CRIME AT THE CASTLE GLAMIS CASTLE 24TH FEBRUARY 2018
‘Thou hast it now: King, Cawdor, Glamis!
All as the weird women promised,
And I fear Thou play’d most foully for’t.’
Blanquo, MacBeth, Shakespere.
What a venue. Congratulations to the organisers for choosing this fantastic location for a crime writing festival. The castle was closed to the public for the duration of the festival and as events were programmed throughout the day, with generous intervals, there were many opportunities to wander around the castle, indoors and outdoors-although there was a bitterly cold wind, and soak up the atmosphere.
Book signings in the Crypt were a perfect opportunity to mingle with the authors and buy some books- as usual I came home with a heavy suitcase. The courses and talks were excellent.
The anti-chamber to the castle crypt is called Duncan’s Hall, and is described as the site of the murder of King Duncan as narrated in MacBeth, by Shakespere. Whilst there are mixed views as to the veracity of the claim, the castle has no shortage of dark history.
Glamis Castle is the ancestral seat of the Earls of Strathmore.(Earls of Angus). First recordings of the castle’s turbulent past begins with the mysterious assignation of King Malcolm II of Alba at the site of the current castle in 1034. King James V was kidnapped as a young man by the 6thEarl of Angus. James, subsequently, perhaps in revenge charged the Earl’s widow of murdering her husband and plotting to kill the king. She was convicted of witchcraft and burnt at the stake in 1537. Her son, the 7thEarl was also sentenced to death although he was released on the death of the James V. Turbulent times. The castle was visited by Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell’s forces, the Old Pretender, Government forces after Culloden, even becoming a military hospital during the First World War. The castle lays claim to several ghosts, the White Lady-the countess burned for witchcraft, the Grey Lady and even Scotland’s first black ghost-a servant child left to sit on a stool as punishment who was subsequently forgotten and froze to death. Earl Beardie –who played a hand of card with the devil and lost his soul and many more.
The Crime at the Castle Crime Writing Festival provided an excellent opportunity to attendees to visit a fantastic historic venue, listen to established crime writer’s talk about their books and inspiration- I particularly enjoyed chatting with Chris Brookmyre in the castle lounge, getting some one to one advice from Alex Grey, and catching up with my latin class school-mate S.G. McLean who writes intriguing historical crime. There was also a delicious lunch in the castle dining room.
Anyone attending the festival looking for inspiration to start their own writing adventure has really no excuse for not getting on with it!