Robert the Bruce’s Grave at Dunfermline Abbey & Queensbury crossing

IMG_4288It’s been quite awhile, about 3 weeks, since I wrote the last blog post about when I attended the Perth Tatoo, visited Scone Palace and drove through the beautiful glens of Perthshire with my tour guide Karen.

In addition, an entire month has passed since I left Perth to go to my next stop in Scotland where I visited my dear friends, Keith & Helen Mitchell. My, my how time flies when you’re having a whole lot of fun!

After visiting with Keith & Helen, I traveled the rest of the way through Scotland down to the borders at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Then I made my way south through England to its southern coast where I turned west and followed the coastline westward to finish up the tour of the United Kingdom with a couple of weeks in Wales on the last leg of my 3n month journey. I continuously moved every day or so and didn’t actually stay in any one spot long enough to have time to devote to blog post entries to describe what I had been seeing and experiencing.

I have since returned home again, just the night before last, am doing my laundry now and finally have time to sit down and be still for a while, allowing me to reflect upon where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and what I’m dying to share with you.

There were so many wonderfully delightful sights and sensational vistas to behold along the travel route I followed fervently.

So, let’s see, where were we? Oh, yes – my last post – being in Perth and attending that wonderful Tattoo in the park with all those men in kilts!

After that entertaining stop, I headed just a short distance south to Livingston near Edinburgh. Upon my arrival, Keith & Helen asked if I would like to visit the Dunfermline Abbey while I was in town. I replied, “Sure! Sounds great!”

Off we went one wonderful afternoon. As luck would have it, I was to experience a very BIG ancestral surprise! Neither Keith nor Helen knew it would be a surprise either. After we arrived, found a handy spot in the car park on the grounds to park the car, and were approaching the stunning ancient architecture on foot, they brought to my attention the stone letters at the top of the cathedral’s tower, ‘King Robert.’

That’s when I exclaimed, “Wow! This place is in honour of Robert the Bruce?!? Thee Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland? He is my 20th great grandfather! This is fantastic! Thank you!”

