For exclusive Scottish tours, email info@catswhiskerstours.co.uk or visit my website.


FIVE DAY SCOTLAND TOUR

Monday, August 14, 2006

DAY 1. AUGUST 9TH

Collect Edinburgh hotel. To Castle Campbell via the Forth Bridge. Castle Campbell is set high up in the hills overlooking the village of Dollar. The castle is a semi-ruin with a fascinating history (Clan Campbell) and superb views. Its off the main tourist trail because the road is too narrow for coaches. Good photo opps. On through Perthshire to the Dupplin Crosss Dunning is of historic interest in its own right as confirmed by evidence of hill forts and 117 acre Roman marching camp of the 1st century AD.The church (now a museum) is named after the 5th/6th century Saint named St. Serf. On to Stirling Castle which is one of Scotland's most splendid castles and was a long time favourite of the Stewart kings and queens. Close by is the memorial to William Wallace ("Braveheart") who defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. On to the West Coast to Port Appin and the Airds Hotel This is a superb luxury small hotel with good food and seafront location. Nearby is Castle Stalker which is located just offshore on a small island. Good photo opps with benefit an evening rainbow. Enjoy Scotland's heritage with catswhiskerstours

Day 2

Head north to Glencoe. Site of famous (or infamous!) massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells in 1692. Good visitor centre which also the covers the local environment and geology. A drive through the village of Glencoe where the museum has a traditional thatched roof. On to Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in 1745 and raised his standard with aim of taking back the British throne. Scenic drive to Mallaig, a coastal fishing village for the ferry to Skye. At Mallaig railway station is the 'Harry Potter' steam train. A 25 min ferry trip (mini cruise) to Armadale on Skye ('Winged or Divided Isand') where we visit the Clan Donald Centre where the museum offers an interesting insight into local histry, Clan history, social conditions and emigration to US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand which occurred in the 19th and 18th centuries. On to the pretty harbour town of Portree ('Harbour of the Slope') where stay overnight at the Cullin Hills Hotel, Portree. For a clan history based tour contact catswhiskerstours

Day 3

To Isle of Skye Craft, Torvaig which specialises in Cross Stich Kits, Knitting Wool and Haberdashery. Drive on through magnificent scenery to Dunvegan Castle, home of the MacLeod chiefs for 800 years. The inside is very interesting with the family history dating back to 1200 AD, ancient fabric and an equally ancient royal charter. After Dunvegan Castle we drive on through the spectacular scenery (ancient volcanoes) over the bridge to the mainland and to Eilean Donan Castle via the Kyles of Lochalsh. Eilean Donan is possibly the most photgraphed castle in the world. Today's castle rose from the ruins of its predecessors dating back to at least the 13th century.This castle featured in the Highlander, a film starring Sean Connery. The castle is home to Clan MacRae. Visit Scottish castles with catswhiskerstours

During the day we try to locate the distillery which produces Balvinie whisky. We track it down to Dufftown in Banffshire but, incredibly, it is not in the phone book! Following further research we ascertain that it is connected to Glenfiddich on 0134082000. Tours of Balvinie last 3 hours (max 8 persons) and occur at 1000 and 1400 daily Monday-Thurs and Friday at 1000. Cost is GBP20 per person. Visit Scotland's Distilleries with catswhiskerstours

After Eilean Donan we drive on to Loch Ness and the famous Castle Urquhart which is an interesting ruin which offers superb views/photo opps of Loch Ness.

On to Inverness (capital of the Highlands) and overnight at the Glenmoriston Town House which offers a very high standard of accommodation and cuisine. Most of the staff are French speaking.

Day 4

From Inverness we drive down to Perthshire, noting a subtle change in scenery and colours, less rugged than Skye. Drive through Aviemore in the Cairngorms and avail of some photo opps en-route. On to Pitlochry and Edradour Distillery where we enjoy a 45 min tour of Scotland's smallest distillery. This is very good value, especially as there is no charge! Lunch at the Moulin Inn (est.1695) where we are able to sit outside Then a relaxing walk through Pitlochry undertaking a spot of shopping in this very popular town.

