Day Sixty Two

Another day, another castle.
This time, we are off to the Falkland Palace and Garden in the
village of Falkland. It was favourite retreat of the Stuart dynasty and
a former residence of Queen Mary, Queen of Scots. It has very
fetching round stone turrets and is a fine example of renaissance
architecture dating back to 1501. It even has a tennis court, built in
1539 which is still in use for tournaments today.
With all this castle visiting, I am getting a taste for what I would
fancy in a castle…. should I have one. Turrets are a must as is a
stunning garden.
The castle itself is lovely, if simple, by some of the grander
standards. As always with these formal homes, the joy seems to lie
in the gardens. In this respect, this castle holds true with a formal
garden of summer flowers in a walled garden with lovely thick grass,
old, old trees, and an orchard groaning with the beginnings of
autumn fruits – apples and pears of many varieties. The orchard has
been retained as an area of native grasses to preserve and promote
animal and insect. habitat. It’s working, we see many bees, hear
many happy birds and see evidence of burrows, but no furry things.
Best of all, we get to see a huge, and I mean HUGE bumble bee go
into her nest, a small hole, no large that she was wide, in the ground
under a tree. I also get right on top of a gorgeous butterfly with
chocolate, orange and purple wings as he suns himself on the grass.
He’s patient enough to let me photograph him quite a few times
from as close as an inch away. Score!
We have lunch after the castle visit, and are then at a bit of a loss as
to what to do next. Our plans for Edinburgh accommodation have
fallen through, the festival and Tattoo have put paid to anything
nearby. In the end we decide to extend our stay in Markinch and
train into the city, some 38 miles away. Better that than miss it
altogether.
That sorted, we take off for a random drive and end up at Leven
beach. One of the few sandy beaches around, this one goes for
miles and forms part of the Fife Coastal Track. We read for a while
and people/dog watch…lots of greyhounds here and many Scotty
dogs. They are sometimes called lurches here – the greyhounds…
not the Scotty dogs. We also go for a walk and spot five white
swans in the bay, and many of those gulls on steroids. Huge birds
that do an uncanny impression of Hitchcock’s “Bird’s” soundtrack.
Quite eerie.
Edinburgh tomorrow. That will be interesting, after our country
adventures.

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