In 1974 I went on a tour of Scotland with friends from our Scout Troop, ostensibly to look for new camp sites for our troop. We were travelling in a Ford Zephyr Executive, automatic 2994cc V6 engine 140bhp, my first car. It had black leather upholstery and was a dream to drive.
When in Aberdeenshire we came upon Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside. We were not really bothered about the royal family much, but as we were in the area we thought we would pop in to see them for a visit.
We arrived at the gateway, which was completely open and we were surprised that there was no one around, so we decided to enter and follow the drive up to the castle’s front door. We felt sure that someone would intercept us long before we reached the castle, but to our surprise we were able to breeze right up to the door way and park.
We all got out and wandered up to the large wooden front door, knocked and waited for someone to answer. No one came and we knocked again a bit louder, just to make sure, but again there was no answer. We had a look through the front windows, but couldn’t see any signs of life.
We then just explored around the outside of the building and came across a roe deer statue, which is a location that the royal family had previously, and in the future, been photographed along side. We felt a bit royal that day, so decided to take our photo in front of the deer. You can see our photo sandwiched between an early photo of King George, Queen Elisabeth, Princess Elisabeth, Prince Phillip, possibly Princess Margaret and Baby Prince Charles, and a later photo of Prince Charles, Princess Diana and baby Prince William.
After an interesting wander round the entire castle looking in windows and being amazed at the fact we could actually do this, we went off and had a picnic nearby.
In those early days of the 1970s the idea of terrorists was not so prevalent and security was certainly much more relaxed. I have never returned to Royal Deeside, but I imagine the security ill be a lot more obvious, perhaps starting at the gate!
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