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Inverlochy Castle, Fort William Scotland.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today, I am posting a video clip of Inverlochy Castle, Fort William, Scotland. This a very well preserved 13th century castle associated with the Comyn family who at one time controlled vast tracts of Scotland. This castle ranks as one of Scotland's earliest stone castle and is designed, is in the form of a square courtyard with round towers at the corners.
Well worth a visit.
video

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Broch in Scotland

Monday, June 29, 2009

This evening, I am posting information on a type of settlement known as a broch which dates from about year zero AD.This type of building is unique to Scotland and mainly comprises dry-stone built towers 10 metres (33ft) or more high and up to 25 metres (82 ft) in diameter. The walls are thick at the bottom tapering inwards towards the top and are usually built with a double skin to allow stairways between the two walls. This feature may be an early form of insulation.

It is likely that brochs had several internal floor levels built with wood and were roofed over.

These were high status buildings with many examples found near the coast, possibly because at that time rivers and the sea were the chief means of communication (boat).

The example in the video is located on the Isle of Skye. Some of the most elaborate examples of brochs can be found on the Orkney and Shetland islands.


video

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Visit Stirling Castle, Scotland

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today, I am posting a video and images taken during a tour/visit to this historic castle which has played a pivotal role in Scotland's history.

The castle is located on a conveniently situated volcanic plug which affords a superb defensive position for guarding access to the Central Highlands of Scotland.

First records of a castle on the site date from the 12th century. During subsequent centuries the castle suffered sixteen major sieges and oscillated between Scottish and English control.

Two major battles occurred in the vicinity of Stirling Castle:

  1. The Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 when William Wallace ( aka 'Braveheart') defeated a superior English force.
  2. Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when a force under Robert the Bruce defeated a superior English force under Edward II.
The Castle's golden age occurred during the 16th century when it became a royal palace of the Stewart age and benefited from lavish spending by King James IV and V but was little used by royalty after the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

View of castle entrance from bowling green.


Royal Palace which is currently undergoing an extensive, long-term refurbishment programme.
Close up of statute of King James on the Royal Palace.

Chapel Royal built for the baptism of Prince Henry Stewart in 1594. This building contains a collection of stunning tapestries.

The Great Hall built 1500. External covering in a gold coloured protective coat to give an impression of great wealth.

Close up of statues on the Royal Palace of King James V. (1540)

video

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Scotland Private Tour, St. Andrews.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today, we visited Stirling Castle, St. Andrews and the Fife Coast. St. Andrews has much to offer the visitor including:

  • the famous Old Course (golf):
  • Castle; and
  • ruined Cathedral and associated buildings.
The video below shows the interior of the ruined cathedral which was Scotland's largest and most magnificent church.

There is a museum which houses a collection of medieval sculptures and other relics found on the site.

The tall tower is called St. Rule's. This was part of an earlier cathedral building, which is accessible and affords superb views from the top of the tower.



video

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Glencoe, Scotland

Friday, June 26, 2009

Today, our private tour visited Glencoe, possibly the most famous of all Scottish glens.

The road winds through magnificent hill and mountain scenery including a view of Buchaille Etive Mor and the 'Three Sisters'. The long wall of Aonach Eagach is a superb ridge-walk, albeit not without risk. Much of the land is under management of the National Trust for Scotland which operates a good visitor centre jut a mile or so outside of the village.

Glencoe's other claim to fame (or notoriety) is the massacre in 1692 of 38 members of the Macian MacDonalds by a detachment of soldiers who happened to be from Clan Campbell as part of a Government initiative to bring the Highland clan chiefs to heel. The image below is of the memorial to the casualties of the massacre.


The following three images show the local Glen Coe scenery and are taken from differing view points.




