Castle Roy, or Redcastle, is a stark thing, all chipped and dented bones. But it remains on an emerald hillock just outside Nethy Bridge in the Cairngorms National Park. Some 700 years have quietly passed over and around its rubble-filled wall. Yet, the people of the region have left it unmolested, like the ember of a memory that nurtures you through your bleakest moments. Pastures and moors, the provinces of livestock and pheasants, are held at bay from Castle Roy by a flimsy fence with a typically kind British warning sign.
Walking back to our rental home in the brisk evening air, castles filled my mind. There are ecstatic moments during travel that burn with a light so fierce they’ll forever leave a ghost image in my mind. The other night: a dinner party in a foreign country in a temporary home with foreign and temporary friends. It was a blaze – a Castle Roy – an enduring monument to the memory. May it last forever, chipped and dented and fenced off though it may become.
And a wish for the faerie pools: may friends met on the road not always be foreign or temporary.