Then a tour of the Tay valley, through Dalguise (Beatrix Potter connection) to Aberfeldy (where Highland Games were in process) then past Croft Moraig Stone Circle to Taymouth Castle (where Queen Victoria took her honeymoon) and Kenmore. At Kenmore we visit the hotel (Scotland's oldest Inn dating to 1572) where there is inscribed on the wall over the fireplace a genuine poem by Robert Burns. Dinner at the hotel restaurant, overlooking the river Tay and then back to Pitlochry after a drive past of the Crannog Centre, Note that Kenmore means 'Big Headland' and that Kenmore has a namesake in New York State. Overnight at Wellwood House, Pitlochry, an intriguing former magnificent private residence whose proprietor has sailed the Atlantic no less than three times and written a book on the subject. Visit Perthshire with catswhiskerstours

Day 5

We head east, firstly to Leuchars which, incredibly, sits in the centre of an Air Force base and then to the Holy Grail of golf at St. Andrews. A quick visit to the Old Course for some photos and souvenir purchases. On to the the East Neuk with its ancient volcanic history and picturesque fishing villages at Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St. Monans (historic church), Elie and Lower Largo. The latter is where Alexander Selkirk, the role model for Robinson Crusoe was born in 1676 and where there is a statue in commemoration of the castaway. Excellent seafood lunch at the Craw's Nest Hotel, Anstruther. As we are making good time we are able to visit Dunfermline Abbey which dates back to 1072 and was the centre of the Scottish Royal establishment until 1603 when James VI moved to London upon the merger of the crowns of Scotland and England. This is also where Robert the Bruce is buried. A fascinating site being part living church, part museum , part ruin. Well worth a visit. Good views and photo opps. Nearby is the Andrew Carnegie museum. Photograph and enjoy Scotland with catswhiskerstours

Back to Edinburgh hotel in time for a rest and an evening meal


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Highland Games

Monday, August 07, 2006

Scotland's oldest national sport is on the wane-in its land of origin.

Whilst events like caber-tossing, shot-putting and hammer-throwing are growing in popularity elsewhere in the world, the sports and gatherings where they are practised are in decline in Scotland. There is a risk that all but the largest events could die out.This is attributabe to lack of interest in the younger generation in turn due to youngsters' ingnorance of these sports and a shortage of experts to train them.

Some experts claim that the games were invented by the tribe of the Scotti in pre-Christian Ireland and subsequently migrated to Scotland.

There are 120 Highland Games associations in Scotland. Over the past 8 years Games have lapsed at the rate of one per year. Conversely, there is strong interest in North America where there are 300 events, often attracting 50,000 people, the biggest being at Grabdfather Mountain, North Carolina.

Visit Highland Games and other aspects of Scotland with catswhiskerstours

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Highland Clearances Revisited

Sunday, August 06, 2006

More than a century ago people were evicted from rural Scottish communities to make way for sheep, which were considered more profitable. There is now evidence that this trend is being reversed with latest figures showing that Highlands and Islands lost nearly 100,000 sheep annually for 5 years. In context of a total flock of 8 million this may not seem material but farmers are concerned with the long-term trend which may result in a major reduction in high hill sheep farming within 10 years. This trend is aggravated by the average age of sheep farmers-60 years. There is a multiplier affect on the local economy because fewer sheep results is loweer demand for abbattoir services, vets and markets.However, there is some good news in that the increase in cattle numbers compensate for the reduction in sheep.Visit rural Scotland with catswhiskerstours

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Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was borne one of 11 children in the Townhead area of Glasgow. From these beginnings he has become one of the most celebrated architects of his generation.

He met Margaret Macdonald, his future wife, at Glasgow School of Art and much of his output reflects their artistic collaboration. Particularly noticeable is his masterful handling of light and space, his skilful use of colour, and his much celebrated treatment of the room as a complete "work of art". Many of his pieces of furniture have themselves become icons.

Mackintosh took his inspiration from our Scottish traditions and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of Japanese forms. Much of his work survives.It can be seen today alongside that of of his close collaborators in the group known as the "The Four" and the other artists and designers who collectively created the "Glasgow Style".