Robert Bruce King of Scotland I (1274 – 1329)
20th great-grandfather
Marjorie Bruce (1297 – 1316)
daughter of Robert Bruce King of Scotland I
King Robert II Stewart (1316 – 1390)
son of Marjorie Bruce
Robert III King of Scotland Stewart (1337 – 1406)
son of King Robert II Stewart
James I King of Scotland Stewart (1394 – 1437)
son of Robert III King of Scotland Stewart
Lady Annabella Stewart Scotland Countess (1432 – 1509)
daughter of James I King of Scotland Stewart
Alexander Huntly Gordon (1460 – 1523)
son of Lady Annabella Stewart Scotland Countess
Lady Janet Gordon Countess Argyll (1489 – 1530)
daughter of Alexander Huntly Gordon
Archibald 4th Earl of Argyll “Gillespie Roy” Campbell (1508 – 1558)
son of Lady Janet Gordon Countess Argyll
LORD COLIN ARGYLL CAMPBELL (1542 – 1584)
son of Archibald 4th Earl of Argyll “Gillespie Roy” Campbell
Archibald 7th Earl of Argyll “Gruamach” Campbell (1575 – 1638)
son of LORD COLIN ARGYLL CAMPBELL
Lord Archibald Campbell Marquis of Argyll Earl of Argyll (1606 – 1661)
son of Archibald 7th Earl of Argyll “Gruamach” Campbell
Archibald “9th Earl of Argyll” Campbell (1629 – 1685)
son of Lord Archibald Campbell Marquis of Argyll Earl of Argyll
David Daniel Campbell (1675 – 1753)
son of Archibald “9th Earl of Argyll” Campbell
Charles Campbell (1699 – 1767)
son of David Daniel Campbell
William Campbell (1728 – 1803)
son of Charles Campbell
Jeanette Campbell (1770 – 1851)
daughter of William Campbell
John Holliday (1803 – 1872)
son of Jeanette Campbell
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Holiday (1842 – 1872)
daughter of John Holliday
Nancy Anne Brundage (1867 – 1948)
daughter of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Holiday
William Rose Frew II (1885 – 1976)
son of Nancy Anne Brundage
William Kenneth Frew (1917 – 1997)
son of William Rose Frew II
Claudia Louise Frew
You are the daughter of William Kenneth Frew
Each piece of the ancestral puzzle keeps fitting together delightfully one by one as I find them. This piece ties a lot of the loose ends together of other places I have visited previously on this trip. For instance, it brings in the Stewarts and Gordons from my visit to Huntly Castle up in northern Aberdeenshire earlier in the month and also the Campbells from Inverary Castle in Argyll on the west coast which I visited back in June! It also demonstrates how they each relate to one another and down the line to me. That’s so cool!
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Well, we’ve got a lot of exploring to do. Let’s walk around the grounds, look at the outside of this cathedral and the nearby ruined Refectory and then head inside to see what interesting treasures are to be discovered.
It’s quite old, and like many churches I have visited during my travels, it has gone through some changes over the centuries. The Abbey church is the centerpiece of Dunfermline, one of the oldest settlements in Scotland and once its proud capital. The history is entwined with that of Scotland itself, as it was the burial site of the Scottish monarchs before the adoption of the island of Iona which I also had the pleasure to visit earlier this summer in July.
The Abbey and the ruins around it are all that remains of a Benedictine order founded by Queen Margaret in the 11th century. The foundations of her church are under the present nave (or Old Church), built in the twelfth century in the Romanesque style by David I (son of Margaret and Malcolm Canmore).
David I, King of Scotland, is also one of my great grandfathers, 24th to be exact. His relation to me comes from a different lineage than the previous relationship of Robert I who came through my dad’s paternal side of the family. This time the relationship comes down through the Clapp family line, on my dad’s maternal side. Interesting that it ties those two separate lineages over the centuries together to culminate at the generation of my paternal grandparents!
This Clapp lineage includes other previous ancestral discoveries I made when I visited Tolquhon Castle and its’ Forbes ancestral connection earlier in August.
Just gotta love the way the pieces of the puzzle keep fitting together so nicely creating a landscape of interlocking memories of places I’ve been visiting up and down in this blessed land of Scotland and how they each offer something to learn about myself and who I come from bit by bit.
David I King of Scotland (1080 – 1153)
24th great-grandfather
Henry Northumberland Scotland (1114 – 1152)
son of David I King of Scotland
David Etherington Huntingdon Scotland (1144 – 1219)
son of Henry Northumberland Scotland
Lady Isobel “Isabel” MacCrinan of Huntingdon (1190 – 1256)
daughter of David Etherington Huntingdon Scotland
Sir Robert 5th Lord Annandale & Constable to England and Scotland DeBruce (1210 – 1295)
son of Lady Isobel “Isabel” MacCrinan of Huntingdon
Sir Robert VI Lord Annandale DeBruce (1243 – 1304)
son of Sir Robert 5th Lord Annandale & Constable to England and Scotland DeBruce
Maud Matilda deBruce (1275 – 1323)
daughter of Sir Robert VI Lord Annandale DeBruce
Lillias Ross (1329 – 1366)
daughter of Maud Matilda deBruce
Matilda Urquhart Heiress de Troupe (1363 – 1413)
daughter of Lillias Ross
William “Earl Marischal of Scotland” Keith (1389 – 1463)
son of Matilda Urquhart Heiress de Troupe
Gille Egidia Lady Keith (1424 – 1473)
daughter of William “Earl Marischal of Scotland” Keith
Patrick Forbes (1446 – 1476)
son of Gille Egidia Lady Keith
David Forbes (1478 – 1509)
son of Patrick Forbes
Patrick Forbes (1516 – 1554)
son of David Forbes
Sir William, 7th Lord of Tolquhon Forbes (1530 – 1596)
son of Patrick Forbes
John Forbes (1568 – 1635)
son of Sir William, 7th Lord of Tolquhon Forbes
John Fobes (1608 – 1661)
son of John Forbes
Lieut William Fobes (1649 – 1712)
son of John Fobes
Phebe Fobes (1679 – 1715)
daughter of Lieut William Fobes
Mary Seabury (1715 – 1755)
daughter of Phebe Fobes
Pvt John Southworth (1743 – 1832)
son of Mary Seabury
Hannah Southworth (1796 – 1842)
daughter of Pvt John Southworth
Hannah Mae Case (1828 – 1898)
daughter of Hannah Southworth
Daniel A Clapp (1853 – 1913)
son of Hannah Mae Case
Hannah Elizabeth Clapp (1897 – 1977)
daughter of Daniel A Clapp
William Kenneth Frew (1917 – 1997)
son of Hannah Elizabeth Clapp
Claudia Louise Frew
You are the daughter of William Kenneth Frew
Alrighty, let’s get back to a little more history… After the Reformation, Dunfermline ceased to be an Abbey, but since the nave of the church continued to be used as the local parish church, much of the Abbey has survived to this day. The present parish church, to the east of the Old Church, was added in the nineteenth century.