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Pollok House, Glasgow, Scotland.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Today, I am posting information on Pollok House. Pollok House is a Palladian mansion built for John Maxwell. It was begin in 1747 by William Adam and finished under the direction of his son,John Maxwell. The Pollok House is situated above White Cart Water in the 458-hectare grounds of the Pollok Estate. Moreover, Pollok Park extends to 146 hectares.
Sir John Stirling Maxwell, is a founder member of the National Trust for Scotland, he placed the estate under the protection of the first Conservation Agreement of the National Trust of Scotland. Mrs Anne Maxwell MacDonald gave the house and its collections of paintings, furniture and ceramics to the City of Glasgow in 1966.
The largest area is open to the public with paths to the mill and the riverside, Pollok House, and the Burrell Collection.
video

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The Old Course of St Andrews,Fife, Scotland.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today, I am posting information on the Old Course at St. Andrews, home of golf. It is the oldest golf course in the world. The Old Course is a public course established on common land in St Andrews, Fife.
We really do not exactly know when golf was the first played over the grounds that now constitute the Old Course; but there is evidence which shows it dates from around 16th century.
The Old Course has the widest fairway in world golf. The 1st and 18th fairways are more than 100 yards wide but this has presented a challenge to some top golfers.
Another feature, is that the Old Course can be played in two directions, in the clockwise and anti-clockwise.
For the video click here.

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Greenbank Garden, Glasgow, Scotland.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today, we visited Greenbank Garden, Clarkston, Glasgow. This garden contains thirty different areas to visit, and also more than 3,600 plants. The Greenbank Garden shows a design and refined work; it gives new ideas and techniques for domestic gardens. You can view flowers of all colors as well as important collections of Narcussus and Bergenia.
Very pleasant and peaceful in the late afternoon sunshine!
Below are a couple of still images a short video.





video

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House for an Art Lover, Glasgow, Scotland.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Today, we visited the garden of House for an Art Lover. House for an Art Lover is located in 10 Dumbreck Rd, Glasgow.




In 1901, Mackintosh entered a competition set by a German design magazine which sought entries to design "a grand house in thoroughly modern style", and challenged architects to develop ideas which were fresh and innovative.

Mackintosh and his wife Margaret McDonald worked on the submission which, unfortunately, was disqualified due to technical non compliance with the rules. However, the designs were awarded a special prize "for their pronounced personal quality, their novel and austere form and uniforms configuration of interior and exterior."


Construction of the House did not commence until 1989 and was completed in 1996.






For the video clip, click here.



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Culzean's Caves, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today, I am posting a video of our visit to Culzean's Caves, Ayrshire. It was a good experience. The caves are very dark but the visit was supervised by National Trust of Scotland.
You can see in the caves, the remains of bones probably animals and also drawings on the walls of the cave. Culzean's Caves have a lot of history and are occasionnally open to the public. It was really great. Well worth a visit.



video

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Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Today, our group visited Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland. Prime reason for the visit was to participate in a guided tour of the caves which are located at foot of the castle and which are officially classified as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and normally closed to the public.Exploring the caves proved quite exciting and verged on potholing at one stage.We all emerged covered in mud but very satisfied with this unusual experience. Will post video of the caving tomorrow.


This evening, I am concentrating on the castle proper which has evolved from a Tower House to a grand house which mainly dates form the 18th century from a design by master architect, Robert Adam. Construction of the building bankrupted the 10th Earl of Cassilis who died of stress in 1796, just one year after Robert Adam's death.


Catalyst for the design was a 'Grand Tour' visit to Rome by Sir Thomas Kennedy which resulted in a neo-classical building which ranks as one of the best examples of Enlightenment architecture in Europe.


The Castle also benefits from a superb cliff top location with views across the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran and Mull of Kintyre, aspects of which can be seen in the video clip.


Inside, the castle boasts a spectacular Oval Staircase, impressive armoury and the Circular Saloon with panoramic views.


Culzean is managed by the National Trust of Scotland ( a heritage organisation). One of the apartment's was gifted to General Dwight Eisenhower in 1945.


