The Classicist: Highland Living at Scotland's Storied Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle, one of Scotland's greatest estates which dates back to 1380, is the centerpiece of a beautiful new book focusing on the very best of Scottish style. Highland Living: Landscape, Style, and Traditions of Scotland (Flammarion, $39.95) by Stéphane Bern and Franck Ferrand with photographs by Guillaume de Laubier opens with a foreword by the castle's formidable mistress, Angelika, the Dowager Countess Cawdor (above). Born in Bohemia and raised in Africa, the exotic beauty was a fashion editor at Vogue and directed a marketing company in Paris before marrying the late Hugh, 6th Earl Cawdor and 24th Thane, and falling in love with the Scottish Highlands. In 30 years at Cawdor she has given new life to the legendary estate while preserving its historic heritage and way of Highland living.
At the heart of Scotland lies the legendary Cawdor Castle, best known for its literary connection to William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, the title character of which was made Thane of Cawdor. With its rich history, vibrant grounds and deep lochs, ancient, stony ruins, stewardship of revered traditions, and completely sustainable existence, the Cawdor estate, occupying over 49,000 acres, exemplifies the essence of the Highlands. Its magnificent interiors are filled with glorious antiques and handcrafted furniture, tartan accessories, hunting trophies and painted landscapes. Kilts and bagpipes, salmon and fly fishing, grouse shooting, hunting dogs, Land Rovers, shotguns and Barbour jackets, the shady realm of the Big Wood, thematic gardens, windswept moors, haggis and Scotch whisky are all part of life at the storied Castle.
Gallery: Highland Living at Cawdor
"We are completely self-sufficient here," the Dowager Countess notes. "The estate supplies its own needs; we eat the game that's shot on our land, and the meat reared in our own pastures. Our fish comes from the [estate's] River Findhorn; the vegetables and fruit come from the various orchards and kitchen gardens." Add to that the wood harvested from its forests, wool from its Shetland sheep, and whisky from the great distilleries nearby. Cawdor, which is open to visitors from May through October, now has some accommodations for visitors and hosts special events as well as anglers interested in salmon fishing. The book also includes an address directory of Scotland's best shops, lodgings, sporting outposts, and sites of interest for travelers, and even traditional recipes from the Castle's kitchens for those looking to get a flavor of the Highlands at home.