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Once inside, we find ourselves inside the Old Church it’s carved columns and arched ceilings frame some absolutely beautiful stained glass windows on either side the length of the time-tested structure spread out before us.

IMG_4315IMG_4534Standing amongst the soaring carved pillars one can get the feeling of how ancient it is and the spirit of the people who’ve been here is in the air like a comforting warm wrapping.

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The windows continue to amaze me with their vivid colors and scenes.

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Well, that just about covers the Old Church, now we’ll go into the newer portion of the old, old, church and where we’ll find the tomb on Robert I, King of Scotland!  Here’s a video I took as I crossed the threshold and began looking around inside…

Now, for the moment I’ve been waiting for, the tomb of Robert I, King of Scotland, my 20th great grandfather!

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It’s a pretty incredible feeling to be standing beside the tomb of such a famous and significant Scottish ancestor. It’s difficult to describe; pride & honor come to mind for starters and the knowledge that this person, who represents one piece, one part, of what I come from is coursing through my being at this very moment.

He’s part of who I am and if just one person anywhere in my varied lineages, such as this person, didn’t exist in that golden ancestral chain, I simply would not exist at all.

Feelings and thoughts such as these serve to remind me that each of us plays our own little tiny little part and that we are connected for an eternity through time and space in this universe through our shared DNA and spirits of life.  IMG_4338

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Nearby in a closed case, there is even a plaster cast of his skull!

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On display near the exit of the church were these very informative interpretive panels set up with the history of his tomb, the church and the restorative work completed. I’ve included them here in case you might like to read and learn about it. Quite interesting…

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The banners hanging from the columns were quite spectacular and I was so pleased to find this handy sign explaining what each one represented – quite an array of nobility and positions!

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Of course, I can’t forget to get a picture of that wonderful organ that has been serenading us in the videos! In fact, the man that was playing the organ that day was a retired pastor of this church. He really played well and enjoyed himself tremendously while doing so.

After we had seen everything there was to see inside, we headed back outside to the churchyard. We had also worked up a bit of an appetite so we worked our way through the sculpture garden located in the corners of the grounds and went upstairs to the abbey cafe overlooking the majestic surroundings as we enjoyed our freshly baked soup and scones.

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IMG_4388IMG_4387IMG_4367After the replenishing meal, we made our way back across the churchyard toward the ruins of the Refectory and the Royal Palace, in the opposite corner of the grounds. The Royal Palace was rebuilt from the guest house of the monastery during the sixteenth century for James VI and his Queen. IMG_4369On our way to the Palace, we passed the east gable of the church which contains the tomb and shrine of St. Margaret. It’s been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times.

The tomb of Saint Margaret and Malcolm Canmore, within the ruined walls of the Lady chapel, was restored and enclosed by command of Queen Victoria.

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This place goes on and on!  It’s incredibly interesting and so full of significant history.

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We will start with what used to be the Royal Palace; three stories high and adjacent to the monks’ refectory.

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In the photo above, the interpretive panel explains how the Palace may have looked in its heydey.  I took a before and after picture of each section on each floor and have arranged them below so you can compare what each portion of the castle may have looked yourself, like the one just below shows the upper right-hand portion of the Palace that would have held the Royal Bed in the bedroom: four embroiderers adorned a special bed for the royal birth with gold and silver threads, green silk and velvet. It was a gift from James to Anna.