Apart from the caves and grand house the grounds have much to offer including a deer park, swan pond and a wide choice of gardens.

video

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Dunkeld on River Tay, Scotland.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Today, I am posting a video clip of Dunkeld, it is a nice town in Perthshire, Scotland. Dunkeld boasts considerable history and a medieval cathedral. The town was badly damaged during the battle of Dunkeld in 1689 but subsequently recovered.

The River Tay crosses the town of Dunkeld. It is the longest river in Scotland and largest volume river in the United Kingdom. The River Tay emerges at Loch Tay, Kenmore, and it is famous for salmon fishing. The river can be divided in three sections: the upper Tay, middle Tay and the lower Tay. The river Tay stretches 120 miles, it is really beautiful.
video

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Birnam Oak in Perthshire, Scotland.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Today, we visited Birnam near to Dunkeld, this town is know well because William Shakespeare mentioned Birnam Wood in Macbeth: "I will not be afraid of death and bane till Birnam Forest come to Dunisname." Macbeth, ActV, Scene III.

We walked along the River Tay, which is the longest river in Scotland, and is really beautiful. We encountered a Birnam Oak which immortalised in Shakespeare's Macbeth.It is an ancient tree which has large branches. The tree is very ancient and it's diameter extends to several meters.

The tree stands on the river bank behind the Birnam House Hotel and is worth a visit.

video

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Isle of Skye, Sotland.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Today, I am posting information on the Isle of Skye. The Isle of Skye is the most scenically spectacular of the Scottish islands, it takes its name from the old Norse sky-a meaning "cloud island". Despite the unpredictable weather, tourism is an important part of island's economy and, in the summer months, the island is busy with tourists.

Isle of Skye it is one of the most tourist destinations and it offers a lot of things to see and to do. The Quiraing is a spectacular landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, The northern summit of the Trotternish Ridge on the Isle of Skye.

Dunvegan Castle is home of the chiefs MacLeod for 800 years. It is possible to trace the history of the family and the clan from the days of their Norse ancestry through generations to the present day.

The Kilt Rock is the top rock composed of columnar basalt, giving the impression of the pleats in the kilt. There is a beautiful waterfall nearby.

Overall, a great palce to visit.

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Hunting with hawks, Scotland.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This evening, I am posting a collection of videos covering a recent hunting with hawks exercise near Braco, Perthshire. This is a very ancient sport which utilises the birds' hunting skills to catch prey ultimately intended for human consumption. Historically, the birds were allowed a small portion of then kill as a reward with the rest used for human consumption.

For the video click here , here and here.

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Balmoral Castle,Scottish Highlands

Monday, June 15, 2009


This evening, I am posting a video clip of Balmoral Castle which has been the official Highland residence of the Royal Family since Prince Albert bought the estate in 1852, a purchase which acted as a catalyst to tourism in Scotland. The original castle was too small for royal needs, and demolished in favour of a new building.The new castle was designed by Prince Albert and William Smith of Aberdeen and was completed in 1855. Whilst the extensive grounds and gardens are open to visitors at prescribed times, only the ballroom is accessible to visitors.. This features an exhibition of paintings, tartans and a selection of royal items. The garden contains a glasshouse, conservatory, water and kitchen areas.


The River Dee flows through the area which, because of the Royal connection, has become known as Royal Deeside. Here is a clip of the River Dee at Balmoral.


Overall, Balmoral Castle is worthy of a visit but visitors should remember that the Castle proper is not open to the public.

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Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue, North Ayrshire, Scotland.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today, our group visited Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue's open day, North Ayrshire. It is the biggest and busiest Wildlife Rescue Centre in Scotland. Hessilhead aims to rescue, repair, rehabilitate and release animals back to the wild. The open day was really great, you can see animals like birds, foxes and swans. The organization was good and the organizers were very welcoming. Unfortunately, picture opportunities were limited but a few are provided below.

