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Previous Chapters of the Travel Diary:
Chapter One: Stonehaven
Chapter Two: Fetteresso Part I
Chapter Three:Fetteresso Part II

Chapter Four: The Ceilidh and Kirkton

Teaser Preview Pics:


Here Tavi dances in a Scottish ceilidh, and Karen visits the old kirk and cemetary of the village of Kirktown of Fetteresso.


Karen: This is Tavi in her dancing costume. It's about half-past midnight (so technically Saturday morning the 12th, and we've just gotten back from the ceilidh (pronounced "KAY-lee"), a rather intimidating event that features Scottish folk dancing. You'll have an opportunity to play "Find Tavi" in a video clip that I took.

I should mention that the ceilidh came after a full day exploring St Andrews (you can read about this in another post), and then the dramatic discovery and rescue of Legolas the missing cat.

Tavi: It's not really a dancing costume, but this is what I wore. We came back from St Andrews pretty late, with both cameras battery dead. I had about half an hour to charge my camera before we left for the ceilidh. We missed the bus (and taxis) and so had to walk there to the Town Hall.


Tavi: We got to the ceilidh at about 10:45, just as the Dashing White Sergeant started, which unfortunately was my favourite dance. Or at least the one I knew best from school. Strip the Willow, my second favourite, came on soon afterwards, but I'm afraid you won't have any footage of me doing that. Throughout the night I wondered why the camera kept saying the memory was running out, but when we uploaded the clips, the answer was clear: Karen recorded a monster six minute clip of Strip the Willow...but got the wrong set of people!

Strip the Willow is a perfect dance to give you an impression of what ceilidhs are like, so maybe we will try to upload it for you. If we start now, it might finally be processed on YouTube by the time Karen leaves!

Karen: Here's one of the few bright moments of the ceilidh. For some reason, these dances tend to be held indoors in dimly-lit rooms. And the reason I didn't film Tavi doing Strip the Willow wasn't because I was filming the wrong set of people, it was because the set she was in was dancing in the darkest part of the room.

Tavi: It was light on the other side!





Tavi: This is the Two Step, a dance that looks tame by Scottish Country Dance standards, unlike Strip the Willow, but is actually very tiring because you're constantly on the move. You can see me if you watch for my hair in the darkness at about 50 s in, and for a lot longer in the 2nd and 3rd minutes. I'm dancing with a man wearing a white poet's blouse and a kilt! When we got there, Karen decided she wouldn't do a single dance, and so I was left partnerless. It was rather scary, as everyone else seemed to have come with a partner, so I had to go up and ask strange men who were sitting down. I did five dances, which doesn't sound like much, but that was actually most of the evening! I missed the Dashing White Sergeant at the beginning, missed a second dance because I was too scared then to ask for a partner, and then later deliberately missed two waltzes, because I cannot do those! There is a waltz step in this dance here, and it was very difficult to do: the man was actually lifting me up in some points!



Tavi: This is a couple of seconds of the Highland Jig dance near the end of the ceilidh. You can see me throughout it in the middle area. This was a complete first for me! It was a lot of fun, and not too complicated, although one woman was so enthusiastic on the spinning that she flung me to the ground. Fortunately Karen missed that part as well!

Before this dance, I did the Flying Scotsman, which was exhausting: we had to dance right out of the hall into the foyer! At the end of the ceilidh, we did the arcadian version of Strip the Willow, which is with all couples lined up, and both partners "stripping the willow" at the same time. Karen thought this meant something dodgy! We eventually got back to the house at about 1:30 am and were up early for the vet the next day.

Karen: Tavi wanted to have Legolas checked by the vet, so we walked over for afternoon surgery. While Tavi and Legolas kept their appointment, I walked up the road a bit to the old cemetery of Kirktown (or, more formally, Kirktown of Fetteresso). A small lane off the main road takes you by two or three houses standing just outside the cemetery gates; this is one of them. I love these old stone houses with their tile roofs.


Karen: This is another house just outside the cemetery gates. The attraction of this place for me was the wonderful bush planted beside the front porch. As you can see, it's covered with blue flowers. That's one thing I've really noticed about Scotland: everyone seems to garden, and the plants all seem to thrive. The roses especially are spectacular, and they smell they way I remember from my childhood. They're nothing like the scentless, commercially-cultivated roses you'll find at your local market.


Karen: I'm standing inside the old Kirktown cemetery. It's no longer used, but there are about 200 graves here. These are a few of them.


Karen: A fine Celtic cross that's part of a tall grave marker.


Karen These are the remnants of St. Ciaran's, the old church, or kirk, that used to stand in the middle of this graveyard. These are actually the remnants of a 1720 rebuilding of an earlier medieval church. The church is named after St. Ciaran, an Irish monk who lived from 515-548 A.D.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries, moral offences were punished by chaining the offenders outside the kirk for several services, and then bringing them inside to sit on the Stool of Repentance and be denounced before the congregation, like the scarlet "A" that Hester Prynne had to wear to indicate she was an adulteress.


Karen: The belfry of St. Ciaran's dates back to 1737.


Karen: More gravestones...


Karen: And a few more. Tavi thought this place was creepy, and didn't want to come in, but I found it rather peaceful.


Tavi: Legolas has caused us trouble all the past week and seems to be promising more for the future.

Karen: After being good for the entire walk to the vet's, on the trip home Legolas decided he'd had enough of this wicker carrier. Note the metal grate covering the opening of the carrier, and note also the wooden peg that's holding the grate closed. Well, that's not enough to stop a determined cat. We were in a taxi headed home when Legolas finally managed to push the grating enough that he made a space large enough to crawl through. Suddenly there he was, headed straight for the front seat, apparently with the intent of helping drive the taxi. Fortunately the driver was a cat lover himself, and he just laughed as we struggled to hang onto the little escape artist.

Tavi: I just hope he still loved cats when he discovered the hair Leggie left on the seat!

Next chapter: we visit the coastal old university town of St Andrews.