Ghostly goings-on at the Loretto Lecture.
Co-Founder of Edinburgh’s legendary ‘Cadies and Witchery Tours’ and the original Adam Lyal (deceased), Robin Mitchell, described his recent visit to Loretto School to deliver the Loretto Lecture as 'a real joy'.
In front of a packed audience, Robin's theme for the evening was 'crossroads' (and we're not talking about the 1970s British television soap opera based in a Midlands motel). His 'crossroads' related to people who were important and pivotal in the formation and continual development of the Cadies and Witchery Tours since its inception in 1984. Explaining that this was not an exact science, Robin selected eight key people or 'crossroads' during his lecture at the historic Painted Gallery in Pinkie House at Loretto School.
Robin's eight 'crossroads' were his parents Rollo and May Mitchell (fairly important to him being there), inspiring high school history teacher Mrs Leitch, hotelier Mr Gourlay (who encouraged Robin to apply to college in Edinburgh), friend and colleague Ruari Mackenzie (whose flat served as the business' first headquarters in 1984), fellow co-founder Colin Macphail (a partner until 1992), restaurateur James Thomson (from The Witchery restaurant), filmmaker Jim Hickey (co-producer with Robin on a number of films) and theatre impresario Liam Rudden (Director of a successful series of plays based on Robin's debut children's book, Princess Pumpalot).
The lecture was a finely tuned mix of business development, historical stories and tour anecdotes mixed with Robin explaining how his activities have diversified over the years from walking tours to publishing books, producing films and writing plays. During the lecture there were a few timely surprises in the form of the Caddies and Witchery Tours’ very own 'jumper ooter', Cameron Pirie. It's fair to say that this is the first time the Mad Monk of the Cowgate has visited Loretto School!
Guests attending the lecture were greeted at the entrance to Pinkie House by Loretto School prefects and two talented Loretto pipers, Chris and James.
The event was organised by Loretto School’s Communications Director Jonathan Hewat, who commented, “Robin Mitchell is a captivating and highly amusing speaker. His lecture, complete with unexpected twists and ‘jumper ooters’, kept us all on our toes and in fits of laughter. Robin also brought along a fascinating gory relic from the capital's grim past. This original artefact is a small calling-card case made out of the skin of the notorious "bodysnatcher" William Burke. This was something very special and not something one would see close-up every day. We are most grateful to Robin for a wonderful evening’s entertainment.”
Previous speakers at the now well-established Lecture Series have included peace activist Colin Parry, Edinburgh artist Richard Demarco, former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore, and broadcaster and journalist Lesley Riddoch.