Fresh from our team visit to Scotland, I'm delighted to write about the historical and charming Traquair, and share with you some of the things I have learned.
On our arrival to Traquair, our very friendly tour driver, told us a very interesting story about the Bear Gates of Traquair. These gates have been closed since the 18th century, when the "Young Pretender", Charles Edward Stewart passed through the gates on his departure from the house. The 5th Earl swore that they would not be opened until a Stuart was once again on the throne in Scotland, and the gates have remained closed ever since.
I was amazed at all the history and surprises that Traquair has to offer its visitors. It the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland, "an authentic piece of living history."
Once we step inside, it is very much like going back to the past. You have paintings, books, furniture, and other items that are literally centuries old.
We were fortunate to meet Catherine Stuart (the owner) and Sarah MacDonald, who gave us a guided tour of the house. Every single room had something different and amazing to offer.
One of the most amazing rooms at Traquair, is the Museum Room. It contains several items used by the family throughout the years. One of the most amazing items in the Museum Room, in my opinion, is a hand written copy of the Bible. Yes, a hand-written copy of the Bible. How amazing is that? I can only imagine the amount of time it took to complete the work. It makes you wonder about everything that happened within those walls, the differences in the lifestyles experienced by those that lived in centuries past.
There are two Library Rooms at Traquair, with a collection of books numbering about 3,000. They have remained intact since the library was first formed, and as the house has not been bought or sold since 1941, few papers have ever been thrown away.
We also visited the Priest's Room, another one of Traquair's attractions. It has its very own secret passage, which I made sure to use when leaving the room. The passage was made in a very clever way - well hidden and so narrow, that soldiers would not be able to draw their swords if they discovered it and attempted to access the room through it.
Outside, there is a beautiful garden, which is often used for weddings. There is also a maze that can be seen from some of the rooms. I was very tempted to try my luck, but there just wasn't enough time.
There is also a lovely Chapel at Traquair, and it is occupied with a lovely aroma coming from their very own brewery. There are two full-time brewers, brewing twice a week, and their ale is exported all over the world. The ale may be sampled everyday. What more could you ask for?
Although we were there for only a brief moment, It left a lasting impression and a strong desire to return, as no one can actually explore and absorb all that Traquair has to offer in just a couple of hours. There is too much to see and learn about. Over 900 years of history.
I look forward to the day I return.