For more information contact the Society

Here is a summary of a Glasgow based Mackintosh tour.

1. WEST END

Mackintosh House, University of Glasgow www.hunterian.gla.ac.uk

Interior of 6 Florentine Terrace, meticulously reassembled within the University's Art Gallery. Three rooms and related furniture. Florentine Terrace was a prestigious address and the home of Mackintosh and Macdonald from 1906-1914. The original building was demolished but the interior has been recreated a block away from the original.

2. CENTRAL GLASGOW

217 Sauchiehall Street. Here are the famous Willow Tea Rooms www.willowtearooms.co.uk
'Sauchiehall' means 'alley of the willows' and throughout the rooms Mackintosh used the Willow motif.

Catherine Cranston effectively invented the Glasgow tearoom phenomenon. She filled the need for a miniature social centre which served many social purposes including, uniquely, provision of ladies' rooms where respectable women could meet at a time when women without men in the urban scene was frowned upon.

For 21 years Mackintosh was Catherine Cranston's designer, from 1897. At Buchanan Street he designed murals around George Walton furniture. At Argyle Street it was his loose furniture and light fittings within Walton's interior scheme.

At Ingram Street he designed his first complete room, where from 1900, he remodelled interiors over 12 years.

Finally, in 1903-4 at Sauchiehall Street, he did the complete interiors and front facade of the building Miss Cranston bought in 1901.

At the McLellan Galleries www.glasgowmuseums.com can be found the Mackintosh Room.

At the Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street www.gsa.ac.uk Mackintosh completely revised a new western end which was finished in 1909 when he was 41. This is his masterpiece; it has been hailed as the most important building worldwide in that decade. the north facade exactly reflects the internal plan of the building, resulting in a masterpiece of balanced asymmetry. The entrance is at the centre of the bulding.

3. SOUTH SIDE OF GLASGOW

Scotland Street School Museum www.glasgowmusuems.com. This is viewed from the exterior. This was Mackintosh's last public commission in Glasgow. Mackintosh reversed tradition and gave the towers with conical roofs walls of glass with narrow stone mullions. Instead of spiral stairs he used straight flights which benefited from the light which streams into them. Mackintosh played off the verticality of the towers against the horizontal nature of the rest of the building.

At Bellahouston Park is found the House for an Art Lover www.houseforanartlover.co.uk

For 90 years the plans for this building were unrealised. but in 1989 Graham Roxburgh,an engineer had the idea to build it. Rooms include thye Main Room, Dining Room, Oval Room, Music Room, and the Margaret Macdonald Room.

For a tour of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh contact catswhiskerstours

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Ossian's Hall (The Hermitage )

This was built in 1775 near Dunkeld, Perthshire and features regularly in tours provided by catswhiskerstours

It is a charming garden folly that was created to enhance the human experience of the power of nature. A circular building with an opening out onto a balcony, it sits atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Black Linn Falls on the River Braan.The Hall is surrounded by spectacularly tall Douglas firs making the location one of the most visually stunning in Perthshire.

The Hall is subject of a conservation project which aims to restore this popular building which atrracts 250,000 visitors each year and provides excellent photo opportunities.

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Domesday Book

The famous Domesday Book, which provides a snapshot of 11th. century England, went on-line Aug 4th 2006. This was an inventory commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1085 following his 1066 invasion of England. Curiously, the whole of London and Winchester were omitted; some speculate that the statisticians of the day could not cope with the sheer volume of data. Research capabilty is currently restricted to a place name or person. Website is www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/domesday
For historical themed tours contact catswhiskerstours

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Edinburgh Fringe

Official 2006 opening August 6th. For the ensuing three weeks, Edinburgh will host 1,800 shows and 16,000 artists.This is the world's largest arts festival entailing a record-breaking line-up of 1867 shows spread across 261 venues in the City. All of this activity places extreme pressure on existing facilities; the 16,990 performers have been forced into all sorts of contortions resulting in a number of improvised venues,viz:
- A show named Metamorphoses will take place in a hotel swimming pool.