Human Hedgehog

Swannery

Barn Owl

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Hiking in Largs, Scotland.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today, I did a hike with the local group, Eastwood Ramblers. This was centred on Largs, West of Scotland. It is a nice area, well-known for its nautical activities, weather and beaches. We started the hike at 10 am and we finished at 4 pm.



The hike was good in a peaceful vegetation. We crossed the Gogo water and we climbed and went down mountains. The view was wonderful, we can see at the top of the hill, the Great Cumbrae Island and not far the little Cumbrae Island.









After the hike, we visited Largs and we saw the Largs Pencil. It is a monument to the battle of Largs in 1263 at which a Scots army defeated the Vikings. It was a intensive hike but with beautiful landscape and a good weather.












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Changing of the Guard at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Friday, June 12, 2009

This evening, I am posting video clip covering the Changing of the Guard at Edinburgh Castle. A contingent of the the British Army is based at the Castle thereby maintaining a long military tradition dating back hundreds of years.

The gun below is the 550 year old 'Mons Meg', a giant Belgian manufactured siege gun based at the Castle and which proves very popular with tourists.

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Portree War Memorial, Skye, Scotland

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This evening, I am posting images which record the war casualties from Great War through to Korea on Isle of Skye. This may be of interest to family history researchers.





































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Dunvegan Castle, Skye, Scotland.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today, I am posting a video clip of Dunvegan Castle. It is the island's most important tourist attraction. This is the home of the chiefs of the Clan Macleod who have lived here for over seven centuries, making it the oldest inhabited castle in Britain. The present structure dates from the 15th and 16th centuries and, though the Victorian restoration has left it looking morelike a baronial house, a look inside reveals its true age.

For the video click here.

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Private Tour West of Scotland

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today, our group comprising a mix of Scots, Swedes, French and Germans embarked on a lengthy but satisfying mini-coach tour starting and finishing Glasgow and taking in:


  • Luss, Loch Lomond
  • Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum
  • Stalker Castle
  • Oban (McCaig's Folly)
  • Inverawe Fisheries
  • Inveraray (and Castle)
  • Loch Fyne Oyster Bar (evening meal)
This is image taken about 9.15pm this evening of Glen Croe at 'Rest and be Thankful'.

Happy group of diners at loch Fyne Oyster Bar

Inveraray-a planned 18th century town

Inveraray Castle-home of the Duke of Argyll.


Romantic Kilchurn Castle-abandoned and damaged by lightening 1769.

View of Oban harbour.
Aspect of McCaig's Folly, Oban. Built as a job creation exercise for stonemasons in 19th C

Castle Stalker-abandoned and ruined 1840 but restored in 1960s.

Aspect of Glencoe
Poppies in garden at Luss, Loch Lomond.


Overall, a good tour lasting about 11 hours.

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Blogger BJM said...

Wow! What lovely photographs and overall feel for the day's outing!

Lots of happy people headed off to their beds at night-time.

Barbara MacLeod

June 10, 2009  

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Common Seals at Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Monday, June 08, 2009

This evening, I am posting a video clip of a colony of seals at Dunvegan taken during a recent private Scotland tour. This was a great experience aided by sunny weather and acquiescent mammals.Trip takes about 40 mins and fitted well with our schedule. I can recommend this boat trip which can be availed of from Dunvegan Castle which itself is a popular visitor attraction and ancestral home of Clan MacLeod.


For video click here and here

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Jacobite Steam Train at Glenfinnan, Scotland

Sunday, June 07, 2009

This evening, I am posting a short video clip of the famous 'Harry Potter' Steam Train as it trundles over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the way to Fort William. My tour group were in the train at the time.

Camera shake is due to a combination of high winds and precarious standing position. Next time I will take a tripod. On the plus side, the sun was shining!


video

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Hiking near Loch Lomond, Scotland.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Today, I did a small hike in Loch Lomond. We took a boat from Tarbet to Inversnaid. The cruise was great. Then we walked during 3 hours in a peaceful vegetation. The view was wonderful and the weather was good.



