Highland Living

Main Staircase laid with carpet in the Campbell of Cawdor Plaid. Firearms taken from defeated French invasion forces from 1797.

Are you one of those people (like me) who collects all of the Oscar winning movies from every year? If so, then you have Braveheart in your collection. And so it might follow that you have a little place in your heart for the Scottish moors, castle strongholds, and tartan plaids.

Scotland has a rich history full of legends and romance from the drama of MacBeth to Nessie to the enchanting castle keeps. I recently received a copy of the upcoming book Highland Living from Flammarion due out mid-February. The authors, Stephane Bern and Franck Ferrand, splendidly capture the heart of Scotland with their tales of the early clan chiefs on through to the most recent inhabitants of Cawdor Castle. It reads like an historic novel with all of the color and depth of an epic family chronicle.

But I have to say, my imagination was first captured when I opened the book and found page after page of brilliant photography by lifestyle photographer Guillaume de Laubier. You may be familiar with his work as it has been featured in Elle Decoration, Vogue, and A French Country Home (Flammarion, 2005). Castles and common dwellings, formal gardens and windswept moors, grand sittings rooms and cozy hunting lodges are all represented here in beautiful full page color.

Cawdor Castle

The stories and photos focus on the Scottish National treasure, Cawdor Castle and the lands surrounding. We get a insider's view of lifestyle and decor inside the castle walls and the other dwelling on the vast properties.

I am showing just a few of the photos that particularly caught my eye.

Main staircase with a group of monogrammed fire buckets.
The tale of Cawdor Castle is strewn with the personal remembrances of the current Dowager Countess of Cawdor, Angelika Cawdor. She has also written the Forward, in which she ponders the question: was Coco Channel inspired to design her famous logo after seeing the interlocking C's after visiting the Castle of Cawdor?

The Main Drawing Room of Cawdor

The Drawing room shows off the architectural volume common to 17th century architecture. But even in it's grand scale, there is a sense of comfort, even coziness here, I think.

Portrait Gallery

Pryse Campbell, the 17th Thane of Cawdor

Dining Room Mantle

Doorway leading to the Dining Room

Hallway at Cawdor

The keep at Cawdor was built between 1370 and 1380, maintained and owned by descendants of MacBeth himself. The castle has been open to visitors since 1976, but had been losing money until Angelika transformed it to what you see today. Now it is regarded as a fine cultural and heritage enterprise. As old as it is, it is no wonder there are legends of ghosts and spirits, all of which are written about in Highland Living. Wouldn't it be wonderful to sit in the castle restaurant and feel the presence of a Thane of days past sitting next to you?

The history of how the castle grew to it's present size and appearance is captured beautifully in this book, as well as the creation of the gardens and additions of surrounding properties which encompass 18,000 acres of forests. These forests are known as "the Big Wood" and look today almost "exactly as it did after the end of the last ice age", because of the guardianship of the family of Cawdor.

The tree house in The Big Wood

But the estate does not end there. The Cawdor estate covers 58,000 acres, over 90 square miles. A hunting lodge or two would of course be necessary.

Hunting Lodge Dining Room at Drynachan

I loved this photo of the Dining Room in the Hunting Lodge at Drynachan. Apparently guests at the lodge in the 19th century entertained themselves by decorating the walls, and it has stayed like this since. So very modern looking isn't it? The white walls with the river of local scenery washing across it is wonderful!

Sitting Room at the Hunting Lodge

This Hunting Lodge can be rented for Family vacations. Located in the heart of the Highlands, I am just dreaming of making that visit.

Desk at the Hunting Lodge

It would be the perfect place to tromp through the moors and discover ancient cottages.

Cottage roofed with Heather at Culloden

The moors at Drynachan

Highland Living is full of stories about Cawdor and the estate, but it also contains other fine jewels of information. At the end of the book, there is information about visiting Cawdor Castle as well as many other places of interest. There is a listing of the Best Hotels, Restaurants, and Bed and Breakfasts. There is also information on Shopping, Fishing, Golf, Riding and Shooting.

And I cannot forget the whole section on recipes served at the Castle, like Pheasant Curry, Cranachen, and Roast Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with Creme Anglaise. Top it off with Cawdor Elderflower Cordial.

Haggis, the traditional dish of the Highlands

So I hope you are curious and inclined to look into Highland Living. It is the perfect companion for taking tea by the fire and letting your imagination take flight.

Tea in the small Dining Room. Family Crest on the table linen.