-Some productions have found space in a rented bus.

- A Midsummernights Tree will present acrobatics and a caberet in a tree in Belgrave Crescent Gardens.

More facts:

-Theatre comprises approximately one third of the programme, just ahead of comedy.

-It would take 5 years, 11 months and 16 days to see each performance back-to-back at a cost of about GBP14,000 ($26,000).

-There will be 28,014 performances, 94 pct more than 10 years ago.

Edinburgh and environs regularly features in bespoke tours provided by catswhiskerstours

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Cat's Whiskers Restaurant

Friday, August 04, 2006

Received the following "blurb" via e-mail. This restaurant is at opposite end of the country to catswhiskerstours I always associate Torquay with Basil Fawlty but I am sure the waiters at the restaurant don't come from Barcelona!

THE CAT'S WHISKERS RESTAURANT
Upton Road
Brunswick Square
Torquay
Devon
TQ1 4AB
01803 389532
claireclarkekitty@yahoo.co.uk

We are a Modern Restaurant with Traditional Values, Traditional Home Baked Produce and ALWAYS a Traditional Welcome.

Our premises is a Traditional Georgian House, circa 1853, with a modern, light and spacious interior.

We make everything ourselves, on the premises, and keep a real emphasis on quality and value for money.

We can offer, for groups of up to 40, Cream Teas, Light Lunches, Evening Meals, Afternoon 'High Tea' and Sunday Lunches.

CREAM TEA
Two Scones, Clotted Cream, Jam and Tea or Coffee
£3.00 per person

LIGHT LUNCHES
Sandwiches served with salad
£2.25 per person
Pasties, Jacket Potatoes, French Bread Pizza, Savoury Croissants, Omelettes
All served with salad
£2.95 per person
Plated Salads
£3.95 per person
Ploughmans Platter
£4.95 per person

AFTERNOON 'HIGH TEA'
A selection of Sandwiches and a selection of Cakes served with Tea or Coffee
£5.00 per person

EVENING MEALS
1 course ~ £4.95 / £2.95
2 courses ~ £6.95 / £4.95
3 courses ~ £8.95 / £6.95
Starters~ Soup of the Day, Garlic Mushrooms, Tomato Bruschetta, Prawn Cocktail, Cheese Ravioli, Potato Wedges & Dips
Mains~ Sausage & Mash, Ham; Tomato & Mushroom Pasta Bake, The Cat's Whiskers Burger, Chicken with BBQ Sauce, Roasted Onion, Fish Pie, Lamb Meatball Platter, Chilli, Stuffed Peppers, Cauliflower & Broccoli Gratin, Scampi, The 'Purr'fect Platter
Desserts~ We have a daily desserts board and selection of cakes

SUNDAY ROAST
Adult £4.95
Smaller Portion £2.95
Beef or Turkey, Boiled & Roast Potatoes, a selection of Vegetables, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Yorkshire Pudding
Vegetarian Option always available
Starters or Sweets
All at £1.95 each

BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL

We offer a 10% discount on group bookings of 10 people or more!!!

We are situated on the corner of Newton Road and Upton Road.
There is a car park on Brunswick Square or a Coach Station offering parking for coaches on Lymington Road.

Hope to see you soon!!
Claire Clarke & Julie Turley

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Glasgow and the Tobacco Industry

Thursday, August 03, 2006

At the start of the 18th century Glasgow was a poor town on the wrong side of a poor, isolated country on the fringes of Europe but by the end of the century had been transformed to become the second city of an empire at the forefront of a new industrial society. Key influences on the city’s growth were (a) collapse of the Darien scheme in the 1690s (a failed colony in Panama) which effectively bankrupted the Scottish ruling class and (b) union with England in 1707 which immensely benefited the ruling class.

Colonial trade drove the transformation of Glasgow between 1740 and 1775 but, above all, the trade in tobacco made much of the Glasgow we see today. This trade was inextricably linked with slavery and the slave trade. Glasgow found its niche by directly supplying the American colonies with manufactured goods, linen cloth and iron, without which they could not survive. The ships returned to Britain with colonial goods, mainly tobacco from mainland Maryland and Virginia but also sugar and other exotic products of slavery from the Caribbean islands.

