Isle of Arran Scotland
Friday, October 31, 2008
Arran is close to Glasgow and easy to get to by CalMac ferry. I have visited the island a number if times, memories of which include:
- Prehistory: Machrie Moor standing stones. Also ancient stone carvings.
- Activities such as kayaking, archery, mountain biking and golf.
- Hill and mountain walking-the Three Beinns and Goatfell.
- Seal watching.
- Scotch Whisky-Isle of Arran Distillery.
- Cycling. I have cycled round the island in a day.
- Brodick Castle`
- A wide choice of lodgings to suit all budgets.
- Heritage Centre
Overall, a great place with much to offer the visitor.
Labels: Scotland's Islands
Robert Burns Scotland Tour
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Touring Exhibition Jan-Nov 2009
Some 36,000 objects fr pm Scotland's national collection of objects connected with Scotland's national poet will be brought together in celebration of the poet's 250th anniversary. The collection includes manuscripts, books, art and artifacts which will be available for viewing at the National Library, Mitchell Library, Art Gallery and Museum Aberdeen and Greyfriars Church, Dumfries.
Creative Burns Feb-May 2009
This exhibition at he Dick Institute, Kilmarnock will explore Burns own creative output and his legacy to the present day. There will also be a display of Burns inspired art work by leading Scottish artists.
Labels: Robert Burns
Tour Dumfries House Scotland
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This house , which was formerly owned by the Marquis of Bute, is surrounded by 2000 acres of land.
The house was designed by John, Robert and James Adam and built between 1754 and 1759 for William Crichton- Dalrymple, Earl of Dumfries and Stair.
A number of rooms were furnished by the Adams' friend Thomas Chippendale (1728-1779).
Recently, the house and contents were acquired by Prince Charles.
The contents include:
- A gilt rosewood padouk and sabicu Chippendale bookcase.
- Late George III giltwood pier glasses, 1759 by Chippendale.
- A set of 22 Scottish late George II mahogany dining chairs with tapestry covers.
- A pair of valuable sofas.
- A pair of late George II mahogany concertina card tables.
- A mirror with a Savonnerie tapestry panel probably woven by Thomas Moore.
Small group tours can be arranged for 2009.
Labels: Dunfries House
Visit Robert Burns Monument Edinburgh
Monday, October 27, 2008
This monument was designed by Thomas Hamilton and completed 1830.
It is a circular Greek temple with Corinthian peristyle.
Wet Glasgow Scotland
Sunday, October 26, 2008
In the West of Scotland we have experienced very heavy, almost continuous rainfall over recent days.
The images below show the extent of local flooding on Thornliebank Road, close to Eastwood Old Cemetery.
Water was about 30cm deep. I managed to get two wet feet, even though I was a bike. The sun came out later and I obtained some decent images of grave-markers at the Cemetery.
View Calton Hill Skyline Edinburgh Scotland
Saturday, October 25, 2008
In the middle distance can be seen monuments such as the National Monument and Nelson's Monument the significance of which were summarised by Sir Patrick Geddes:
" with its strange medley of monuments is a museum of the battle of styles and a permanent evidence showing how the town planners of one generation cannot safely count upon continuance by those of the next."
The choices of the buildings were made on architectural grounds.
I acknowledge that that quality of this image is not brilliant but it does serve to highlight the importance of the skyline.
Visit New Observatory Edinburgh Scotland
Friday, October 24, 2008
This image was taken from atop the Nelson Monument.
Although designated 'new' this building in fact dates from 1818 and is attributed the famous architect William Playfair but influenced by the architect's uncle, Professor Playfair, an eminent mathematician and natural philosopher who was also President of the Astronomical Institution which was formed before the observatory was built.
From an architectural perspective, the building is a cruciform classic temple with central dome, constructed on the summit of the precinct.
As far as I know it is not possible to visit the observatory, which is somewhat disappointing.
In the background on the image below can be seen Edinburgh's New Town which dates from the 1760s and is full of fascinating Georgian architecture.
Be sure to visit Calton Hill when in Edinburgh. It's walkable from Princes Street and offers stunning views.
Visit Helensburgh Scotland
Thursday, October 23, 2008
- Hollywood Star, Deborah Kerr
- TV Inventor, John Logie Baird
- Henry Bell, steamship pioneer.
- W.H.Auden, famous poet.
- Andrew Bonar Law, former British Prime Minister.
Visit Old Observatory Edinburgh Scotland
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This was planned as the City Observatory with advice from Robert Adam. It is one of Craig's very few surviving buildings.
This image was taken from atop the Nelson Monument which offers the fit and energetic some great views when visibility is right.
Visit Leith Scotland
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The two images were taken from Edinburgh Castle and show the towers of Leith in the middle distance then the Firth of Forth then, in the distance, the Fife Coast which ultimately winds its way round to St. Andrews.
