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Classic Scotland Tour

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Here are some interesting images of a classic tour of Scotland.

Firstly, here is Glasgow and the Clyde taken from atop the Science Centre Tower-a great view when the visibility is right.

Piper at Blair Castle, Perthshire
Blair Castle. Very well managed and conveniently situated on the main A9 tourist route. Here is based Britain's only private army, the Atholl Highlanders which owes allegiance to the Duke of Atholl.

Fishing on the River Tay in Perthshire.

Cawdor Castle near Inverness. This has loose connections with the Thane of Cawdor (Shakespeare's Macbeth).

Garden at Cawdor. Very vibrant in early summer.

Maze at Cawdor
Glenfarg community garden-small but perfectly formed!
This is Balmoral, a private home of the British royal family. Only the gardens are open to the public during April-July.

More colorful gardens at Balmoral
View of Balmoral

View of River Dee near Balmoral in the Highlands

East Coast fishing village-great for photos and artists.

Here is the famous Old Course at St. Andrews, home of golf

Here are some views of Stirling Castle. I think this is one of the best in Scotland. Lots of interesting architecture reflecting history as a royal palace.

View from Stirling Castle looking towards the Wallace Monument and the Ochills.

Scottish Parliament building. Very controversial design. Explore inside and out and make your own judgement.

National Gallery, Edinburgh. Designed by William Playfair 1845

View of Princes Street, Edinburgh with Calton Hill in the background.

Linlithgow Palace. Close connection s with Scottish royalty including Mary Queen of Scots.Now a ruin.

Here is the outer gate.

The Great Hall
Gallery with Great Hall to the right.

Glenkinchie Distillery. This is conveniently located to the south of Edinburgh. Tours take about 1 hour and are good value.


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Old Course St.Andrews Tour

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

This evening I have gathered a few images of the famous Old Course at St. Andrews. This is the home of golf which has played in the locality since the 15th century.The building in the centre-left of the first image is the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.

Here is an image of play in progress on the Old Course. This is a public course and not owned by the club. Local residents enjoy rights to play.

View from the Royal & Ancient

Contact Catswhiskerstours for a golfing vacation


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Crail Tour East Neuk

Here are a couple of images of a very pretty East Neuk fishing village which is very popular with artists and photographers. There is an historic harbour ringed by quaint cottages with red pantiled roofs. It remains a 'live' fishing village and it is possible to purchase lobster and fresh crab at the harbour. Well worth a visit-but don't forget the camera.

Contact Catswhiskerstours for a tour of East Neuk and St Andrews.


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Glen Lyon Tour Perthshire Scotland

This afternoon I am presenting images of a Glen Lyon tour. This drive is something of a 'hidden gem' being relatively quiet and tucked away in the Central Highlands. This route is at its best in springtime/early summer but can be slow going owing to narrow, single track road. A good tour is to commence at Fortingall and then drive through the Glen over Ben Lawers to Killin with its famous falls. Great for photos.

Contact Catswhiskerstours for a guided tour of Scotland


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Paisley Abbey Tour

Monday, January 28, 2008

This evening I am marshalling some images of historic Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey was founded in 1163 by Walter Fitzalan who became High Steward of Scotland. The original priory subsequently became an abbey which was dedicated to St.Mary, St James, St.Martin and St.Milburga. William Wallace of 'Braveheart' fame may have been educated at Paisley Abbey in the 13th century.

Marjory Bruce, daughter of Robert the Bruce died in the Abbey infirmary in 1326 but her unborn son, Robert survived and became the first of the Stewart dynasty from which the British royal family is descended.

The Abbey sits in the center of the historic textile town and is well worth a visit.


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Dupplin Cross Tour

Today, I am presenting an image of the Dupplin Cross which is located in St Serf's Church, Dunning.

The church dates to the 13th century but there is a suggestion of a much earlier church on the site.

The Cross once stood in an open field near to nearby Forteviot (itself once the ancient capital of Scotland) and is an incredibly well preserved condition considering its exposure to the elements for over 1000 years.

The Cross dates from the 9th century and is heavily ornamented. It is believed that the main figure represented to be that of King Constantine, a Pictish king ( c 789-820 AD).

St Serf's Church is now a museum in which the Dupplin Cross is located.

