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4 Dec 2018

Discovering the Royal Burgh of Culross


When I’m back home in Scotland, I always try to run along the coast, whether that’s in Cramond where I grew up, in Dalmeny or even North Berwick.

I’ve done a lot of travelling around Europe this summer and it’s definitely nice to be back in Scotland for a while.

I love that feeling of fresh air when you step off the plane.

Usually, people always tell me they have a relative that’s Scottish and that they’ve been to visit – especially Edinburgh, everyone’s been to visit the festival.

It’s so easy to talk about Edinburgh and to feel proud about Scotland.

Culross is special to me because my dad used to make here when I was younger.

It’s a lovely drive from Edinburgh, a really pretty little town on the coast and it's really nice to explore the palace and the gardens and have a coffee as well.

I actually didn’t realise that there were so many National Trust for Scotland properties across the whole of Scotland.

I’ve been to Arran a few times but I’d love to go back to visit Brodick Castle and Goatfell.

I’d encourage everyone to become a National Trust for Scotland member.

It gives us the opportunity to support the amazing work they do to care for our most treasured places.

It’s also important to remember that the National Trust for Scotland is a charity, and they rely on our donations.

Being a member also give you access to fascinating and fun days out for the whole family all year round.

What I love most about Scotland is how green it is, how fresh the air is and how proud everyone is of the county.

Lynsey Sharp is the latest celebrity to get behind the National Trust for Scotland. Here she documents her first visit as a Trust champion to one of her favourite Scottish destinations – Culross.

Being a British athlete means that my career often takes me to all corners of the world: from travelling to far and exotic countries for championships to spending lengthy periods of time with my coach in California. However, I love coming home to Scotland – it’s an incredibly beautiful country and I always try to get outside as much as I can when I’m home.

I find it easy to talk about Scotland and I feel incredibly proud of our country. To be able to highlight the best of what it has to offer is something I’m very passionate about, so it’s pretty common when I’m travelling to find me raving about our history and heritage.

I’m always amazed by the deep level of connectivity that Scotland has with the rest of the world: we have connections across the globe and I always tend to meet someone who is from Scotland, has a relative here or has visited in the past. People feel a natural connection with our country and are instinctively interested in our culture – that is something that gives me a great sense of pride.

What I wasn’t aware of was the volume and diversity of truly spectacular places and spaces that the National Trust for Scotland cares for, including coastlines, castles, Munros, islands, gardens, art, architecture, and much more.

The Royal Burgh of Culross is one place, under the protection of the National Trust for Scotland, that is very special to me because my dad used to take me there when I was a young girl. It’s a beautiful 17th-century village on the Fife coast, just a short drive from Edinburgh, with an ochre-coloured palace, beautiful gardens, white-harled houses and cobbled streets, all of which give you a feeling of having been transported back in time. It’s extraordinary.

As I prepared to take a step into the past again, with my first trip to Culross as a Trust champion, I decided to kick start the visit with a cup of hot tea and a bacon roll in the café my father used to take me to – it hadn’t changed a bit and it felt like a walk down memory lane.

I then set off on a guided tour of Culross Palace. I met with National Trust for Scotland volunteers and employees, and even bumped into some passionate members along the way who were full of stories about their day trips to National Trust for Scotland properties.

I was particularly fascinated by the Palace’s ceiling paintings and so-called spooky ‘former residents’ that refuse to move out. Throughout the tour, I found myself looking out for several spooks, including a cross-dressing Laird and his daughter who he cooped up in a tower. I’m not really a believer in ghosts, but I still wouldn’t like to be the person who locks up at night!

When you look at the Palace from the outside you aren’t instantly aware of the magic that lies behind it, something that I discovered for myself as we walked out into the reconstructed period garden, complete with herbs, fruits and vegetables. You’re immediately hit with a myriad of green plants in every shape and form that are beautifully arranged around narrow flowing footpaths, and you automatically have a greater appreciation of food gardening in the 17th and 18th centuries.

I helped Elaine, the Senior Assistant Property Manager, pick some blood-red apples and rosemary, and we fed the Scots Dumpy hens as we talked about her time working there. It was extraordinary hearing her stories and thoughts, her passion and love for our shared heritage shone through at every point.

Lynsey Sharp and Elaine, Senior Assistant Property Manager at Culross

To end my visit, I took the short walk from the Palace to the coast, wandering along some of the charming and peaceful cobbled streets along the way. I love that feeling of breathing in fresh, crisp Scottish air by the seaside and a run along an iconic Scottish coastline is unbeatable – whether that’s in Cramond where I grew up, North Berwick or Culross.

Culross will always hold a special spot in my heart because I created everlasting memories there with my dad. It’s educational, fun, spooky and enchanting all at once, and is a fantastic day out for all ages. I hope that after reading this another family will be convinced to visit and have the chance to create special memories just like we did.

Lynsey Sharp and Elaine, Senior Assistant Property Manager at Culross

That is why I’m supporting the National Trust for Scotland: a love of Scotland is at the heart of everything that they do, and without the work that they undertake to preserve and protect places like Culross, our country wouldn’t be as beautiful as it can be, and we wouldn’t have such a strong shared love of Scotland as we do now.

By becoming a member, you contribute towards preserving Scotland’s heritage now and for generations to come, while also getting unlimited access to some of Scotland’s national treasures. For me, that’s the perfect way to show your love for Scotland.

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By becoming a National Trust for Scotland member you’re helping to preserve Scotland’s countryside and landscapes for future generations.

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