For several centuries Leith was an important shipping terminal and played an important role in Edinburgh's growth and prosperity. Leith's decline has, to an extent, been halted by the arrival of the Royal Yacht Britannia which is now an established tourist attraction, albeit one I would not feature in my 'A' list of "must sees".
Other important places to visit in Leith include:
- Leith Links, one of the world's earliest golf courses dating from the 15th century.
- Trinity House dating from 1816.
- South Leith Parish Church which dates from the 15th century.
- The now fashionable dockland with many upscale restaurants.
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- Nearby fishing village of Newhaven.
Apart from the possibility of a visit to the Royal Yacht, Leith is a perhaps somewhere for the more seasoned traveler looking to dig deeper in to the area's history and architecture.
Visit Princes Street Edinburgh Scotland
Monday, October 20, 2008
This is one of Europe's most celebrated streets which benefits from an open aspect to the gardens and castle. In 1840 Robert Louis Stevenson described the street as a terrace of palaces but by 1960 the tone had become harsher being described by Moray McLaren as one of the most chaotically tasteless streets in the U.K.
Princes Street today is renowned for its shops and shopping but at the peak of the busy tourist season ( July/August) a stroll up and down is not a quality experience.
To the right of the image is the New Town whilst to the left is the castle and Old Town.
Visit Glengoyne Whiskey Distillery Scotland
Sunday, October 19, 2008
In the image immediately below you will see in the background Dumgoyne Hill, a 14ooft volcanic plug which is part of the Campsie Fells from which a burn ( stream) supplies Glengoyne with its water supply.
This distillery offers a good range of tours for visitors.
The 10 and 17 year old Glengoyne malts are both quite flowery, unpeated whiskies with a hint of American oak.
In the image below can be found the bonded warehouses where the whiskey matures, the distillery in the middle ground and the Dumgoyne Hill in the background.
The old malting barn with its distinctive pagoda-like top.
Distillery tour guide in full flow
Overall, Glengoyne offers a good value tour and fits in nicely with a day tour of the Trossachs from Glasgow
Visit National Monument Edinburgh Scotland
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The Monument was designed by C.R.Cockerill ( with William Playfair) and dates from 1822. It was originally designed as a church whose exterior was intended to replicate the Parthenon but funds were short and only twelve columns were completed.
This is quite a romantic site. There are many other interesting monuments and buildings on Calton Hill which also affords a great vantage point for viewing Edinburgh City and the Firth of Forth. Great photos when the visibility is right!
Visit World's End Pub Edinburgh Scotland
Friday, October 17, 2008
This is a very historic site on two accounts:
- It is adjacent to the former Netherbow Port, a defensive gateway which once separated Edinburgh Old Town from Cannongate. From the perspective of Edinburgh residents, this was the "World's End" and hence name.
- The building's foundations incorporate part of the Flodden Wall, once part of Edinburgh's defences.
The following two images are of the pub's exterior.
Overall, an intriguing pub of history and character. However, dining area is relatively modest and we had to wait some minutes for a table-but worth it!
Visit Abbey of Holyroodhouse Edinburgh Scotland
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The ruined early 13th century Nave and West Front (altered 1633) are all that remain of this magnificent building which was founded by King David I ( of Scotland) in 1126.
The key features are:
- A vaulted south aisle with fine blind arcading.
- Nave, which was converted to Chapel Royal in the 17th century and the converted again to Chapel of the Order of the Thistle. The latter can now be found in St. Giles Cathedral located in the Royal Mile.
- Curious traceried windows in the east and west ends.
- Addition of a stone slates in 1758 which caused the building's destruction in the 19th century.
- Inspiration for Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony.
A visit to the Abbey is usually undertaken in context of a tour of Holyroodhouse.
Visit Palace of Holyrood House Edinburgh
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The following two images are of the interesting fountain located in the Palace Yard. People who have also visited Linlithgow Palace may have a double take because the fountain ( constructed in 1859) is actually modelled on a much older, similar edifice at Linlithgow.
The following images are of the Palace exterior, as photographs of the interior are not permitted.
The North West tower dates from the 16th century and is all that survives of the pre-Civil War palace. The remainder is late 17th century to the design of Sir William Bruce, executed by Robert Mylne, the King's Master Mason. It will be noted that Bruce balanced the old tower with one on the north east thereby forming a grand arcaded quadrangle between the two towers tied by a rusticated screen wall.
The contract to rebuild the Palace is dated 1672 and survives in full detail.
The Palace is located at the foot of the Royal Mile and definitely worth a visit. The interior is very grand .
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The following pictures are from the Salamis Ruins in Northern Cyprus. The development of this city was interrupted by earthquakes, particularly in the 1st and 4th centuries AD. After the earthquakes, the city was rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor, Constantius II ( 337-361 AD) and renamed it Constantia. The city was abandoned in AD 648 following a raid by Arab pirates.
