You may recall that at the beginning of October, the day before I was supposed to fly home originally, Lindsay and I took a drive through the Moors and over the Lecht. On our way, we took a little detour off our route to visit Abernethy Kirkyard so I could take some photographs of his 3rd great grandparents’ headstones.
While we were there we noticed that Castle Roy was accessible for the first time in years and so we headed up the small hill to take a look. They were hosting a special ‘Open Days’ event sponsored by the Highland Archaeology Festival and offering the opportunity to buy a ‘Square Yard’ of the castle as a fundraising effort to continue the preservation of one of Scotland’s oldest castles built around 1210!
We walked around the castle with Richard Eccles and he told us all about their efforts and the progress they’ve made so far. To be supportive of their efforts I bought a ‘square yard’ in the ‘Laird’s Lodge’ (the corner of the castle shown below) and was consequently dubbed ‘Lady Claudia!’
We had a lot of fun with Richard and even ‘hammed’ it up for a photo opp depicting that he was ‘twisting my arm’ and his assistant was prying the money out of my wallet.
After I purchased the square yard within a room with a view (and also quite conveniently located near the ‘loo’) I noticed raffle tickets sitting on the table. I inquired what the prizes for the raffle were.
They told me what the various prizes were and that the grand prize was for a Rare Malt Whiskey-Tamdhu, from the 1971 special Macphails’ Collection.
“Ooooh! I really like Scottish whisky, especially a well-aged one. I’ll buy a couple of tickets; one for me and one for Lindsay, please.”
We went on our way and didn’t give it another thought. About a week or so later, while I was visiting Pat & Ian in Dingwall and on my way to Applecross, I got an email from Richard Eccles, requesting that ‘Lady Claudia’ should contact him at her earliest convenience! When I replied, he informed me that I held the winning ticket for the 1st prize – that bottle of whisky worth over $800.00!!!! Wowsers!
Richard subsequently sent me a copy of the newspaper and a clipping from the 7th page where the winner announcement was published! (below)
I love whisky and was ever-so-tempted to open it up and try it, but I think I’ll keep it on the shelf as an investment (for a little while at least!)
There’s even more to the story however…
When I talked to Richard he asked me if I have any connections to Nethybridge or Castle Roy and I explained to him that I do have ancestors in nearby villages, but my cousin Lindsay has a lot of ancestors buried in the kirkyard at the foot of the hill where Castle Roy sits.
He thought that was pretty cool.
Just recently I visited the small village of Dunkeld with Pat and ‘her girls’ and you might recall that I came across a chest tomb with a stone knight atop that turned out to be one of my ancestors, Alexander Stewart, ‘The Wolf of Badenoch’ – my 18th great grandfather! Well….
When I got back from the trip with Pat, I was looking up information about Alexander and enjoying looking at my beautiful bottle of whisky which had arrived in the post while I was galavanting about when I discovered yet another fantastic connection!
It turned out that ‘The Wolf’ owned Castle Roy in 1381 (among several other castles)! This is getting more interesting at every turn. It seems really appropriate now that I chose the square yard in Castle Roy which was located within the Laird’s Lodge and was consequently dubbed ‘Lady Claudia!’
If that wasn’t enough to convince me that this whisky was indeed special for me in particular, another point of interest suddenly dawned on me as I stood there admiring the beautiful honey color of the whisky – this was bottled in 1971 – the year I graduated from Los Alamitos High School, 45 years ago! (Eeegads, has it been that long already?!?)
I’m beginning to believe ‘it was meant to be’ that I am now the proud owner of this rare malt whisky in oh-so-many ways! And yes, I do expect you to curtsey to me from this point forward! 🙂