Dingwall & Tulloch Castle (hint: click on this title to go directly to the post at WordPress)

First, allow me to explain the title of this post…

When I receive notification in my email inbox that “Claudia’s Travels” has published a new post (I “follow” my own blog) I have noticed that as I read the post in the email, I can’t see the slideshows of photos I have put together and placed within the text. I’ve also noticed that the photos I have carefully and artfully arranged in “tiled mosaic grouping’s” do not appear as they should; they are all separated and are scattered willy-nilly about the page.

My ‘followers’ are probably experiencing the same effect, which is a tad bit frustrating.  If you’ve experienced this as a follower I’ve decided to share a helpful tip with you.

If you click on the blue colored ‘Title’ of the post in the email, it will open up your browser and take you directly to my WordPress blog site. You will be able to read the post, watch the slideshows of photos, and see the grouped pictures as they are supposed to appear.  You will probably enjoy the post a lot more! Hope this information makes reading my blog a much more pleasurable experience for you.

Now that we have those ‘techy’ problems out of the way, let’s get back to the topic at hand…

After all that fun at the Gordon Highland Games the day before, we slept soundly and woke refreshed the morning of May 21st and were blessed with beautifully sunshiney views of the beach outside. We soaked up the vistas as we enjoyed our breakfasts; Lindsay enjoyed the full Scottish breakfast, while I sampled their french toast and bacon.

IMG_3660IMG_3661The next leg of our adventure took us as far as Dingwall, where our great-great-grandparents lived and raised their family.

Dingwall is our ancestral home and we had another opportunity to spend the night there at Tulloch Castle. We were excited to get our day started so after our hearty breakfast we packed up the car and continued on down the road.


I recently made contact with yet another descendant of our Frew family who lives in California. His great-grandfather, Thomas MacNaughten Frew II, immigrated to America in the 1800s with my great-grandfather, William Rose Frew.

First, they went to Montana, where William got married and then they headed south to  California. William homesteaded in Lancaster and Thomas opened a Blacksmith shop not too far away in the town of Newhall. After a short period of time, William unexpectedly passed away from a fall off a windmill. His widow, Nancy, returned to Montana where she lived the rest of her life.

Unfortunately,  the familial connections were severed with Thomas and his family at that point in time as far as I know. One of Thomas’ descendants, Tom IV, did a DNA test recently and we were able to find each other through matching DNA results. How cool is that?!?  Now that I’ve connected with him, Lindsay and I are so excited to share all the genealogy and ancestral treasures we’ve collected with him as well. In fact, later this fall, my sister, Suzie, and I are planning a trip to go meet Tom and his family in person.

Since we were going right through Dingwall on our adventure, Lindsay and I wanted to take a lot of current photos of the town: its museum, the houses our ancestors lived in, streets they walked on, schools they attended, etc., in order to share them with Tom when I meet him face-to-face in October.

The first time I met Lindsay during my very first trip to Scotland about 12 years ago, we met up and visited Dingwall together. He took me around to all of the special places in Dingwall and shared all its treasures with me. So this time, we retraced our steps and re-visited each of the sights together again. That was a fun walk down memory lane in itself!

Our first stop was Mitchell Hill Cemetery where a lot of our relatives are buried, including Lindsay’s great-grandfather, John Rose Frew, who was a brother to Thomas & William. We took photos of relatives’ headstones and visited the Mitchell monument at the top of the hill.

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Then we headed back down the hill descending into the town of Dingwall at its base…


We headed straight for St. Clements church in the center of town to take pictures of where John, Thomas, and William’s parents are buried in its churchyard.




It was good to see that the painting restorations I had done to their headstone a couple of years ago are still holding up quite nicely!  The paint hasn’t chipped and it is staying in place and just as vibrant as the day I painted it!

We walked around town taking pictures of High street and the businesses along it; the picture house, the chip shop and somehow I couldn’t quite resist the temptations of Deas Bakery!

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In the center of High Street stands the clock tower at the old courthouse just down the lane from St Clements church. This building is the centerpiece of Dingwall and now houses the museum.


We visited various houses that our second great grandparents lived in for a while, and stopped by ‘Sunnyholme,’ the house that Lindsay’s great-grandfather, John Rose, lived in.

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We met up with our good friend, Ian MacLeod, curator of the Dingwall Museum. He had created a new window display which celebrated 100 years of the Royal Air Force. He has collected these beautiful commemorative plates over the years and they make a fitting display.

