Duffus Castle looms, majestic and huge against the skyline as you approach. It’s imposing and impressive… dramatic too…
Duffus Castle at Easter
On the day I visited – Easter Sunday – it was busy, really busy, and the air contained a mysterious hint of sulphur. This medieval fortress of the Moray family, one of Scotland’s most beautiful motte and bailey castles, had become a giant playground for the seasonal pastime of ‘egg rolling’.
They’re Not Daisies
You see those white bits in the grass in the photo above that look like daisies? Not daisies. Everywhere, the ground was strewn with smashed boiled eggs, as people, both old and young, hurled them with great gusto from the top of the ramparts.
I recall rolling eggs sedately down a gentle slope on Easter Sunday when I was a child. Then, once your egg was cracked, you peeled and ate it, despite the fact that the colour from your decorating efforts had soaked through the porous shell and onto the egg white.
No one was eating their eggs at Duffus Castle. The goal was definitely to throw them as far as possible. A bit like shot put. Or the Scottish sport of tossing the caber. And you know what? It wasn’t entirely unfitting. There was something medieval and combative about it. Risk was in the air and on the ground; you could be hit by, or step on, an eggy missile at any moment.
Down on the Moat Path
It was quieter on the moat-side walk, though one or two eggs had somehow found their way down there too. The path offered some of the prettiest views of the castle and the remains of its walls.
I tiptoed round shells, yolks and egg whites, inside the old keep too.
The Privy Chamber
As I look at the photo of the fallen privy chamber below, I am actually still thinking about the eggs. Who cleans them all up? There were large mounds of them, warming in the sun, at the foot of the ramparts. I imagine the circling seagulls swoop down and help themselves once the crowds have gone. But some poor person, presumably a member of Historic Scotland‘s staff, must be stuck with the task of clearing it all away properly? I hope they get given a large Easter egg to make up for it. Or perhaps a chocolate bunny would be less galling…
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SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!
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See the press release here
Read the article New Novel Highlights Roman History in North East from Grampian Online.
THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR
Taking place mainly in a fictional castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story. There’s 6 chapters of medieval Christmas too.
See the press release here
From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… and there’s chocolate!
See the publisher’s Press Release here
Review from the Historical Novel Society
82 Replies to “A Tentative Tiptoe Round Duffus Castle”
Beautiful scenery! I bet tge birds around the area love the free food come Easter time.
Yes, I hope that’s what happens, rather than it all being wasted.
I cannot help but think what a waste of all those eggs!
I hope the birds ate them.
It’s a great castle!
yea..it does look like that…Thank you for these beautiful pics…
One of my favourite castles – thanks for the photos. I love the way it tumbles down the mound.
It is amazing.
Looks incredible against that backdrop of the dramatic sky.
It is a most impressive structure.
It is 🙂
That sounds like a really fun tradition. I’m happy to say I visited Duffus a few weeks ago and all the eggs remnants were gone. 🙂 The birds must have been quite happy!
Oh, good 🙂
An interesting article and eggs too!
Glad you liked 🙂
I didn’t manage to see inside the walls the last time I was there.
I was shown through a gap across country that you can actually see Ben Nevis from there – on a good day.
It does have wonderful views.
Wow. Looks like an amazing place. Great pics and great post 🙂
Great subject 🙂
What a lovely looking castle, Ailish. I’ve never heard of the egg custom though – but it’s much healthier than the Cadbury chocolate egg hunts we’re bombarded with down here! As you say, it does seem to have a medieval feel about it too, dodging missiles thrown from the castle walls, so despite the detritus left over it can’t be all bad! 🙂
It was nice seeing families having fun together too.
So beautiful! Visiting Scotland is definitely on my bucket list. It seems to be rich with history and natural beauty.
Thanks for the follow! I enjoy your photos and posts!
You’re welcome 🙂
What a weird and wonderful tradition! I’m sure the wildlife will snap up the free food – lots of babies to feed at the moment
Yes, I think so.
Fun tale. Hope the egg picker upper does get his/her chocolate bunny.
I hope so too!
I’m sure the crows will soon arrive. They have a knack for spotting and knowing just where to find food.
you cracked a good blog there, no yoking 🙂
Great post. I remember we always ate our egg once it had cracked. We still go egg rolling at the shore but it’s more of a battle to see whose egg lasts the longest before falling to bits – then the gull have dinner.
Yes, those gulls are good at cleaning up 🙂
Such beautiful photos
Thank you 🙂
Mysterious sulfur smell
Eggs en masse 🙂
Thank you 🙂
Duffus Castle isn’t one I know…so many castles, so little time. I managed to escape egg throwing, or even rolling, this year…
Well done 🙂
A great post about Duffus Castle and sorry about the eggs, I did not participate. Instead I was at home, eating a chocolate egg.
I loved the post and the photos were intriguing
I’m so glad!
Thanks for the very interesting post. As a child, I remember rolling my easter egg down a hill on a freezing day in SW Scotland. We also painted them with faces as well – the reason is now lost in the mists of my memory.
I think we sometimes put faces on them too.
Good morning. The thoughts you had about cleaning up were running through my mind also. The fact is the smell would be strong in the warmth (though it’s probably not quite as warm there as would be here at Easter) and the bugs would also be attracted. That and as you said the possibility of someone getting hurt.
Enjoy your holiday. I’m sure you’ll be posting some lovely pictures as always.
Thank you Gracie; I will try to post some pics 🙂
Beautiful pictures! I was a tad envious. 🙂 Been studying Viking history and these pictures stir a lot of interesting story plots. Enjoyed your whimsical stroll and pondering s. Thank you for sharing.
I’m glad you liked it 🙂
Lol when I played Sims Medieval, characters could throw eggs at those who were sent to the stocks. What people did with the eggs on your trip sounds like an interesting take on Easter eggs!
It was quite a spectacle!
That sounds like fun! Rolling Easter eggs down hills is a thing here in Lancashire as well, but it’s one of those traditions that seem to exist in some parts of the UK but not others. Lovely castle.
It is an impressive castle.
That’s beautiful. How can I get there?
It’s just a few miles from Elgin. Head for Hopeman and you’ll see signposts, and then you’ll see the castle!
Oh! So it’s only by driving? No bus or train?
There could be a bus from Elgin but definitely no train as it’s quite rural.
Ah, okay. Thanks so much! I’d love to go there.
From where I sit, castles are the best, and any castle is worth investigating!
Many thanks to you, for following my blog.
I am very appreciative of that, believe me. :0
Best wishes, Pete.
I totally agree about the castles 🙂 And, you’re welcome!
We used to do this here every year when I was little. Best fun ever!
Great post! I hadn’t heard of the egg rolling Easter tradition before. It sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing. Lovely photos too! I loved my visit to Scotland a few years ago, but I didn’t make it to Duffus Castle.
It was an interesting experience, and beautiful castle.
Wonderful, amazing, photos! And a great narration, too!
“There was something medieval and combative about it. Risk was in the air and on the ground; you could be hit by, or step on, an eggy missile at any moment.”
This had me folded up, laughing
I’m glad you liked
An egg-sighting castle adventure.
This is one place I have been. I was told that on a good day you can see Ben Nevis overland. I thought I could.
I’m not sure about that. It does have great views though.
Don’t spoil my dream 😉
Supposed to have been a Murray stronghold?
Before my time.
I’m glad you like them.
Most definitely. Well captured, beautiful flowers.
Great review and nice snapshots. Noted for when I decide to head that way. I love the landscape scenery there; dramatic. I just love old castles. Keep up the great blogging work.
It’s a great place to visit!