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On the 2nd floor below: a Grand window, Anna added this in her 1589 renovations. It gave her a view down over the Tower Burn. Also note the #5 denoting a perilous spiral staircase, in 1602 Roger Aston ‘fell over a pair of high stairs at the Queen’s chamber door where he was taken up dead and so remained for 3 hours.’ A nobleman had already fallen here and ‘dashed out all his brains!’

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The Gallery at number 3: Residents and guests could play music and games here, and exercise in comfort on wet days.

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#4 The Hall: Guests and residents would dine here, and wait to enter the Queen’s presence-chamber next door.

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The kitchens, storage and servants’ quarters were all below ground level.IMG_4464IMG_4465

IMG_4466Now for the other side of these complex and massive ruins – the Refectory…IMG_4298

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It’s been extremely interesting, informative and emotional for me to visit this spectacular iconic treasure.  One more shot before I get back to the car park… I will long remember this place.IMG_4537IMG_4538Our next stop is the Queensferry bridges spanning the wide divide of the Forth estuary from Dunfermline to Edinburgh with particular attention being paid to the red railway bridge, an engineering feat in its own right and had the world’s longest spans (541 m) when it opened in 1890. It remains one of the greatest cantilever trussed bridges and continues to carry passengers and freight.

Its distinctive industrial aesthetic appeal is the result of a forthright and unadorned display of its structural components. Innovative in style, materials and scale, the Forth Bridge marks an important milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Two other bridges nearby carry the trucks and cars across the Forth. When the photo below was taken the crews were finishing up the last remaining touches on the newest third bridge as it was due to open in just one week’s time!  The newest bridge is the one furthest away and appears slightly lower in the photo than the older one in the foreground.

IMG_4562We viewed the bridges from Queensferry and then walked through the adjoining neighbourhood surrounding the waterfront, enjoying an ice cream along the way.  What a pretty spot with some very intriguing sights!IMG_4546IMG_4547IMG_4548IMG_4549IMG_4550IMG_4552IMG_4553IMG_4554

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It certainly turned out to be one heck of an ancestral surprise kind of a day and was filled with many beautiful, historical sights with a sweet ending at an old-fashioned Sweet Shop.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Keith and Helen but the next day I packed up my belongings once again and to continue on down the road a little further to my next destination, Tantallon Castle & Dewar, making my way to the Scottish Borders on the east coast.  That’s another story, however, for another time in another blog post. Until then…

 

 

 

 

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Perth Tattoo and a Stunning Sunday Drive Hither & Yon in Perthshire near Loch Tay

Sunday, August 20th was another fun-filled day. Karen had planned a whole host of wonderful sights for me to see and experience. We left her home in Scone and traveled a few short miles to the nearby city of Perth, which was once the capital of Scotland many, many years ago around the 12th century.

IMG_4055We parked the car and she took me on a bit of a walking tour in the core of the old part of the city.

One of the first buildings we came to was this quaint stone building where a certain young lady, Catherine Glover, once lived.  She was known as The Fair Maid of Perth because she was the main character in a novel written by Sir Walter Scott. Inspired by the strange, but historically true, story of the Battle of the North Inch, it is set in Perth (then called ‘Saint Johnstone’) and other parts of Scotland around 1400.

 

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IMG_4074Nearby in the High Street (now a pedestrian shopping zone), there was this statue of Catherine Glover, the Fair Maid of Perth.

 

Makes me want to read the book now.  Catharine Glover, the daughter of a glovemaker in Perth, kisses Henry Gow, the armorer, while he is sleeping, on Valentine’s Day, and declares him her love. However, Catharine had also caught the eye of the Duke of Rothesay who also wanted her so much that he tried to abduct her by putting a ladder up to her window to steal her away. When Henry Gow interrupts this attempted abduction by the Duke, the armorer is drawn simultaneously into a royal intrigue and a Highland feud. Sounds intriguing!  Anyway, back to the tour…

Anyway, back to the tour…

Next, we came upon the only remaining part of the old wall of the city…

A bit further down a city lane called The Skinnergate, she brought me to the oldest establishment in Perth, The Ship Inn, which has been here and functioning since medieval times and is one of Perth’s oldest licensed premises!  Famous for its trading in leather goods, the Skinnergate is one of Perth’s oldest streets!