We walked through the arched walled pathway back to the museums’ garden patio and admired the pictorial history of Dingwall on its walls along the way.

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Afterward, we met with Pat MacLeod, Ian’s wife, inside the museum and she showed us around to the new displays and exhibits they have created since we last visited.


In the Reception area of the museum, numerous memorabilia from our family still grace the walls; the John Rose Frew clock keeping time & pictures of our cousins standing in front of the Chemist Shop which was operated by another great uncle, James MacDonald Frew. His Chemist shop is now the Reception area for the museum.

We marveled at the ancient Mercat Cross standing in the window and which used to stand outside on the square in front of the courthouse.

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We headed upstairs to what used to be the Council Chambers. They have it set up as if a Council meeting is taking place. Lindsay’s great-grandfather, John Rose, is an honored member on the Roll of Provosts who have served proudly over the decades. He served in 1906.

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We got to look at a lot of old photos of the town, Tulloch Castle, and what life looked like when our great-grandparents were children living in this town.

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Pat joined us for more picture taking elsewhere, and we stopped in Strathpeffer, a quaint Victorian town nearby for a bite to eat at a really good deli opened by Dea’s Bakery! We enjoyed a satisfying lunch of sandwiches, quiche, and salad before continuing on our way.

Our final stop for the day was the Neil Gunn monument. Neil Gunn is a famous and much beloved Scottish author, much like Mark Twain is for us here in the U.S. It just so happens that he married one of our cousins, Jesse Dallas Frew.  (You may have noticed her headstone from the Mitchell Hill cemetery photos earlier).

One of the most famous books he authored was “Silver Darlings.”  This monument showcases that piece in particular. The upright slabs of rock you see encircling the large stone are carved with scenes from the book.

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On either side of the walls next to the Tryst Gate, there are carved quotes from the same book.

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It had been a full day of activity going around to all the special sights in Dingwall together. We were ready to relax after a nice dinner with Pat & Ian at their favorite restaurant. We drove up to Tulloch Castle sitting on the hill above Dingwall and settled in for the evening.

The view of Dingwall from up there was quite nice.IMG_3876

We got a couple of ‘wee’ drams of our favorite Scottish Whisky and settled in nicely next to the fire in the sitting room.

Later, we joined in with a group of other guests, to take the 9 o’clock ghost tour of the castle!

The bartender gathered us together in the bar and then took us around to a lot of other rooms that guests don’t normally have access to unless, of course, they are part of a wedding party or some other event.

We started out in the dungeon which was just off the main entryway.


Next, we went into the oak-paneled room which, if I’m remembering correctly, used to have a billiards table for the menfolk. There were lots of pictures of past inhabitants on the walls, and this old woman is said to be one of the ghosts seen at times wandering about the castle halls.

Then we were escorted into this huge room which is where larger weddings and large banquets are held.

Right next door is this handy bar! This really would be a nice venue for a wedding!


Then we entered the formal dining room. Its walls were graced with very large paintings.

The young girl on the left of this large family portrait evidently fell down the stairs to her death after she caught her father involved in a little hanky-panky with one of the servants. It surprised and shocked her so much she went running down the stairs and tripped.

She is quite an active ghost according to the siting’s our tour guide shared. At the time of her death, she wasn’t much older than she was in the painting. You might notice in the upper left-hand corner of the painting behind her that the canvas looks very dark, almost black.  That’s because the father had been standing behind her and her mother in the painting, but after his dastardly deed, which caused the death of his daughter, he was painted over and blacked out of the portrait!


The tour was great and it was nice to see the rest of the castle and hear more about its history.  Before we left the following morning we also visited the Clan Davidson library.

It was filled to the brim with all manner of Davidson family history, stories about its inhabitants and a ton of old photos.

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It had been a fun-filled day walking down memory lane in our ancestral home.

Attitude of Gratitude ~ Getting to retrace ancestral ties with Lindsay in Dingwall like we did so many years ago was a real treat and we are both so grateful we had the opportunity to do it. We both love our heritage and our roots are dear to us so it’s a blessing to us both to get to be together remembering them all and keeping them alive in our hearts and minds.



Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

One thought on “Dingwall & Tulloch Castle (hint: click on this title to go directly to the post at WordPress)”

  1. Never get tired of Dingwall as it seems like home every time we’ve pulled into town. So weird, finally through this blog I realized that Lindsay’s GGF was John Rose Frew where he was a great uncle to us. Duh! That’s how we are related. So simple!

    Liked by 1 person

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