Access to the (British) empire transformed Glasgow’s isolated position. The city’s north westerly location proved a disadvantage for African slave voyages but proved a positive advantage when travelling to the American colonies.

As the big slave plantations on the coast of the Americas were owned or controlled by English merchants the Scots were forced to work with the smaller tobacco plots further up the Chesapeake river. Playing the role of middlemen, the Scots exchanged tobacco for manufactured goods from the growers or agents and then sold on, mainly to the French market.

In the 1770s Glasgow controlled over half of all the British trade in tobacco, which made up over one third of Scotland’s imports and over half its exports. This trade was immensely profitable as a consequence of which the tobacco traders soon became some of the richest men in the world.

The colonial trade led directly to the development of industry on Scotland’s west coast, e.g. shipyards, rope works, leather works and sugar refineries.

Tobacco was so central to Glasgow’s economy that almost every Provost of Glasgow (Civic Head of the Council) had tobacco merchant interests. Tobacco merchants set up a number of banks in order to deal with their bills of trading. The Scottish banking system grew as a direct result of the tobacco trade. In 1775 the trade collapsed due to the American Revolution. The former colonies, now free of the obligation to transport goods in British ships, simply by-passed Glasgow and sold directly to the European markets. Whilst this marked the end of the Tobacco Lords era, the emergence of the cotton industries and improvements to the steam engine would see the city grow larger and wealthier as the industrial revolution of the 19th century took Glasgow to greater heights.

Some Leading Tobacco Barons and their influence on Glasgow

George Buchanan was the second son of Provost Andrew Buchanan, one of the famous “Virginia Dons”. The eldest son, James was Provost of Glasgow twice. These gentlemen had large plantations in Virginia, then under the British Crown, from which province came the greatest proportion of tobacco imported by the merchants of Glasgow.

George Buchanan (B 1728 D 1762) built, prior to his death at age 34, with the profits from the Virginia trade a spacious town mansion at the head of Virginia Street. It was one of the most splendid private residences then in Glasgow, and was designated the “Virginia Mansion”. The Corinthian hospitality suite now occupies this site.

Andrew Buchanan was born 1725 and died about 1783. He forsook the family malt business for the tobacco industry which had enriched his three uncles, as it proved an unlucky choice! He was head of two great Virginia houses Buchanan Hastie & Co., and Andrew Buchanan & Co., and in 1777, in the crash of the American revolt, both fell and he was utterly ruined. James Buchanan was also a partner with his cousin Andrew in Buchanan Hastie & Co., and a was also ruined in 1777.

Neil Buchanan was also a Virginia merchant and Member of Parliament. His plantations adjoined that of the elder brother of George Washington, on the banks of the Potomac, in Virginia.

John Glassford (1715-1783) was one of the most prominent and prosperous of the Scottish “tobacco lords”. He was a leading force in the establishment of Glasgow as an international trading centre. By the latter part of the 18th century, Glassford controlled a major portion of the Chesapeake tobacco trade despite never having travelled to America. Represented by agents or factors, Glassford established a system of branch stores along the Potomac River for the purpose of purchasing tobacco directly from planters. By this direct method of purchase Glassford and his associates were able to pay higher prices for tobacco than English consignment merchants. While higher prices brought the Scottish firm new customers, its ability to extend credit and provide planters with consumer goods helped to ensure its domination of the Chesapeake tobacco trade. The sale of goods such hardware, rum, wine, sugar, salt, and slaves became a major source of revenue for the branch stores.

Glassford and Company operated stores in Maryland at Baltimore, Benedict, Bladensburg, Chaptico, Georgetown, Leonardtown, Llewellin’s Warehouse, Lower Marlboro, Newport, Nottingham, Piscataway, and Upper Marlboro.

In Glassford and Company’s most successful years, those prior to the American Revolution, the company owned a fleet of 25 ships and imported 10pct of all tobacco received by Great Britain. The value of Glassford’s yearly imports over this period has been estimated to be in excess of £500,000.

