Well, the weekend passed so quickly that it was almost just like blinking my eyes...but it was a great weekend. I love the volunteer with the National Trust for Scotland, seeing beautiful places all over Scotland and getting to spend time outdoors getting dirty. Somehow, no matter the job and no matter how many of my volunteering friends are about I still manage to get the dirtiest...this time I even managed to rip my trousers and fall on my butt in the mud!
We went to Culzean Castle, on the west coast of Scotland in Ayrshire, overlooking the Firth of Clyde, the Isle of Arran and the Holy Isle. It is truly a magnificent setting. The castle is more of a large house than a castle set in acres of grounds - formal gardens, a beautiful pond covered in water lilies, the Home Farm with it's cottages (we were staying in the farmhouse) and the visitor centre, the Eisenhower Suite (developed by the Kennedys - not JFK but the Scottish Kennedy's who owned Culzean, for President Eisenhower, and now available to rent), the cliff walk with it's spectacular views, boardwalks to the beach, pathways through the trees, pond dipping, a deer park, rock pools to explore......
Our work was to reconstruct a boardwalk to the beach. Construction has never been my strongest talent, I am more into destruction, but it was fun. First we carried about 50 pieces of wood down the hill to the boardwalk, and a generator, drill, chainsaw (don't worry, we don't get to play with the chainsaw - only the professionals do), spades, mel, shovels, saws, nails, bolts, hammers........oh and the wellie boots, then we set about removing the old sections of boardwalk, before we could start to build the new boardwalk. One incident with a drill (I managed to break it) and a lot of laughs later the boardwalk was repaired and by lunchtime on Sunday we were able to reopen it.
It was great to be staying on site (as opposed to the usual village hall floor) where we could wander at will around the estate once all the other visitors had gone for the day, seeing roe deer in the forest, watching sunset over the Holy Isle and in general relaxing.