I’ve enjoyed working on this illuminated short story collection so far. The only part I didn’t fancy was descending into the prison pit at Dundonald Castle. But as this is where the second of the Dundonald Tales takes place, I didn’t have much choice. Photos had to be taken.

Thankfully, Colin, our guide, was happy to point out where the cave spiders were lurking as I climbed down the vertical stepladder into the bowels of the castle.

Dundonald Castle Dungeon PitDundonald Castle is blessed with many large meta menardiThese orb-weaving arachnids are about 1.5cm long with a leg span of around 6cm. Their impressive egg sacs dangle from the roof on a length of silk up to 2cm long.

IMG_2666 (Edited).JPGColin assured us that they really were gentle giants, though. Well, unless you dangle an ultraviolet light into the pit. In that case, you do not want to be a midgie.

However, it was worth The Fear. The lovely American visitor, who had just graduated from college, turned away to avoid face-planting a bundle of egg sacs. As she did so, her shadow threw the most creepy of shapes onto the back wall of the dungeon.


‘That’ll do me,’ I thought.

I took the shot and clambered up the ladder.

Mind you, I am glad I did it. And I will neither confirm nor deny reports that I squawked like a monkey at a huuuuge hairy spider that turned out to be, in actual fact, a rubber replica hiding in the corner.

2 thoughts on “Ablow Stairs: The things we writers do in the name of research…

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