Banking

The Ship bank was established in 1749 and was the first of the Scottish provincial banking companies to be formed in Glasgow. It was previously known as Dunlop, Houston & Co, after the principal partners, but derived its more commonly used name from the motif on its notes of a ship in full sail.

This was a partnership-not limited liability-comprising six members of Glasgow’s wealthy merchant elite who had made their fortunes from the tobacco and West Indian trades. Andrew Buchanan was one of the founding partners.

Despite strong competition from the two Edinburgh banks the Ship Bank managed to establish itself and by 1752 recorded circulation of £41,438 and a net profit of £2,163. By 1761 the comparative figures were £82,331 and £12,900.

The original partnership ended in 1775 by which time Andrew Buchanan and two other founding partners were dead and two new partners had been admitted. There seems to have been a lapse in the partnership for a time, perhaps as a result of the devastating impact of the American Wars of Independence on Glasgow’s tobacco trade.

The impact of the American War on Glasgow’s tobacco trade was lessened by the development of trade in the alternative commodities of sugar and rum, and this recovery is reflected in the figures of the Ship Bank’s balance sheets where total footings rose from £120,352 in 1777 to £346,638 in 1792.

The partnership went through various changes eventually merging with the Glasgow Banking Company in 1836 to fend off competition from the large-scale joint stock banks. The merged entity was named Glasgow Ship Bank was initially established as a partnership of 28. The new bank was acquired by the Union Bank of Scotland in 1843 -and hence a link with the Corinthinian.

Glasgow’s Merchant City

This lies at the heart of Glasgow’s City Centre, where historically the tobacco lairds and traders which once made Glasgow the Second City of the (British) Empire came to do business, socialise and build their townhouses and later their warehouses. This area still possesses a remarkable consistency of materials and rhythm and demonstrates a strong civic pride through the number of buildings adorned with carved coats of arms. Despite the area falling victim to the inner city obsolescence that afflicted many parts of urban Britain in the 20th Century, the Merchant City became the scene of a remarkable public sector led renaissance during the 1980s.

Note particular street names:

  • Virginia Street (Tobacco/Colony/State)
  • Jamaica Street (Sugar)
  • Glassford Street (John Glassford, a Tobacco Baron )
  • Buchanan Street (Andrew Buchanan, member of family of Tobacco Barons)
  • Dunlop Street (Colin Dunlop, Virginia Merchant and founding partner in the Ship Bank.)

Specific Places of Interest

Virginia Galleries

Originally the Tobacco Exchange 1819, later the Sugar Exchange.

Unfortunately, the building was demolished in Sept 2003 and the site is now vacant pending redevelopment. Virginia Street is at the heart of the estates of the former tobacco lords. Laid out in 1753, the street was originally terminated by the Virginia Mansions at its north end.

The Corinthian, 191 Ingram Street

Built by David Hamilton in 1842 on the site of The Virginia Mansion, and remodelled in 1876 by James Burnett, Corinthian is one of Glasgow’s most stunning buildings, both internally and externally. This beautiful Merchant City building originally housed the Glasgow Ship Bank, which merged, with Glasgow Union Bank to create the Union Bank of Scotland and its head office was situated in the building for 73 years. Over this period many of its wonderful sculptures and features were added to the building by highly acclaimed architects and artists such as James Salmon, John Thomas and James Ballantine.

The Corinthian is ‘Grade A’ listed and boasts some magnificent features including an Italian Roman Doric pilastrade, modillion cornice, balustraded die parapet, free standing classical figures and James Salmon’s spectacular Telling Room which now houses a bar with a 26 foot glass dome which is generally regarded as one of the UK’s finest Victorian interiors.

In 1929 the building was converted into the City’s High Court and many of the building’s finest features were hidden from the public’s eye behind false walls and ceilings. The launch of the Corinthian in its present form heralded the first time that the building has been seen in its full glory for over 40 years.

Candleriggs Warehouses

Much altered examples of warehouses from c1790 survives at 1-15 and 4-69 Candleriggs.