Contact catswhiskerstours to tour Scotland and explore it's heritage and history.


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Housesteads Roman Fort Tour Hadrian's Wall

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This afternoon I have collated some images of a previous re-enactment tour.

Housesteads (Vercovicium) was originally built to house a 1000 strong cohort, possibly Tungrians. The fort is substantial, covering 5 acres ( 2.02 ha) and measures 367 by 610ft (112 by 186 m). It was one of 12 permanent forts added to the new frontier by Hadrian in about AD 124.

Here are a couple of marchers with an eminent archaeologist who happened to be visiting at the same time.

Here is image of a local, Housesteads tour guide in full flow.

Hypocaust system (under floor heating)
General view of the fort which sits atop a hill/escarpment upon which Hadrian's Wall is built.

Here are images of some visiting re-enactment soldiers.

Housesteads is a must for visitors to Hadrian's Wall. Access is via an uphill walk which takes about 10 minutes.


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Fortingall Tour

Today, I have collated some images of Fortingall, Perthshire.

This is a fascinating (quaint?) village with a history as a Christian centre dating back to around the 7th century. The name is first recorded as Forterkil derived from fortair (a stronghold) and cill ( a cell or church). However the valley has probably been inhabited for some 5000 years.

This celtic cross marks the small burial ground set aside in 1902 for the family of Sir Donald Currie.

Here is an image of the Fortingall yew, reputedly one of the oldest living organisms in Europe, and now a shadow if its former self, but still alive! In the background is the church which was rebuilt 1901-2.

Here is a standing stone dating from around 2000BC

Here is an image of the village which is set in a beautiful Highland Perthshire location.

Contact Catswhiskerstours for more information on a range of tour possibilities in Scotland


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Glasgow Scotland Photography Tour

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Today, I have collated some images of past photo tours of Glasgow.

This is a mix of old and new architecture taken at Southern Necropolis. 20th century and 18th century.

Southern Necropolis in the evening sun. Well worth a visit.
This apparently boring building is in fact one of the few remaining tenements in the notorious Gorbals district. The building is now a boarded up ruin.

This is the Caledonia Road Church which sits on the edge of the Gorbals.It was designed by Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 1856-57 but burned out by vandals in 1965.

The following are images form the Necropolis near Glasgow Cathedral.This is a memorial to the merchant patriarchs of Glasgow and contains the remains of almost every eminent Glaswegian of its day.

This is Glasgow Cathedral
Inside of the Glasgow Cathedral
Central Railway Station
View of the Clyde with 'Squinty Bridge'

View through the Squinty Bridge
View down the Clyde
Paddle Steamer Waverley
View of the Clyde taken from top of Science Centre Tower
Science Centre Tower

Glasgow has much for the photographer especially in the evening when the centre is lit up.


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Glamis Castle Tour

Friday, January 25, 2008

Today, I have collated some images of a tour of Glamis Castle. This is relatively close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow and well worth a visit. (Note that Glamis is pronounced Glarms.)

Glamis Castle for more than 600 years been associated with the Royal Family, ever since it was gifted to them by King Robert II in 1372.

The castle is set in delightful grounds with a small herd of photogenic Highland Cattle. Here are a few images.

Cattle sheltering from the sun.

View of gardens
View of Glamis Castle from approach road.


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Vindolanda Tour

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For Roman Britain enthusiasts Vindolanda is a 'must'.

The site is close to the line of Hadrian's Wall but pre-dates it. There is evidence to indicate that the Roman military were there from at least AD85.

The first fort was founded about AD85 and abandoned in about AD 92. The visible fort today dates from early 3rd century, covers 1.46ha (3.6acres) and occupies a prominent platform. It sits on a complex sequence of earlier forts.

Apart from a wealth of 'conventional' archaeology, Vindolanda is best known for a unique collection of writing tablets which have been preserved in the anaerobic conditions and afford us a unique insight into military records and day-to-day life.These tablets are now in the British Museum and have been-deservedly- voted one of Britain's top ten historical treasures.

For those with an interest in Roman Britain a visit to Vindolanda must rank as a priority. There is a very good museum on site.

Below are pics of the current site

Here is a view of a replica temple
This is a representation of a piece of of Hadrian's Wall
Archaeologists at work in site.

