis Castle, Angus Scotland, I was intrigued. Little did I know said friend would be picking me up at 07.00am to head first to Granite Noir in Aberdeen where we enjoyed the chat sessions of Matt Wesolowski and Michael J Malone.
My friend, Susan, is a confident driver and I am a confident passenger, so off we went like Thelma and Louise. Closest we got to veering off a cliff was trying to escape the poorly design NCP car park in Aberdeen city centre. Seriously tight. I swear she closed her eyes and just wished us out of there. I was too busy holding my breath and trying to fold myself into a brace position.
Anyways, back to “Crime at the Castle”. The event was initiated by another of our writer friends, Wendy H Jones, herself a crime writer. She obviously pulled in favours and managed to attract a robust team of sleutherly folk as guest speakers and facilitators:
Val McDermid Chris Brookmyre Caro Ramsey Caroline Dunford Sandra Ireland Chris Longmuir Denise Mina Douglas Skelton Frank Muir Craig Robertson Jackie Mclean Alex Gray Lin Anderson Michael J Malone Shona MacLean
We stayed over at Kirriemuir. Ashamed to say I had never heard of the place and was bemused by the Peter Pan references cropping up. With Wendy having organised the Castle event I thought she might have strategically placed Peter Pan statues and memorabilia around the quaint streets just to get us in Fairy Tale mode. Kirriemuir’s most famous son was the author JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan.(I got educated whilst I was there, I also now know that a “thrum” is a small window).
So, Saturday morning having had a good sleep and belly full of scampi and chips from the bar, we set off for the Castle. It was a cold but bright day and we were well impressed at the grounds, especially the long tree lined drive up to the castle. I felt the urge to give a cheeky “royal wave” Seemed appropriate. Not man nor beast in sight though so no-one to appreciate the gesture.
The day was amazing. We only got to hear four of the speakers, (you choose that in advance) so even if they keep the same cast we can return over the next couple of years and hear the others in rotation.
The actual castle was magnificent if cold, Lots of nooks and crannies to hide your granny. We sneaked around a bit and ventured beyond boundaries until we got caught. The castle is said to be haunted and from the outside there is a window that can’t be found on the inside. Apparently some dudes are in there playing cards, and having sold their soul to the Devil (as you do) they are trapped there for eternity.
The lunch was delicious, a proper posh affair. Cheek of beef if you will.
The entire staff were so enthusiastic and helpful, especially Tommy, who at first I though was a plant with his exquisite attire, (an actor planted to perform rather than the big leafy kind) Harris tweed three piece suits apparently keep the wearer warm as toast. Pauline, was cosied up in her sensible gear and was so lovely when I took a coughing fit at the last speaker event. She kindly let me defrost in the staff room where she kept me company and amused with her banter.
If you are thinking of going next year, I’ll be in the car park with a VW camper van selling thermal blankets, mitts and hot soup. Castles are COLD.