One of the reasons I love living in Scotland is its incredible sense of history. From towering castles to crumbling ruins, ancient folktales and Celtic lore, there’s something for everyone. You never really feel that far away from Scotland’s past and that couldn’t be more true than at the Scottish Crannog Centre.
I can’t remember where or when I first heard about the Crannog Centre. I think it might have been a picture on Instagram! But whatever it was, I was hooked. The notion of experiencing life as it was hundreds of years ago, even if only for an hour, fascinates me. So when we arrived for our stay at Taymouth Marina and realised that the Scottish Crannog Centre was, quite literally, on our doorstep, I couldn’t wait to visit!
That evening, we snuck down to the banks of Loch Tay at golden hour to take a sneaky peek at the crannog. Standing on the banks of the loch, listening to the water gently lap against the shore and watching the light glisten and dance across the water was utterly magical. I felt like I was walking in the footsteps of some of the original crannog dwellers.
Inside the Crannog
A crannog (for those of you who don’t know—don’t worry, I didn’t either before visiting!) is a type of ancient loch dwelling found in Scotland and Ireland. The Scottish Crannog Centre has a fantastic museum all about life during that time but the main event is the tour of the crannog itself. We were ushered inside and, glad to be out of the rain, gazed around wide-eyed as we adjusted to the darkness.
I’m not quite sure how we got so lucky, but on the day of our visit the Crannog Centre was hosting a Celtic Autumn event. It was, essentially, the Great British Bake Off but for Iron Age cuisine! Local cooks gathered to help visitors relive the past by creating authentic Iron Age food. We sampled everything from smoked trout to hearty casseroles, kale soup and risotto, to locally foraged bramble and apple cake.
There were also local craftsmen (and women!) demonstrating their skills in wood-turning, carving and jewellery making. I was bowled over by how warm, welcoming and enthusiastic these volunteers were. Their evident joy and interest in history was just heart-warming and made our visit so, so special. If you’re planning a visit be sure to check their “What’s On” page so you don’t miss out!
The Beach of Memories
Down by the shore, right on the banks of the loch, there was a lovely handwritten sign inviting visitors to leave a memory. Holding a scrap of fabric in your hand, you make a wish or revisit a memory of something, or someone, special. When you open your eyes again, you walk slowly to wherever on the beach you feel drawn to and secure the fabric. Your memory then becomes part of the landscape, gently weathering as the years pass. Standing there, surrounded by hundreds of memories was the loveliest feeling. I added mine, of course, and I know I’ll be drawn back again one day to this very special place.
As I was writing this, I found that the Scottish Crannog Centre are currently asking people to sign a petition which will help them to expand into bigger premises. If you’d like to support their work and vision, you can sign it here. Until next time!