Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Featherstone Castle - Part II

As I said, we had to walk UP the HILL to get to the pub, which to 4 extremely fit people was no problem at all....well, not much anyhow. (Actually, Bob is training for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC next month).

On the way I noticed this string of dead moles. This is apparently a farming tradition, hanging up dead moles. I'm not sure if it's meant to serve as a warning to other moles or a warning to horse riders that there may be holes in the grounds or perhaps there is a nationwide competition for 'murdered most moles of the month'. Anyhow, I've spared you the close up version.

British pubs are such cosy places. Most are full of dark wood and stone fireplaces and intimate little corners where you gather with your friends. The Wallace Arms was no exception.

I particularly liked their view about the smoking area...

And they turned out to be a doggy pub with a resident dog -- a greyhound, I think; whatever she was it was certain she was a runner. We all remarked on the amazing muscles she had in her shoulders. Like many of the former running dogs she was quite diffident, but clearly interested in affection. We petted her until she'd had enough and went off to a quiet corner for herself.

The (human) runners waved at us in the window on their return and I just caught them out the door as they made their way back to the castle. They will have no doubt enjoyed cleaning up in the slightly-less-than-modern facilities.

We headed back then, too, as it was getting time to rustle up some grub. I couldn't remember what all I'd volunteered to do, so I just showed up in the kitchen and got assigned to chopping vegetables. I love cooking for big groups and I love cooking on my own, but cooking as part of a group is wonderfully sociable.

I think we each paid about £6.50 for dinner and breakfast and I think we got a great deal. Our evening meal was spaghetti (with and without meat in the sauces) and a variety of salads, not to mention some of Alice's cakes.

After dinner we all sat around in one of the halls where Bill had built the fire up.

At some point I was captivated by this coat -- I kept thinking it looked like a face.

Too much wine, no doubt, or the suggestion that the castle is haunted?

That was when I decided it was time for bed...


Unknown said...

I am part of a group that uses Featherstone castle in January every year to celebrate 'Imbolc' (the pagan start of spring)
it is usually very very cold then, but 60 of us usually warms it up quickly enough. I was wonderfully bombarded with lovely memories looking at your pics and reading your thoughts and notes on the place, all of which is fair and balanced.
it is not a fairy tale castle... but it is a castle full of love and charm, character and warmth, surprises andjoys. thank you for these pages.
gavin UK

Shelley said...

Gavin - I'm pleased you enjoyed the post. I can't begin to imagine what the place must be like in January! I think I'd be moving into the kitchen to huddle next to the stove! Thanks for visiting here. Best wishes.

Unknown said...

Really nice to read about the castle! I recently went with my university as I'm studying photography, such a lovely warm feeling to the place! Got to go out and take some ace photos. I know this is an old post but was an excellent read :)

Shelley said...

Hi Ben - I'm pleased you enjoyed my 'scribbles'. My parents were both professional photographers, whereas I'm pretty hopeless at it. I'd no idea there was a university course, but there is a lot to being good at it, so well done you. Best of luck and thanks for visiting.

Krysia said...

Ah, this brings back some wonderful memories! Stumbled across your blog after a conversation with mates turned to 'I'll google that'.

I went to Featherstone a couple of times with my dad and his friends when I was a child/teenager about 15 years back; there were about 60-odd 'old hippies' who'd go there for Bonfire Night, cook up a massive curry on the Aga, let off some fireworks, and have a party.

Now that I'm old enough (to know better), I'd love to go back with some of my own friends - I loved the medieval hodge-podge of the house, the old POW camp next door, and the scenery nearby! I don't suppose you'd happen to have the contact details for the owner, would you (if he even still rents it out)?

Shelley said...

Hi Krysia - Glad you enjoyed the post. I don't have the owner's contact details but I'm fairly sure he still lets it. Just the comments on this blog indicate a lot of people have fond memories/go their regularly. I'm sure if you Google 'Featherstone Castle hire' you'll eventually find it. If not, perhaps contact the Wallace Arms pub in Haltwhistle, which is just up the road; they might know as I'm sure a fair bit of their trade comes from the castle. Best of luck - and thanks for dropping in!