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We walked along for a bit longer in the old town, taking in the sights, when we realized what time it was.  We needed to get back up to the North Insch (a park) along the banks of the River Tay because there was something very special taking place there in a little while!

We arrived at the park and found two other long time friends of Karen’s, Lynne and her brother David from the Dundee area who were saving us seats in the grandstands for the Perth Tattoo!!!

Before the Tattoo began, however, there would be a parade along the street that borders the river and leads into the park.  The parade consisted mostly of the performers that would be entertaining us at the Tattoo!  I always just love a parade, so while Karen, Lynne, and David got caught up with each other, I headed down to the parade route and enjoyed what it had to offer.

 

The parade began with an escort led by the local motorcycle enthusiasts!

Then my favorite, a pipe band with men in kilts!

Followed by a whole host of other organizations and characters.

 

 

 

 

 

Even the Japanese were there!  Wow.  What is so cool about this is that a lot of the bands from nearby and famous Edinburgh Tattoo come over to Perth afterward to perform for this event.

After the parade, I headed back to the grandstands where Karen, Lynne, and David were, got settled into my seat and thoroughly enjoyed the various performances that were set out for us to enjoy for free!  Talk about a concert in the park!  Wow!

 

 

We had Highland dancers from a ballet company too!

As a super added bonus, we were entertained by the Red Hot Chili Pipers!  They are so good and sure add a different twist to bagpipes! So much fun!

 

We were a bit hungry after that varied and lengthy plethora of entertainment so our next stop was to get a bite to eat at the Black Watch Castle!  How fun!

 

 

They had a lovely Tea Room attached to the castle and soon we were enjoying some of their delicious choices of fare.IMG_4184

 

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Feeling totally satiated after that wonderful meal, we all piled into Karen’s car and drove north out of town into the countryside to take in some more sights. This is basically the route we followed.mapWe drove north out of Perth toward Dunkeld and then turned west and then north again to climb way up high over one track roads to the hills and Heather filled moors near Loch Fruechile with vistas that just gave me goose bumps!IMG_4202IMG_4201IMG_4195IMG_4194

 

 

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Over the top and heading down the other side of the pass we came to these outstanding views of  Ben Schiehallion in the distance.IMG_4227

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After descending back down into the valleys beyond we arrived in a lovely village called Kenmore.  On the banks of Loch Tay, there were these very interesting ancient Iron Age type of dwellings called a crannog at the Scottish Crannog Centre.

According to their website, Oakbank Crannog is one of 18 crannogs in Loch Tay, Perthshire located off the village of Fearnan on the north shore. Dating to the early Iron Age some 2500 years ago, it was originally built of timber, utilizing piles (stilts) driven into the loch bed to create a platform above the water supporting a settlement. Incredibly well-preserved structural remains include the remains of the house floor covered with bracken and ferns; stakes and piles that supported the woven hazel walls and roof of the house; and 40 elm and oak stumps marking the remains of a walkway which led to the shore. Incredible dwellings, aren’t they?

 

Then we drove to the nearby village of Kenmore with their row houses near Taymouth Castle.P1000701We parked the car and went to visit the church in the village, the Kirk of Kenmore.

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P1000707Then we piled back in the car and traveled a bit further to another distinctive village, Fortingall. Karen explained its history to us as we drove through and past these delightful and unique houses.  Instead of trying to relate all of the wonderful information she bestowed upon us as we admired the architecture, I am just going to let Wikipedia explain it for me:

“The attractive village of Fortingall, with its large hotel adjoining the churchyard, was built 1890-91 by the shipowner and Unionist MP, Sir Donald Currie (1825–1909), who bought the Glenlyon Estate, including the village, in 1885.

It was designed by the architect James M MacLaren (1853–90) and built by John McNaughton. The thatched cottages are notable examples of a planned village built in vernacular style (here combining both Lowland Scottish and English influences, notably from Devon) and are increasingly appreciated as one of the most important examples of ‘arts and crafts’ vernacular style in Scotland.