Here is an impressive buttress
Mosaics in archway at the baths
A 3rd century fresco piece showing Hylas as he refuses the water nymphs.
Hypocaust heating system at the baths
Swimming pool with columned courtyard in the background
Another view of the gymnasium which served as an exercising ground for the military.
Ancient Greek script
Local tour guide in full flow
Ancient Greek script at the theatre
More Greek script
The theatre which dates from the time of Augustus. It was destroyed by earthquakes in the 4th century and was never rebuilt
Overall, this proved a fascinating site where I would have liked to spend more time.
Labels: roman sites
Roman Ruins and Monuments
Monday, October 13, 2008
The site covered below is that of Kourion which is an ancient Cypriot city the remains of which comprise a Theatre, House of Eustolios, an early Christian Basilica, Roman Forum, Public Baths, House of the Gladiators, House of Achilles and House with Earthquake evidence.
These Y signs indicate Christianity, Yios is Greek for Jesus.
Mosaic at House of the Gladiators-Hellenikos and Margerites in combat.
Mosaic of gladiator Lytras separated from his opponent by the referee, Darios.
Hypocaust system at the public baths
Unusual shell carving
Decorated mosaic floor
Slightly surreal view of the site with a para glider in the background. This is the early Christian Basilica.
View of the coast from the site. A superb location with benefit of cool breezes.
House of Eustolios
The bust of KTICIC on the mosaic floor of the rectangular hall at House of Eustolios
Mosaic inscription on the floor of the east portico which reads;
'In place of big stones and solid iron,
gleaming bronze and even adamant,
this house is girt by the much venerated signs of Christ.'
Mosaic floor inscription welcoming the visitors- 'Enter for the good luck of the house'
Hypocaust heating system
I found Kourion a truly stunning site. It would be nice if guided tours by experts were available to enhance the experience. However, wondering round at own speed does help one connect with the past.
Tomorrow, I will be presenting information and photos of another Cypriot site, at Salamis in the north of the island.
Contact me if interested in tours of Roman Britain or other Roman themed tours.
Labels: roman sites
St. Andrews Kingdom of Fife Scotland
Sunday, October 12, 2008
- 11 golf courses including seven of championship class.
- Administrative home of golf since the 17th century. Also, home to the British Golf Museum.
- Home of the famous Old Course with its Swilken Bridge and 18th hole.
- Home to one of Scotland's oldest ( and top ranking) universities.
- A ruined cathedral
- Ruined medieval castle.
- Beaches including West Sands where some scenes from 'Chariots of Fire' were filmed.
- Ice Cream (Jannettas).
- Boating Pond.
- Cheese Shop (Mellis)
- Small cinema.
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit West Kilbride Scotland
Saturday, October 11, 2008
In the late 1990s the business community took a decision to promote the town as an art and design centre, an initiative which proved a success.There are now five craft studios and an art gallery with the latter acting as the focus of a changing programme of events lasting thrughout the year.
So, for visitors interested in art, craft and design a visit to this interesting small town should be on the agenda when in Sotland.
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit Dufftown Scotland
Friday, October 10, 2008
Very briefly Dufftown boasts:
- the flagship Glenfidditch Distillery
- a whisky museum and
- several whisky and antique shops.
Closeby is the Speyside Cooperage where barrels used in the whisky industry are either re-assembled (on importation from the U.S.) or manufactured new on site. It should be remembered that Scotch Whisky must be matured in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years and one day.
Dufftown is definitely worth a stop en route to/from Inverness.
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit Wigtown Scotland
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This is a fascinating little town given over to the second hand book trade, similar to Hay on Wye in England.
Local traders decided to reinvent the town and adopted the book strategy which appears to have worked well.There are now some 15 book-related businesses. To attract visitors the town has Spring and Autumn (Fall) Book Festivals.
Wigtown is located in a scenic area near the Solway and worthy of a visit.
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit Moffat Scotland
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
- Grey Mare's Tail Waterfall
- Boating Pond
- Sweet Shop/Candy Store
Overall, worth a visit in context of a visit to the Borders and/or a Robert Burns themed tour
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit Nairn Scotland
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
- 9th 10th and 18th golf holes
- Book Fest
- Quality seaside resort
- Cake Shop
Nairn is relatively close to Inverness and provides access to Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle.
Labels: Scottish Towns
Dunkeld Perthshire Scotland
Monday, October 06, 2008
- Traditional Scottish Music
- Historic Cathedral
- Beatrix Potter
- Ossian's Hall with its wondeful view of the Falls of Braan
- Many and varied shops
- River Tay - Scotland's longest
- Bird watching, particularly Ospreys on Loch of the Lowes
- Central location for touring
- Many and varied hotels, Guest Houses and B and Bs
Labels: Scottish Towns
Visit Biggar Scotland
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Labels: Scottish Towns
Private Tour from Glasgow Scotland
Saturday, October 04, 2008
First stop was at Glengoyne Distillery (whiskey) where we enjoyed an exclusive tour, learning all about the whiskey making process from malting to mashing to fermentation to distillation to maturation. Glengoyne is one of the few Scottish distilleries still in private hands and is best known for its 12 year old single malt.