Tobacco Merchant’s House, Miller Street

Fuelled by the tobacco trade, its merchant lairds built villas along Argyle Street’s issue in to the countryside from the termination of Trongate. These extended north into streets such as Miller Street, where both architectural and residential regulations protected amenity. Today a single villa from the 1770s survives.

For a guide walking tour of Glasgow's links with the tobacco industry contact catswhiskerstours

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Scotland's Forth Bridges

The rail bridge was the product of the design team of Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker and the construction skills of Sir William Arrol. It cost GBP320m in today's money (about $600m) . It took seven years to build from 1883 and was hailed as a wonder of the world in its day. The technology was leading edge in that (a) it was the world's largest cantilever bridge and (b) used what was then a new material-steel.

To construct the foundation piers on the seabed, 90ft below the surface of the water, took three years, followed by a further four years to complete the structure as seen today. The workforce amounted to 5000 men, toiling from 90ft below the water to 361ft above it of which at least 63 men lost their lives. For more information refer Forthbridges

The sister road bridge is suffering from corrosion and may have to be closed to traffic, possibly within 13 years. A replacement bridge is in the planning stage but government authorties have held back authorising a new build, which will be hugely expensive project.

A Japanese team from Nippon Steel are undertaking an evaluation to determine if a system can be designed to halt the corrosion of the bridge's main cables via a process which will blast the cables with warm air to dry them out. Engineers from the U.S. are also part of the team. There is a budget of GBP12m for the dehumidification process. The bridge operator is of the view that a second road bridge will still have to be built because it could be five years before the outcome of the repair process is known, by which time it would be too late to order a replacement crossing in time for closure of the existing bridge.

For a panoramic view of the bridges see website

Contact catswhiskerstours
if you are intersted in Scottish architecture or engineering or a conventional tour.

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Clan Renwick

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The name comes from Cumberland (England) , originally Raveneswic (dairy farm of an Anglo-Saxon called Raven), on the east side of the river Eden. James Renwick, the covenanter, was the last man executed (1688) for religious principles in Scotland-he was beheaded in Grassmarket Square, Edinburgh. John Runnick is recorded in Dalzell-Kittimure in 1634, Robert Rinnick in Stanehouse in 1657, Robert Rinnick in Dalzell-Kittimure in 1686 and Robert Rennick in Newbigging 1687. There is an ancient and rare Renwick tartan which may imply a link to a Clan.
Catswhiskerstours
has links with genealogists and can provide ancestry based tours.

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Scotland's Population

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Aided by movement from the rest of the U.K.,Scotland's population rose in 2005 by more than 16,400 to 5,094,800 against the previous trend of slow decline from the early 1970s. The biggest increases have been in West Lothian, East Lothian and Stirling. The largest decreases occurred in the western Isles, Aberdeen city and Inverclyde. Scotland's population is projected to rise to 5.13M by 2019 and then fall below 5M in 2036. Enjoy the empty spaces of Scotland with catswhiskerstours

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Scotland's Defining Moment

A new four-part BBC series is to establish Scotland's defining moment. This will be shown in the autumn (fall) of 2006 and may include such landmarks as:
  • Act of Union
  • Robert the Bruce's victory at Bannockburn
  • World War 1 (per head of population more Scots died than any other nation)
Visit Bannockburn and other famous sites with catswhiskerstours

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Roman Britain: Archaeology

A recent press report suugests that two imperial busts from Lullingstone Roman Villa in Kent are of Pertinax, an obscure governor of Roman Britain who reigned briefy in AD192, and his father, Publius Helvius Successus. Pertinax acceded after the murder of Commodus but was mudered on the Palatine Hill in Rome. There is speculation that Lullingstone served as a luxurious retreat for the governor.The bust was damaged by as a result of damnatio memoriae by soldiers who resented his discipline. Another report speculates that Fishbourne Palace was built not for Togidubnus or Togodumnus around the time of the Roman invasion of AD 43 but for Lucullus around AD90, in the reign of Domitian. For tours of Roman Britain contact Catswhiskerstours

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