The Road Less Traveled
Skibo Castle, Dornoch Scotland
When Andrew Carnegie purchased a summer home for his wife near Inverness, he called it “heaven on earth”;those words could not have been truer. Not only is the beauty mesmerizing, but it is a soul’s return to it’s commune with nature. If you allow yourself just a little bit of time to stop and be still, you will be engulfed by the world that was meant to be.No cell phones or emails, no deadlines and no troubles. Just nature’s simplistic course of life and innocence. And an unparalleled opportunity for appreciation and deep reflection of all things natural, spiritual, and priviledged.What better setting than an enchanted castle in the highlands of romantic Scotland.
After literally one thousand years of derivative names, the estate now known as Skibo was believed by early Celts to have been given to the town by the fairies as a “land of peace”and it is believed that all who stay at Skibo are blessed during their visit.
Today the Edwardian estate has been restored to the glorious lifestyle that Andrew Carnegie enjoyed in his day…
It is morning, and the shroud of mist begins to roll back from the vined castle walls, the resonating sound of the bagpipes begins to take its place.
The piper marches full circle, honoring the presence of a new day. Passing through the ornate hallways and down the grand staircase, a feast of morning foods waits on the banquet table; the warmth from the fireplace fills the grand hall.
A brief stay in the life of privilege awaits. The only pressing dilemma is where to begin. Perhaps a swim in the Victorian pool or a round of golf on the Carnegie links course. Sporting clays for the novice or the expert, falconry- sport of kings, or pampering at the Spa. These are just a sample of activities to choose from for your morning.
However a ride through the countryside on horseback should not be missed, there you will find beautifully unsurpassed views of this magical castle and its surroundings.
After a tour of this 7,000 acre estate and a walk through the spectacular gardens, a transport takes you to the clubhouse for lunch. Your journey takes you past lochs surrounded by heather, and over bridges spanning crystal streams. Once you arrive you’ll be escorted up the path and into a dining room overlooking the championship golf course where you will be served an Epicurean delight of traditional and modern Scottish dishes. If you are not too weighed down by the fantastic soup, salad, entree, pudding and spirits, your adventurous side may take you off road driving, trout fishing, or maybe just a quiet session of photography with other club members.
The afternoon is completely yours, feel free to peruse the thousands of books available, many dating back over a hundred years. Down the hall a game of snooker is played and there is chatter from the cigar room, but it does not interrupt the perfect silence of this haven of history.
As day turns to evening, guests begin to gather in the ornate drawing room for an aperitif and socializing of the day’s events. Soon after a piper appears in the main hallway, that signifies dinner is about to be served in Mr. Carnegie’s dining room. Each guest is greeted by name as they enter into the Edwardian banquet atmosphere, and find their respective places. The only illumination in the room is from the glow of candlelight from atop the fine silver candelabras that seems to ricochet from the glasses to the flatwear to the polish on the table. The host arrives in full dress: a traditional tartan kilt, suit jacket, tie, and of course a sporran.
He is seated at the head of the table, and as the attendees pour the wine freely, the room takes on a reminiscent feeling of Carnegie ideals; that is, all are welcomed at his table, regardless of age, color, creed or social status. Friends are friends.
Conversation is lively and light hearted, and feels more like spending the evening with old pals than members of an exclusive club. Course after delectable course is served of fresh field greens grown on the estate, amazingly grilled and marinated vegetables, and Scotland’s own prime Angus beef, and who could forget “pudding” all prepared by head chef Craig Rowland. Tonight is particularly special, it is a member’s birthday and simply stated it is celebrated; and there is a plentiful array of pudding for everyone. The culinary experience at Skibo is itself a magnificent phenomenon, worth every inch of the journey.
Once plates are empty and conversation has lulled, everyone adjourns to the great hall for nightcaps and more and more bonding. Some sit around the warmth of the fireplace, some exit to the drawing room, but all absorb the soulful peace of a by-gone era, and enjoy the life of privilege.
Naturally, what enchanted castle would be complete without a court jester? He enters in a whirlwind of a tartan suit, welcomes everyone to his “glorious Scotland” and announces that he is Alan. However under the comic relief, the quips, and the seemingly outrageous opinions, Alan is much like court jesters of the past in that he is full of wonderful philosophy and a deep understanding of the times and surroundings. It is a perfect ending to a storybook day.
You climb the red carpeted staircase, pass the enormous stained glass mural, and enter your elaborate suite. It is almost a crime that it receives so little use. Your bed has been turned down, the lights are dimmed
and one last nightcap sits at the bedside. Nothing could wake you now but a bag piper.
This magnificent and historic backdrop is the epitome of perfection for any occasion.
Skibo is for exclusive higher by special arrangement only. The Club’s event team can organize the celebration of your dreams for up to 90 people.
The Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle is a private members club. Non-members can stay at the club by special arrangement only. Membership is strictly limited and is attained on application to the membership secretary and committee. Members pay an initial joining fee and an annual membership fee, which entitles them to visit Skibo as frequently as they wish.
Accommodations for guests are also plentiful; there are 20 bedrooms inside the Castle and 12 private lodges around the estate. Many of these lodges are lakefront, and beautifully decorated.
The Carnegie Club is as unique as it is diverse, which undoubtedly provides pure relaxation and truly is “heaven on earth.”
Tele:01862 894 600