Sunday was sunny. Allow me to impress upon you how unexpected that was: Sunday was 19th March, Monday was 20th March and the first day of Spring, on Tuesday 21st of March it snowed. In this part of Scotland, we seize any sunshine we get with both hands.
Now we haven’t actually lived in this part of Falkirk for all that long. We’ve been here for nearly 6 months and, since most of the first half of that was thesis writing and viva preparation, we’ve only really lived here for about 3 months. We’re doing our best to explore but there’s a lot that we haven’t yet seen or done. One of those things was Callendar Park so on Sunday that’s where we went.
The Callendar Estate, which includes the park, woods and Callendar House extends across about 500 acres. One visit is not really enough to take it all in but we made a start. We entered by the Callendar woods near Falkirk High train station and wandered through them until we reached the main part of the park which holds the house.
Here the atmosphere changed a bit. The woods had been lovely and very, very quiet. We didn’t see or hear another person the whole time we were there which, given we were never more than about 15 minutes from a main road, kind of impressed me. When we got to the park it was much busier. Evidently, this is a place people like to take their kids and there is a children’s adventure playground, pitch and putt, crazy golf, a boating lake and apparently go-karting.
Our sunshine was already failing so we decided to go inside to see the house itself. This is open to the public and you can explore it, and its small museum, free of charge. There are exhibits on the Antonine Wall, a part of which can be found in Falkirk, as well as the industrial history of the area. When we visited there was also (what I think was) a temporary exhibit about what it has, historically, meant to be a woman. There’s also a tea room which, judging by the bustle, is very popular. I suspect we’ll have to come back here and give it a try, although I think P was more interested in the stand selling ice cream outside.
We left the estate via the main park entrance, closer to Falkirk’s town centre than we’d started, and satisfied with our exploration. This is absolutely one of the places we’ll come when summer starts properly (if it ever does) – if only because I want a go on the boating lake.