Contact Catswhiskerstours for a visit to Vindolanda


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Chedworth Roman Villa Tour

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This afternoon I am presenting few images from a recent visit to the famous Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, England

Roman Britain is one of my key passions and visitors should view the Roman tours section of my main website:

Most of Chedworth is enclosed Here is a pic of the hypocaust system-an early form of underfloor central heating.
Here is a mosaic for which Chedworth is famous.
Hopefully, in June I will be leading a Roman Britain tour which should yield many more images of villas and the like.


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St. Andrews Tour

Today, I am presenting images from a tour of St. Andrews. This is a very popular location with much to offer the visitor including: the famous Old Course (home of golf), a ruined castle and ruined cathedral. The city is located on the edge of the sea and the beaches featured in the opening scenes of the film Chariots of Fire.

Here is the famous Swilken Bridge where most visitors have their photo taken.

Here is the Old Course with Royal and ancient admin building.

Ruins of the cathedral
St Rules Church
View of castle with tide out
St. Andrews complements a trip along the quaint fishing villages of the Fife Coast. Absolutely great!


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Scotland Distillery Tour

Monday, January 21, 2008

This afternoon I have collected some images from a 2007 Whisky Tour centred on the Famous Grouse Distillery near Crieff in Perthshire.

Here is the group having some fun taking pics by a loch.

Here is a representation of the Famous Grouse

Here is the distillery. Shop, restaurant and a number of tours to choose from.

Here is the group enjoying some springtime sunshine

Colourful image of the burn running close to the Distillery. Lost of water is essential for the distilling process.

Overall, a good tour which took in lots of spectacular scenery in the Trossachs


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Bourton on the Water Tour

Today, I am collating images from a Cotswolds tour of 2007.

I like Bourton, it is where my wife and honeymooned many years ago. Very quaint-a river running through the centre of a historic and very picturesque little village. Well worth a visit.


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Cotswolds Tour

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Today, I have collated images from a tour of the Cotswolds undertaken in 2007.

Here is Anne Hathaway's Cottage, near Stratford upon Avon.
The cottage belonged to the prosperous Hathaway family and was the pre-marital home of William Shakespeare's wife, Anne.

Re-enactment life at Palmer's Farm

Theatre at Stratford
Here are some images of a walking tour around Oxford-Colleges, architecture, Inspector Morse and more...

Hypocaust system at Chedworth Roman Villa

Mosaic at Chedworth Roman Villa
View from Edgehill
Quaint cottage near Hidcote
Quaint cottage at Chipping Campden

Garden at Hidcote Manor

Hidcote Manor
Ancient market hall at Chipping Campden
Tower at Broadway
View from Broadway Tower
Chastleton House
Burford Church

English pub at Burford
Inside Stratford Church
Old Water Mill at Lower Slaughter
Church at Lower Slaughter
Lower Slaughter View
Bourton on the Water view

Shakespeare's Birthplace at Stratford

Shakespeare's old school at Stratford

Another image of Shakespeare's birthplace

Shakespeare's tomb at Stratford

This was a great tour. We stayed at a superb farmhouse B&B near Moreton in the Marsh.


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Croft Moraig Stone Circle Tour Perthshire

Croft Moraig (Mary's Croft) consists of a circle of twelve heavy stones with a further two forming an eastern entrance. There is a cupmarked recumbent stone positioned on the south west bank.

This is a good example of a stone circle dating back about 5000 years. Access is easy.


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Isle of Skye Tour

Today, I am presenting some images of a tour of Skye from 2007.

Rainbow at Broadford. The cottage belongs to a local artist.

Here is the base of a Broch, a dry stone built tower, possibly 2000 years old.

Here are images at the Quirang.

Here is the Mealt Falls-very spectacular.

This is Kilt Rock

Skye is a great place for touring. Allow a full day for a tour of the island.


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Scotland Broch Tour

Brochs are found in the Orkney's, Shetlands, Western Isles and the Scottish mainland. They consist of dry stone towers about 10 metres (33ft) in height and about 25 metres (82ft) in diameter. The walls are thick at the base tapering towards the top. They usually feature two concentric circles with stairways and chambers incorporated in the core of the wall. It is believed that this form of construction was very efficient from an insulation perspective.

Here are some images of the remains of a Broch on the Isle of Skye.


