That’s the earthen floor of the medieval great hall at Drum Castle.
I love it.
So I took it!
From Chapter 3 of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR:
Bessie had shown me the great hall, a huge room that put one in mind of a church. Sunlight fell through twelve windows, making narrow shapes on the earthen floor of that place…
I did rather fill up my writer’s swag bag at Drum. Below is a beautiful bedpost…
“It’s beautiful, Thomas,” I said, walking into the room and running my hands up and down the dark smooth wood of the bedposts which were swirled with infinite oak leaves.
I don’t have a good picture of the dungeon there, though I pilfered that too. It’s a terrible place with a narrow stairway leading down, down, down into the dank. However, bats were roosting in it the last couple of times I visited the castle, and they’re a protected species so it was absolutely forbidden to disturb them. Which was quite a relief really… but here is a pictorial quote from the book:
And into the swagbag goes… a forest view from a high window at Crathes Castle.
From Chapter 38:
I sat up on my seat by the three thin windows and watched the first golden shafts of morning light creep over the tops of the trees in the forest.
From beautiful Craigievar I took the secret stairway that runs from top to bottom of the castle, strictly no photos allowed inside…
From Chapter 28:
We were in another passage, small and stony and grey, and after a short way it led to a narrow stairwell that was not lit by torches and sconces like the big one, but dark and shadowy and hidden. Secret. Indeed safe. For now.
Castle Fraser gave me it’s triangular peep-hole and ‘Laird’s Lug’.
From Chapter 28:
I told the Laird, and he took his turn at the peephole and gave the scene a long assessing look. “It is a pity there is so much noise tonight; we could have made out their words otherwise, the walls of the lug are thinned in places and shaped to augment speech made in the hall.”
I think that’s enough of my rampant thievery for one post – there may be others – so I’ll leave you with this recent review of the book from Terry Tyler, a brilliant writer herself. Actually – I can’t help myself – I’ll just steal a quote from that too:
Ailish Sinclair’s portrayal of 16th century, wild rural Scotland is quite magical. On one recent evening I was curled up in bed, head on cushions and lights dimmed, and I found that I was revelling in every description of the countryside, the day-to-day life at the castle (particularly the Christmas revellry; this made me long to be in the book myself!), the suggestion of ancient spirituality, and the hopes and dreams of the characters. Suddenly I realised that I’d gone from thinking ‘yes, this is a pleasant enough, easy-read’ to ‘I’m loving this’.
And here’s a wee picture of my recently arrived author copies, or swag bags, if you will. Buy your own here on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.
Keep up with all my news by signing up to the mailing list. It’s occasional and always contains some exclusive photos.