Caitlin Castle

Caitlin Castle

A sketch of Caitlin Castle in the highlands of Scotland, one of the places in The World o’Tales, book four of the Storyteller’s Quest.

Caitlin Castle

Caitlin Castle was situated in the Scottish Highlands just above the northern shores of Loch Caitlin, one of the larger and more mysterious lochs in Scotland. On one of those typical days when the weather was constantly changing with bouts of rain and racing clouds and gusts of wind chasing slanting rays of sunlight across the hillsides, the colour of the loch could shift from slate grey, to deep shades of green and back to a mixture of blues and grays. Local people called Caitlin a castle, but it was more like a rambling manor with no pretension to hold off invading hoards or defend the surrounding countryside. Step by step, its owners had increased their ambitions for the building, adding a high observation tower, a new wing for important guests with a startling dome window in the roof, a fair-sized church and finally a large hall that doubled up for banquets and balls, not to mention diverse outbuildings for farming, livestock, gardening, vehicles and outdoor sports. Time and poor money management had finally got the better of the owners’ ambitions bringing about a steady decline of Caitlin Castle until it tottered on the brink of ruins. It was then that Professor Rafter had acquired the property at a bargain price. Local people whispered that he was mad and the whole place would likely fall around his ears, Mr. Peters, the Professor’s manager, had told them, but the Professor saw immense potential in both the place and its buildings. He was always one to invest in a future others could not see.

Perched on the hills above the town of Caitlinston, Caitlin Castle looked south across the loch, away towards the Grampians and the capital beyond. There were little or no trees in the hills around Caitlin Castle. Instead the heights were covered with short grass and heather in summer, dotted with groups of grazing sheep. Here and there streams flowed cold, and deep between the tuffs of grass and bare stones. Wild animals had scant cover in the area, but Mrs. Allison, the wife of the former caretaker of Caitlin Castle, told them that the lack of hunting on the extensive castle grounds in recent times had led to a progressive increase in the game. Deer and stags would even venture up to the castle outbuildings when no one was in sight.

The above is an adapted extract from The World o’Tales.

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