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Crannog Tour Perthshire

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today I am presenting some images of tours of the Crannog Centre on Loch Tay, Scotland.

Crannogs are high status Iron Age dwellings built on stilts on lochs. They are unique to Scotland and Ireland.

The Crannog Centre is a great place to visit and provides the visitor with a real feel for life 2000 years ago. Here are some pictures of experimental archaeology.

Tour Guide at commencement of tour
Here is the actual Crannog, the only one in the world.


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Hadrian's Wall Path Tour

Here are some images of a re-enactment march along Hadrian's Wall undertaken in 2006.

Exhibits at Chesters Museum

Foundations of Roman Bridge
Marchers in good spirits
Centurion at Housesteads
Section of the Wall at Birdoswald


Roman Scout at Housesteads
At Corbridge

Arbeia Roman fort and Museum

At Chesters Roman Fort

A break en-route
Overall a great experience. We even made the evening TV news.


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Today, I am collating images form my tour in 2007.

Innerpeffary lies close to Crieff in Perthshire. It is home to a library dating back to 1763 together with a castle and chapel.

Here is the ruined castle, which is actually a fortalice and can only be viewed from a distance. It was built by the 1st Lord Madertie.

Here is the 16thC Collegiate Chapel of St. Mary.

Interior of the library which contains over 3,800 volumes.

View towards Crieff from the library.

This location is well worth a visit,especially for those with an academic interest in the collection of historic books.


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Tour of Iona Scotland

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here are some images of an Iona Tour undertaken 2007. This is an iconic site and well worth a visit. The island is about three miles long and one mile wide.St. Columba arrived here in AD 563 and established a monastery and then proceeded to convert pagan Scotland to Christianity. Now in a emote location but in Columba's day located on a busy water way -the only way to travel.

Here are images of the present Abbey, which dates form 1200 AD.

This is an interesting feature from a carved (Pictish?) grave marker.

Inside of the Abbey
External view of the Abbey.
The Nunnery.
We had a good day. Visit Iona and other Scottish islands with Catswhiskerstours.


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Arran Stone Circle Tour Scotland

Here are images of a stone circle tour on the Isle of Arran, off West Coast of Scotland. Most are of Machrie Moor, a Bronze Age ritual landscape believed to have been used in the second millennium BC and possibly abandoned after 1200 BC as a result of climate change.

We had a great tour.

Contact Catswhiskerstours for stone circle and pre-history themed tours of Scotland or anywhere in Britain.


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Prehistoric Rock Art of Scotland Tour

Achnabreck, Kilmartin

Isle of Arran

Ben Lawers, Perthshire

All of the above images were taken during autumn/fall 2006 in course of a themed tour. There is endless speculation on interpretation of the designs. Contact Catswhiskerstours for more information-and a pre-history themed tour.


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Staffa Tour

Today, I have collated images of a 2007 tour to Staffa. This is a tiny, uninhabited island close to Iona and Mull on the West Coast of Scotland.

Staffa was formed about 60M years ago and consists of immense, hexagonal, basalt pillars formed by the slow cooling of Tertiary basalt lava.

A visit entails a boat trip of about 30 mins and is well worth the voyage. Of interest to photographers, geologists and many others.

Here is Finglal's Cave which inspired Medelssohnn to write his Hebrides Overture in 1829.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here are some images of Castle Campbell. This dates from the 14th C and was probably built for the Stewart family and subsequently owned by the Campbells of Argyll. The castle was partly destroyed by Royalist forces during the Civil War in 1654 and never re-built. This is an important Tower House and well worth a visit. On a clear day the view is fantastic.


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Today, I am trying to marshall some images of past Iona tours. I have had some technical probs and these are not ideal. The occupation of Iona dates back to about 4000BC. However, Iona was placed on the map when Columba arrived from Ireland in AD 563 when he was 42 years old.

Iona is an iconic Christian site now occupied by a multi-denominational group. The following images are 'OK' but do not really do the site justice. I will try again tomorrow.

Celtic Cross outside the Abbey.

Colourful scarecrows
The Nunnery

View of the village from approaching ferry.

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Glasgow Architecture Tour

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today, I escorted a Charles Rennie Mackintosh tour of Glasgow. First stop was the recreated interior of The Mackintosh House at 6 Florentine Terrace, Glasgow at The Hunterian Art Gallery. However, photographs are not allowed.

