The Earl’s Palace and the nearby Bishop’s Palace, both usually imposing, empty stone shells, came alive last Saturday, when they were invaded by children, historians, architects, storytellers, artists, musicians, craftspeople, kitchen caterers, and ice cream vendors.

Leading visitors round the attractions were a group of costumed youngsters from Glaitness Primary School.

Dressed as medieval ladies, gentlemen and pages, they gave energy and colour to the old corridors and rooms, acting as guides and performing dances.

In the palace kitchen, one could sample medieval trencher bread, onions with fennel and herbs, sausages and a locally-produced ale, served by Alex from Slovenia.

In various storerooms below the Earl’s Palace, you could try making a wick for a cruisie with Peter Leith, spin wool and flax with ladies of the crafts, and in another storeroom, you could experience a stunning art installation of light and sound by Selena Kuzman.

There was storytelling in abundance. In the Bishop’s Palace, there was storytelling with Tom Muir and Fran Flett Hollinrake, wjhile in the Earl’s Palace, Marita Lück told medieval tales, accompanied on the fiddle by Lesley MacLeod playing music of the period.

On the green between the two buildings was a group of young musicians, playing selections of local music to bring in the visitors.

A gem of the afternoon was a talk with slides given by local architect Leslie Burgher, in which he illustrated not only the features of both buildings, but set them in the context of their time.

And if the reaction of the consumers is anything to go by, the new medieval flavour of ice cream supplied by Crantit is a definite hit.”

– from The Orcadian

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