A Day in the Life o National Trust Guide at Drum
by: Leighton, Marischal
I wis born in Dundee in 1930, bit ma folk war frae Steenhive originally.
My brither wis a teacher, an aa his pals war teachers, an they eesed tae
spikk aboot local history.They got rale heich aboot it whyles. I eesed tae sit
an listen tae this, an chip in, bit I wis ay telt tae shut ma moo. Fin I wis
younger, I sterted makkin slides o places aa ower Scotland that interestit
me, an I bocht a screen tae show them. I gied ae talk an folk enjoyed it, an
afore lang mair an mair folk asked me tae gie historical talks.
Ma wife noticed in the paper that they war needin guides at Drum, so I
phoned up an got the job. Amongst the guides at Drum ye’ll find an
ex-architect, a retired heid teacher, a toon councillor, a history student — aa
fowk wi an interest in the past. I wirk 3 efterneens a week, 4 oors each
efterneen. It’s nae jist a case o showin folk roon, I’ve bin dressed up as a
priest fur a mediaeval weddin in a historical play at the Castle, there’s ay
something different goin on.
The wirk’s seasonal, frae Easter tae October fin tourism’s busiest. I’ve deen
three seasons at Drum, an I’m still discoverin little things aboot it. It’s amazin
the information ye get frae fowk that come in. . . There wis a lady arrived
last year-an auld craitur she wis, oh, five feet naethin, an she come frae New
Zealand. She wis over 80. She’d bin a skiffie an Drum, an she left fin she
wis 16 year auld. She telt me a lot o different things, a maist interestin
wuniman tae spikk till.Visitors come frae aa ower the warld tae Drum, frae as
far awa as New Zealand and Australia, and the Irvine clan come frae
America-they usually come aroon August.
There wis a murder at Drum, bit nae ghosts. There’s only three tower hooses
like it in Scotland. Ye can see a very distinct mark far the different phases o
the buildin have been. There’s the 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th, and 19th
centuries. Ye can wauk through the centruies, in effect. I made a little
drawin tae show fowk how it wis built up.Then, there’s the nursery...
quines like that. The loons like tae see the dungeon. There’s nae an actual
dungeon, bit there is fit’s caad the pit. Noo, this pit, strange as it may seem,
is ahin the waa in the draain room. There’s a trap door in fit’s now the
manager’s bathroom, and that’s the entrance intae the pit.
Drum is very old the De Irwins war armourers and secretaries tae De Brus. . .
that in itsel sets it aside. It’s aulder than Crathes.The Burnetts o Crathes bedd
in a crannog till 400 years ago (a crannog’s a man-made island) in the
middle o the loch o Leys. I love tae wauk up the drive at Drum. I’ve seen
buzzards in the wids and ye can hear them they’ve a typical call ‘Wee kee
kee kee’. They’re affa distinctive fin ye see them fleein. And I’ve
seen kestrels. The commonest birds wad be the chaffinches and rooks.
Michty, yer deaved wi them at nicht! It’s deefenin! There’s literally thoosans o
them a very big colony. As I said, I love tae wauk up the drive at Drum. Ye can jist imagine the past comin alive!