The Fortingall Hotel, recently (2006–07) restored to its original appearance, is an important example of Scottish vernacular revival. Based on the tower-houses and burgh architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries, but in a modern idiom which anticipates the buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose work MacLaren influenced.

Glenlyon House, and its adjoining Farm and steading, west of the village, were also designed, or largely rebuilt, to MacLaren’s designs.

 

At the church, we got out of the car to explore and stretch our legs.

One of the main attractions for me in this kirkyard is the ancient Yew tree below.P1000717The Fortingall Yew is an ancient tree in its own walled enclosure within the village churchyard. Its age is estimated to be between 3000 and 9000 years, and it may be the oldest living tree – perhaps even the oldest living thing – in Europe. Place-name and archaeological evidence hint at an Iron Age cult center at Fortingall, which may have had this tree as its focus. The site was Christianised during the Dark Ages, perhaps because it was already a sacred place.

In the two photos below, the first picture shows what remains of the trunk of the tree. In the second picture, you can see little wooden posts inserted in the ground in a circular fashion.  These posts show where the whole trunk of the tree stood and how big around it was.  It is amazing that after such a long time, that there is still a rather large segment remaining! I wanted so badly to snatch a small twig of this tree to bring home with me, but that’s a no-no!  Dang!

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Again, according to Wikipedia: The parish church is on an early Christian site, dedicated to Coeddi, Bishop of Iona (died 712), probably founded about 700 AD from Iona itself as a daughter monastery. Though undocumented, crop-marks of surrounding ditched enclosures have been identified from the air, and the church’s unusual dedication and fragments of several finely carved cross-slabs preserved in the church all point to an early origin as a major church site. Also preserved in an alcove in the church is an early hand-bell in Irish style (iron with bronze coating), dating from the 7th or 8th century, one of several to have survived in Highland Perthshire. Several slabs with simple incised crosses (best paralleled at Iona and other west of Scotland sites) and a massive early font are to be seen in the churchyard. The attractive white-harled parish church (built 1901-02), notable for its fine woodwork, is open in summer. Its Arts and Crafts style was designed to harmonize with the rest of the village. A permanent display on the cross-slabs and the early church was recently installed in the building. Fortingall has one of the largest collections of early medieval sculpture in Scotland.

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P1000743We continued our journey passing this wonderful little waterfall.

 

We began our journey back toward Scone over another remote pass near Ben Lawers, passing Lochan Na Lainge with the Ben Lawers Dam along the way and then traveled through Aberfeldy following the River Tay along the way back to the A9 to head south back to Scone.

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By the time we arrived in Scone the sun had gone down and it was dark. We managed, however, to get back to town just below 11 p.m. and in time to go to Karen’s favorite chip shop for a fish dinner which we ate in the car at the top of a hill at an overlook where we could see the city lights of Perth below as we devoured our food. It was such a fun adventure.  I still can’t believe how much we did in one day!  For a change, I didn’t have to do all the driving either!  Thank

It was such a fun adventure.  I still can’t believe how much we did in one day!  For a change, I didn’t have to do all the driving either!  Thank you, Karen, you are the hostess with the mostess!  Wow!

The following day, I was due to head just a bit further south to visit more friends near Edinburgh, but before I took off down the road, Karen and I squeezed in one more very special sight I couldn’t miss while in Scone, the Scone Abbey where the ancient Kings of Scotland were crowned and only just a mile or so from where Karen lives!

 

 

Below, in this little ancient building, so much history has been made.  Also, do you see the bell hanging off the tree branch in the photo on the right?  The Scottish Parliament used to meet here and whenever they passed a new law, that bell would be rung so everyone would know a new law had been put into effect.

 

Below is a replica of the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny.  The original now resides in Edinburgh, but, this is the spot where the Kings of Scots would have sat upon the Stone of Scone to become crowned as Kings.  A very historic, albeit humble, spot indeed!