Here is an image of the Willow Tea Rooms at Sauchiehall Street. This was created by Mackintosh for Kate Cranston.

Here are some external images of the Glasgow School of Art which was designed by Mackintosh in 1896. We undertook a guided internal tour during which no pictures were allowed.

Here is the famous house for an Art Lover, designed 1901 but not completed until 1996.

This is a piece of somewhat neglected furniture inside the Ruchill Church Hall.

External view of Ruchill Church Hall-a well planned minor work of Mackintosh.

The following are images of the Mackintosh Church, Queens Cross. This is quite stunning. It is the only designed by Mackintosh which was actually built. Light and space are used to dramatic effect in the interior.


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Winter Tour Perthshire

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Today, I am collating all my images form a short tour of Perthshire just completed.

Here is a pic of one of the tallest trees in Britain-near Ossian's Hall on the River Braan.

Here is some curious frozen flotsam. We can't work out what it is.

View of the River Braan from Ossian's Hall

Water view with Ben Vrackie in the distance.

Statue of piper silhouetted against evening sky at House of Braur

View of Ben Vrackie (the speckled mountain) from Braur

Snowy bridge at Braur Falls.

The next three images are of Braur Falls-well worth a visit.

Ben Vrackie with Pitlochry in the middle distance.

River Tay at Grandtully. This is Scotland's premier white water venue.

Caste Menzies (pronounced Mengies) near Aberfeldy

River Tay scenes near Logierait

Views from Kinnaird House

Lounge at Kinnaird House


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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Today, I have obtained copyright approval to place on my website a tour covering a tour of Tower Houses in Scotland's smallest county:

  • Clackmannan Tower-14th century
  • Menstrie Castle-1560
  • Castle Campbell-14th century
  • Alloa Tower-14th century
  • SauchieTower-15th century
So, watch out for new content on the castles page of my website. Below is a pic of one of the featured castles-Castle Campbell.


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Stirling Castle Tour

Monday, January 07, 2008

Today, is not very pleasant, so I have marshalled some images of a previous tour of Stirling Castle. This one was taken in side the chapel and incorporates 17th century decoration with a Charles I motif.

This is an external view of the Royal Palace. The castle dates from the 15th and 16th centuries when it was a palace of the Stewart dynasty.

This is the Great Hall.The external colouring is deliberate-to replicate the original.
Bullet and cannon holes in the principal entrance.These date to the civil war of the 17th century.

Main entrance to the castle
Stirling Castle holds a superb position, sitting on an old volcanic plug.It has witnessed two key battles in Scotland's history-Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge.It is close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow and well worth a visit.


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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Today, the snow has gone and I went out to Queen's Park (south Glasgow) to obtain pics of an unusual concentration of churches within a few hundred yards/meters of each other.

Firstly, here is an image of an apparent innocuous piece of a nearby public park-which it is. However, this actually the site of a major battle, the most significant to take place within Glasgow city boundaries and which was fought at Langside in 1568. On the morning of 13 May, forces in support of Mary, Queen of Scots were marching from Hamilton towards Dumbarton Castle when they found their path blocked by troops commanded by the Regent Moray.
Moving now to the churches. There are five, almost within spitting distance of each other, including two baptist churches. Here is the first-a Baptist Church. Sorry, but I don't have a wide angle lens. Obviously, a huge edifice.

This one is Church of Scotland
This one dates from the late 1800s and appears no longer in use for religious purposes and is for sale.
This is the other Baptist Church

This is a synagogue


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Winter Wonderland Tour

Friday, January 04, 2008

Today, the snow finally arrived. Just a light fall really, the east of Scotland seems to have the worst of the weather.

Went out to see heritage property, Greenbank House which has an interesting garden and good for pics at this time of year. Here are a few images of Greenbank in winter.


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Glasgow Cycle Ride

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Today, was cold with some light snow falling. The east of Scotland is hardest hit by the snow but we may get our share of the heavier stuff in the next day or so. Here are some pics taken south of Glasgow on a cold in January.

Rouken Glen pond.

Flock of sheep. We see these animals as part of the landscape.This pic was taken very close to the outer edge of Glasgow.

Farm scene. This was not deep in the country but so close to the city that the traffic noise was audible!


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