Caressing the south bank of the river Tweed is Abbotsford, the beautiful home of renowned Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. Lovingly referred to as his 'Conundrum Castle' I visited his auspicious home just as spring was starting and the first of the seasons flowers were bravely poking their heads up in search of the sun.
As soon as you walk into the walled gardens of the property you feel as though you have slipped back in time. Throughout the gardens are statues and other such follies, all adding to the magical feeling of the place. What is most impressive is Scott's collections which decorate the house and even the garden in the form of ancient stones. There are gifts from Lord Byron, Flora MacDonald's purse and even the key for the tower Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in. His collection is eclectic and astonishing.
It is said that Sir Walter Scott saw a ghost in his own home. He was awakened by loud noises and armed with a sword went looking for the source of the disturbance. He couldn't find anything but the noises apparently coincided with the death of the head builder of Abbotsford, while the building was in progress. The builder, George Bullock died in London before the building was completed and has apparently been seen at Abbotsford a few times since his death.
I am not sure if it was merely being overwhelmed by standing with in touching distance of such things as Byron's mourning ring or a sword belonging to Rob Roy but I believe I saw something at Abbotsford.
It was a cool day and I was standing looking towards the River Tweed from the room in which it is said Sir Walter Scott died, when I saw the figure of a man, his back to me. He was wearing a black, grand coat with a high collar. I didn't see his face and the second I was distracted he was gone. It was a quiet day and all the other tourists that had arrived at opening time when I did where still inside. The figure had appeared and disappeared. I have no idea who it was but his clothes seemed incongruent to the time. I like to think it was one of the many ancient visitors that had come to Abbotsford to spend time with Sir Walter Scott or perhaps Scott himself looking at his beloved river in the shadow of his adored Abbotsford.
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