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 is blessed with many large meta menardi. These 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.
Colin 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.