With the lower angle of the sun as autumn advances, this can, on a sunny afternoon, be the ideal time to visit Craigievar, where artificial lighting was never installed. In deference to the Forbes-Sempill family’s wishes, the Trust has never changed this. Indeed, with the light striking the castle at a lower angle, the portraits are sometimes really beautifully illuminated. September is a quieter month for visitor numbers, which sometimes allows the guides the luxury of lingering with visitors for longer in various rooms.
Once the castle closes at the end of September everything in it will have to be ‘put to bed’ for the winter. All items of the collection will either be individually wrapped in the correct material, such as acid-free tissue paper, or covered with dust sheets, to protect it throughout the winter months. All blinds and curtains will remain closed, to keep the light levels as low as possible. Come the spring, everything will have to be unwrapped or uncovered, and then be carefully conservation-cleaned, polished, washed or dusted prior to the castle re-opening. Our aim is not to produce a showroom shine on articles, but to remove harmful dust and to conserve them for present and future generations to enjoy, keeping them in exactly the state that they were when they came into our care. During the winter all the hidden nooks and crannies in the castle will have been brushed out and cleaned, to make sure that any unwanted pests are unable to breed or hide. There is never a ‘quiet’ time in the castle’s life!
Some beautiful walks can be enjoyed in the castle grounds during the winter months. The first trail runs below the castle and is fairly easy walking through open woodland, which seems to glow blue in the early summer when the bluebells are in flower. The rest of this trail leads through woods, marsh and farmland with beautiful views of the castle and surrounding hills, although there are some very steep sections. The second trail, which is longer and some parts are much rougher in character, winds through the extensive woodland above the castle. Again it affords wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. The final section of this trail shares the main drive and visitors are advised to beware of traffic, especially if accompanied by young children or dogs.
Did you know?
You can see family portraits, including two painted by Sir Henry Raeburn