A Scottish Storyteller

Hallowe'en 2010 - Castle Fraser and Wickerman at Archaeolink

As the final event of the year at Archaeolink, Wickerman, has always been the climax of the season.

Quite simply, Hallowe'en has always been my favourite time of the year - I love the stories, the games, the dressing up, the traditions, and since I started volunteering at Archaeolink in Spring 2001, Wickerman has been part of my life.  (I just had to count back on my fingers there to figure out if it really has been 10 seasons that I've been volunteering there!)

In the past few years, the weekend of Wickerman has consisted of getting out there early on the saturday to spend the day decorating the caves up for the "Spooky Tours" followed a party in the round house before attempting to get a full nights sleep ready for the busy day ahead.  A full nights sleep never seemed to happen though - whether due to the singing round the fire, last minute rehearsing of local ghost stories or child-like excitement. 

This year, however, I was even busier than usual as Anna Fancett and I had been booked to tell stories at Castle Fraser's Hallowe'en event in the afternoon.  Having been a zombie on the friday night, it was in to costume number 2 for this event - don't worry, I'm one of the good witches!

I arrived early and was met by some fellow witches (NTS staff!) who showed me to the library and took some time to tell me the history of some of the rooms and objects round the castle.  I also heard some of their spooky stories - but you'd have to visit the castle yourselves to hear some of them! :)

Storytelling in the library was great - it's such a wonderfully atmospheric place, especially as it was decorated appropriately for Hallowe'en!  We had a lot of listeners who were dressed up (parents as well as children) and the time passed very quickly and it was soon time to get on my broomstick and fly back to Archaeolink.

When I got there, the main worry wasn't one that many women need to think about nowadays - being accused of witchcraft.  I had about 2000 people chanting "Burn the witch!" at me before I managed to plead my case, that I was the wise woman who delivered the babies and who gave herbs to heal and take away pain.  Well, I managed to convince my Medieval and Roman soldier friends, anyway - who were all to pleased to carry off my accuser instead (one nasty piece of work called Alucard who had been upsetting the customers all day!)

We then had a parade up to the Wickerman and I was proud to be one of the torch bearers along with Karen from Archaeolink and representatives from both Historic Saltire and Medieval Realm.  The Wickerman went up in flames so very quickly that we hope it's a good omen for 2011.

Unfortunately it looks like Archaeolink's time has come to an end.  We'll see if any of the good work there can be saved when its fate is decided upon early next year.  It was a very emotional end to the season, but I'd like to finish this post with a photo by Ros O'Neill who has been involved artistically with Archaeolink for a good few years.

So, thanks Archaeolink for all the opportunities you've given me and many others, thanks for being a wonderful place for families, round house geeks, tourist, schools, history-lovers, reenactors, nature-lovers, storytellers and everyone else to visit, thanks for Irene's soup, the mud, the scorching hot Invasions, the chilly yet firey Beltanes, the Roman attacks, the firewalking, the Viking battles, the Medieval sing-songs, the days spent in animal skins cooking over an open fire and all the friends made over the years.  We'll miss you!

Members of Archaeolink Staff and Volunteers, Aviatrix and Historic Saltire, Wickerman 2010 at Archaeolink Prehistory Park.  Photo by Ros O'Neill

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