Cawdor Castle is located 10 miles east of Inverness. Unlike many of the Scottish castles, Cawdor is not a ruin, but is lived in and also open to tours so that you can walk through the owner’s living room, bedroom, etc. The Castle sits in the midst of wonderfully colorful gardens (with an emphasis on blue and purple flowers – at least that’s the way it seems).
Funny thing about Cawdor. Many people visit it because Shakespeare mentioned the Thane of Cawdor in MacBeth, so a lot of people think of it as MacBeth’s Castle and like to think they’re walking where Macbeth walked. One problem – the real MacBeth lived back in the 1000s, Shakespeare’s book is fictionalized. And, Cawdor Castle wasn’t built until around 1450 (though some parts of it may have been constructed as early as the 1300s). So, technically the castle has nothing to do with Shakespeare or the real MacBeth.
The other thing about Cawdor castle is the legend of the donkey and a tree. The first Thane of Cawdor way back when – had a castle, but not a glorious castle. One night he had a dream that he should put a load of gold on a donkey’s back and let him go. Wherever the donkey went, that’s where the new castle should be built. Well, the donkey wandered around and then went to sleep under a tree. Thus, the castle was built around the tree – which is still in a basement room (though it is a very dead tree – having been dead 600 years or more). But some people think the castle was built around the tree for other reasons – such as superstition or religion
The sad thing about the beautiful Castle Cawdor is the story behind it. For 600 years, the castle has been in the Campbell family. The present Earl of Cawdor: Colin is the 7th Earl and 25th Thane. The last Earl was someone who drank a lot and had violent tendencies. And he set up an explosive situation by not leaving his castle to his level-headed and stable son (and the rightful heir), but rather to his second wife. The son has developed the land, but the five children of the last earl are angry that they lost the castle itself. Just put in the names on the web or read the books (available in your local library) and you can read about the story behind the story.
So, enough about that – just goes to show that what looks beautiful and inviting on the outside can be very messed up underneath.
(By the way, I talked about MY castle early on. If you work with me – this is Randi’s castle.)