Scotland had been on our radar for a long time. Ryan’s family and extended family all hail from the land of haggis, plaid, whiskey and some of the worlds most unforgettable vistas. Actually both of our families come from Scotland, my mother was a MacDonald with her roots only 2 generations back and Ryan’s Rowell family are descendants of the Smiths who belong to the MacPherson Clan. In the months leading up to the trip I thought that it would be fun for Ryan to have a custom kilt made of the MacPherson hunting tartan to wear for a few photos while we traveled around Scotland. We had Ryan’s kilt hand made in Barrie, Ontario, Canada by the amazing team at Burnetts & Struth. They have made kilts for kings, the Rowell Family and have been great clients and friends of our family for years. Ryan even requested a pocket to be made for his iphone which clearly goes against the rules of a traditional kilt. It was so fun to watch Ryan trekking through the highlands of Glencoe, and Isle of Skye looking so handsomely Rob Roy-ish and having tourists along the way ask for a portrait of him.
We spent a lot of time researching Ryan’s lineage in Scotland and we were able to trace back his great grandmothers hometown called Alva, Scotland. Just outside of Edinburgh, it is a small village consisting of just a few streets, a main drag and a golf course on the side of a mountain. It was very quiet when we drove into the town on a Tuesday. We planned to stop for lunch. We found a bar with 3 old guys and a dog sitting around drinking at noon and they directed us to the castle restaurant up the street. Broomhall Castle sits high above the town, up a road that swerves through a small wooded area. When you arrive, you are immediately impressed by this elegant building. When we arrived there were cars and limos outside so we figured that there must be an event happening. When we walked inside there was no one to be found. It was dead quiet. All the doors were wide open. People had been there because there was hot tea still on the table, and half eaten scones out. The kitchen area had fresh fruits and vegetables half chopped. Like somehting out of one of those apocolypse movies where towns are deserted half way through lunch. We called out numerous times and to our surprise no one answered. With a parking lot full of cars and almost no where to go but up the mountain or down the main drive way, we were left puzzled. Where did all the people go? It all seemed a little too strange, so we left and were on our way. Broomhall Castle will always be a mystery but we hope to have the chance to visit it again as it hosts weddings and special events and is also a hotel. We would love to photograph a wedding there.
Scotland will definitely be one of those places we will visit again. We felt truly connected to this landscape. I like to think that maybe our connection goes deeper than just what we saw and how magical it feels to see something beautiful for the first time. I like to think that this place is connected to us not only emotionally through our ancestors but physically too. I love this quote below, each time I think about the lands we have visted, where our ancestors are from I think of this quote.
“Walking I am listening to a deeper way, suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be STILL they say WATCH and LISTEN. You are the result of the love of thousands.” -L . Hogan.
Erika & Ryan