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Private Scotland Tour-Glencoe and Wallace Mounument

Friday, June 05, 2009

Today, we completed the final leg of our 10 day Scotland Tour.

Starting in sunshine at Fort William on Loch Linnhe, we drove down to the historic and scenic village of Glencoe which is famous for its scenery and site of the infamous 1692 massacre of local MacDonalds by a British Army contingent comprised of Campbells.




After a short stop at the Glencoe Visitor Centre we moved on up through Glen Coe across Rannoch Moor and down to Loch Lomond where we availed of a lunch stop at the heritage village of Luss.Unfortunately the church was closed but we visited the churchyard which features a Viking era 'hogback' grave marker which possibly dates back to about AD900.


Next we moved on to Stirling, driving round the foot of the famous castle and then to the William Wallace ( aka 'Braveheart') Monument. After a climb to the top and a photo opportunity, we moved on to Edinburgh and the Hilton Hotel for the final night -and fond farewells.


Apart from the all the sites and experiences this tour will be remembered for encountering virtually no rainfall during the entire 10 days-almost unheard of in Scotland!





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Skye to Fort William Tour Scotland

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Today, we travelled down from Isle Ornsay, Skye to Mallaig via the 25 min ferry ride.

Upopn arrival at Mallaig we undertook a couple of short tours to Loch Morar ( Scotland's deepest loch) and the coastal village of Arisaig.

Next we connected with the Jacobite (Harry Potter) steam train for the journey to Fort William.




From Fort William we explored Glen Nevis and the nearby mountain biking centre.



Lots of goods pics with Ben Nevis in the background.

A good day. Next we are off to Edinburgh via Glencoe and Loch Lomond.





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Private Tour Skye Scotland

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Today we benefited from very favourable weather conditions and completed a tour of the
the island in brilliant sunshine. From Broadford we drove up to Portree for a coffee
and shopping stop.


Then on to Kilt Rock and Lilt Falls with views of the Old Man of Storr.



Next we drove across the northern tip of Skye stopping for pics at Quaraing which affords stunning views across the Skye landscape.


Then down to Dunvegan, home of the chief of Clan McCloud.This is a fascinating castle with superb garden.
We availed of a short boat trip to view common seals sunning themselves
on the rocks which proved one of the day's
highlights.

Finally we drove back via the west coast visiting an ancient iron-age Broch en-route.




The day finished with dinner at the Claymore Restaurant at Broadford.







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West Scottish Highlands Tour

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Today, our small group had continuing benefit of dry, sunny weather.

We headed down from Inverness stopping at Castle Urquhart to view Loch Ness in all its glory.
Sadly, we missed the Monster.






We drove on tracking Loch Ness to Kyle of Lochalsh stopping to visit the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, home of Clan Macrae.



Then across the Skye Bridge to Broadford where we visited a small art gallery.

With still brilliant sunshine we drove up the single track road to Elgol stopping for numerous photo opps en-route.

After Elgol we returned stopping at a local craftsman and swordmaker who had a high quality
range of products on display.





Finally, on to our hotel at Eilean Iarmain which benefits from a stunning
Waterfront location-pure magic in the brilliant evening sunshine!






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Private Tour Inverness Scotland

Monday, June 01, 2009

Today, our family group visited:
  • Culloden Battlefield where occurred the last battle on British soil in April 1746. Here the Highland forces supporting the Jacobite cause under Bonnie Prince Charlie were heavily defeated to the extent the Jacobite cause never recovered. Excellent visitor information centre with re-enactment soldier.

  • Clava Cairns-prehistoric burial cairns and stone circles located in a small grove not far from Culloden.


  • Fort George-stunning 18th century British Military Fort which is still used by the British Army. Superb location in Moray Firth.



  • Kilt shop in Inverness.







We benefited from brilliant sunshine.

Loch Ness and Isle of Skye tomorrow!


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