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Inside Scone Abbey…

 

 

 

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Again, I’ll let Wikipedia do the detailed explanation of the significance of this place:

Scone was from at least the 9th century the crowning-place of the Kings of Scots and home to the Stone of Scone, more commonly referred to as the Stone of DestinyKenneth MacAlpin (traditionally known as the first King of Scots), Shakespeare‘s MacbethRobert the Bruce, and Charles II number amongst the 38 Kings of Scots inaugurated and crowned at Scone.

It was believed that no king had a right to reign as King of Scots unless he had first been crowned at Scone upon the Stone of Scone. In the Middle Ages, the land was the site of a major Augustinian abbey, Scone Abbey, nothing of which now remains above ground level except detached architectural fragments. Scone was also the site of the first Parliament of Scotland, or Council/Assembly. King Constantine II in 906 called for an assembly to meet at Scone. The assembly was recorded in the Chronicle of the Kings of AlbaAlba being the early name for the early medieval Kingdom of Scotland. The Chronicle records that:

King Constantine and Bishop Cellach met at the Hill of Belief near the Royal City of Scone and pledged themselves that the laws and disciplines of the faith, and the laws of churches and gospels, should be kept pariter cum Scottis.[6]

Scone was thus the center of power in the ancient Kingdom of Alba, doubling up as the site of both Scottish coronations and parliaments. Further to this in medieval times, Scone acted as a royal residence and hunting ground. Robert II would have spent most of his life calling Scone home. He was eventually laid to rest in the Abbey itself, although his grave has never been located. A popular old saying suggests the significance of Scone’s status in the ancient Kingdom of Alba‘s, and later Scotland’s, governance and rule:

As the Bell of Scone rang, So mote it be.[7]

This saying has often been re-quoted as “When the Bell of Scone tolls, the law of the land has been made”. It is a statement of the great significance of the ceremonies held at Scone, and the judgments made from a top the Moot Hill.

It is old sayings like this which frustrated historians, as the sayings clearly detail Scone’s important role in Scottish history, and most interestingly in the early formation of the Scottish nation. The primary source of much of Scone’s early history and modern reputation is reliant upon Scottish folklore. An example of another piece of Scottish folklore which reminds us of Scone’s position as the premier seat of power in the evolving early medieval Scottish nation is the Gaelic:

Comhairle clag Sgàin: An rud nach buin duit na bean dà.[8]

“Counsel of the bell of Scone, Touch not what is not thine own.”

In Gaelic poetry Scone’s association more specifically with kings and king-making gave it various poetic epithets, for instance, Scoine sciath-airde, meaning “Scone of the High Shields”, and Scoine sciath-bhinne, meaning “Scone of the Noisy Shields”.[9] The “Noisy Shields” here refers to a folkloric ceremony in which magnates would gather at Scone for a Council. As they entered the Great Hall each magnate in turn would hang their shield displaying their Coats of Arms on the walls before beating their weapons against them.

The mons placiti or Scone Moot Hill is the inauguration site of the Scottish Kings. It is also called ‘Boot Hill’, possibly from an ancient tradition whereby nobles swore fealty to their king whilst wearing the earth of their own lands in their foot-bindings or boots, or even by standing upon the earth that they had brought with them from their respective homelands (carrying the soil in their boots). The tradition is that the Moot Hill, or rather ‘Boot Hill’, came into being as a result of this tradition of nobles bring a piece of their own lands to Scone.

The Kings of Scots, themselves inaugurated upon the Moot Hill, were thus making during these ceremonies a hugely symbolic commitment to the people of Scotland, the Scots. This commitment was made from atop a hill which, if one believes the tradition, represented all parts of the kingdom of Scots and thus allowed the King to make his oaths whilst standing symbolically upon all of Scotland.[10]

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Just across the way from the Abbey is Scone Palace built of red sandstone with a castellated roof, it is one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic style in the United Kingdom. The Palace has thus been home to the Earls of Mansfield for over 400 years. We went inside and toured its magnificent interiors (I couldn’t take pictures) and it was indeed nice and filled with many treasures, but quite frankly, I much more preferred the small Abbey and its overwhelming significance and historical value to Scotland.