Here is a view of the distillery. In the foreground are the sheds where the whisky is held to maturity.
Distillery tour guide in full flow.
This pagoda type building is the old malting barn. Malted barley is now brought in from a third party supplier but in the old days was produced on site in a very labour intensive manner.
View of the copper stills. Photos are not allowed inside the Distillery for safety reasons.
After the Distillery we moved on to Aberfoyle for some shopping and then Callander where we encountered Hamish, the famous Highland Cow (or bull!).
After lunch at Lake of Menteith we moved to visit Stirling Castle. This is very popular with visitors and offers outstanding views over the local countryside due to elevation atop an extinct volcano.
This is an image of the former Royal palace built by King James V and dates from 1538-42. These former royal apartments are in process of an extensive refurbishment to restore to near original condition.
This is the Forework Gatehouse built by King James IV in 1503. Originally, there were four round towers, each with a conical top.
View from Stirling Castle looking towards the Wallace Monument of 'Braveheart' fame.
View of the Bowling Green and garden at Stirling Castle
Inside the refurbished Great Hall at Stirling Castle. This was built by Kin g James IV between 1501 and 1504. There is a spectacular hammer beam roof made from local grown oak.
Stained glass in the Great Hall
Another aspect of the Palace
The following two images are of the exterior of the Great Hall. The gold exterior has been re-created to replicate the original colour which was intended to stand out in the local landscape as a symbol of power and wealth.
Tapestries in the Chapel Royal. These were made locally on-site and it is possible to view the weavers undertaking their skilled work.
The first stop of Day 2 was a visit to Rosslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh. This was founded in 1446 as the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew by Sir William St. Clair. The chapel took some 40 years to complete. The heavily carved ornate interior attracts visitors from all around the world and gives rise to much speculation on meanings of the carvings.More recently, the chapel was associated with the Da Vinci Code which has contributed to a big uplift in visitor numbers.Images below were taken in 2007, prior to the current ban on photography in the Chapel.
This is the famous Apprentice Pillar at Rosslyn
After Rosslyn, we visited Edinburgh. Here is the interior of St. Giles Cathedral.This mainly dates from the 14th century. Being a Presbyterian Church the building can longer technically be described as a Cathedral, but the old name lingers on.
Here is a view of the Firth (bay) of Forth from Calton Hill. Visibility was unusually clear at time of our visit, although temperature was not conducive to sunbathing! The image shows where the River Forth enters the sea near Edinburgh. In the distance can be seen the Fife Coast. Immediately below is the industrial port of Leith.
This is the National Monument at Calton Hill. This dates to 1822 and was designed as a church whose exterior was intended to be a replica of the Parthenon, although funding dried up prior to completion.
View of Edinburgh form Calton Hill. Note the famous Castle on the middle distance.
Palace of Holyrood House. This is the official residence of H.M.the Queen in Edinburgh and mainly dates from the 17th century to the design of Sir William Bruce. We enjoyed a tour of this interesting and historic building which has connections with Mary Queen of Scots.
This is the ruined Abbey of Holyrood, which was one of Scotland's richest ecclesiastical foundations and became the Chapel Royal in the 16th century. Both Abbey and Palace are located in very pleasant gardens.
This is a view of the Palace Yard with fountain in foreground. This fountain was constructed in 1859 using the fountain at Linlithgow Palace as a model.
Here is the World's End pub on the Royal Mile. We enjoyed some fish and chips here in a very traditional atmosphere.
Overall, an interesting tour providing an interesting insight into Scotland's heritage and culture.
Labels: Scotland tour
Hamish the Highland Cow Scotland
Friday, October 03, 2008
He is about 15 years old and appears very friendly and placid. His present 'pampered' lifestye means he will probably live until age about 40 years.
Labels: highland cattle
Golden Eagle Callander Scotland
Thursday, October 02, 2008
This is a very impressive, 3 year old bird and apparently worth a considerable sum.
Edinburgh Architecture Royal High School
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This is attributed to Thomas Hamilton 1825-29 and is considered a building of international stature that most justified Edinburgh's sobriquet Athens of the North.
There is evidence to suggest that this building was designed to be integrated with the nearby National Monument to create an Edinburgh Acropolis. The central Doric temple contains the splendid oval hall with shallow coffered ceiling, and cast iron columns supporting the balcony.
A fine piece of architecture with a superb aspect facing Salisbury Crags
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