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As they say, however, all good things must come to an end.  After spending two absolutely delightful days exploring Perthshire with Karen, I hated to leave, but leave I must. Such an adventure we had.  I loved meeting her friends, Karen, Lynne, and David and we all had such a grand time together, sharing laughs, stories and enjoying the sights together.  What a wonderful experience.  I hope to return again someday soon and do a whole lot more exploring with Karen in her neck of the woods!  Thank you, Karen!

 

 

 

Culross, Kelpies & Falkirk Wheel

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It’s been two weeks since I last posted a blog; I have been traveling south through Scotland and into England spending a day or two in each location. Now I am in Wales and I have visited a whole lot of interesting places to share with you, my dear readers.  It’s been non-stop for 14 days!

I left Aberdeen on the 19th of August and drove as far as Scone (Point B on the map above) to visit my friend, Karen MacGregor, at her house for two days. IMG_3722I no sooner arrived when we jumped in her car along with another good friend of hers, Vicki, and took off across the countryside on an adventure.  We stopped at an old churchyard in Kinross near Loch Leven and saw a place over on the island where Mary Queen of Scots was held captive.

 

Then we stopped for lunch at a very lovely Tea Room at Dobbie’s Garden Center on the outskirts of Kinross just as we were leaving town.  (I just love how Scotland’s garden centers invariably have a Tea Room in them where you can get great food!  What a great idea!)IMG_3725
IMG_3723After a delightful lunch of jacket potatoes stuffed with chicken, pineapple, and a mango dressing, we headed off to our next stop – a delightful village called Culross, (Point C on the map) which has been preserved as it was many, many moons ago!

According to the National Trust for Scotland, “Culross is Scotland’s most complete example of a burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries.

White-harled houses with red-tiled roofs line the steep cobbled streets which run from the market cross to the hilltop abbey. In the center is the ochre-colored palace with its beautifully reconstructed period garden, complete with herbs, fruit and vegetables, and rare Scots Dumpy hens. Get a sense of what it would have been like to live in Culross Palace in its prime, with original painted woodwork and beautifully restored 17th and 18th-century interiors.

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It’s little wonder that Culross is acknowledged as one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland – or that it’s so often used as a film and television location. The streets of Culross have appeared many times in the hit US TV series Outlander.”

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It was a delightful experience to walk through the twisty cobbled lanes of the old village admiring each of the unique houses and manors. So much character around every turn.

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We worked our way up the hill to the old Abbey at the top.

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Inside was equally as beautiful…

IMG_3907We stopped at the Abbey Tea Room to enjoy some lemon sponge cake and some tea and coffee and then worked our way back down the hill toward the car to head off on even more adventures.

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Our next stop – the fabulous “Kelpies” sculptures near Falkirk!

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According to the Helix website:

The history of The Kelpies

Chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of the project, The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 100 horses; a quality that is analogous to the transformational change of our landscapes, the endurance of our inland waterways and the strength of our communities.

Each of The Kelpies stands up to 30 meters tall and each one weighs over 300 tons.

Andy Scott’s vision for The Kelpies follows the lineage of the heavy horse of industry and economy, pulling the wagons and plows, barges and coal ships that shaped the structural layout of the area. Retaining The Kelpies as the title for these equine monuments, Andy sought to represent the transformational and sustainable enduring qualities The Helix stands for through the majesty of The Kelpies.

“The artistic intent (of the Kelpies) is built around a contemporary sculptural monument. Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth & Clyde canal, and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians.” Andy Scott, Sculptor

Aren’t they fabulous?  We spent quite a bit of time here just admiring them (and taking about 300 pictures of them from every angle!)

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Last but not least was the amazing Falkirk Wheel!  It was closed by the time we got there but it was still a magnificent engineering feat the stand and admire. This wheel turns and lifts boats up into the air from the water below to meet up with the adjoining canal full of water above that runs off behind it and away from us from the view above.

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IMG_4054It was certainly a full day of wonderful discoveries and sights to please the eyes. The three of us headed back up to Scone to Karen’s place where she fixed us a wonderful meal followed by this fabulous dessert – a baked meringue shell filled with clotted cream and topped with fresh fruit – Pavlova.

Oh, my goodness gracious was that ever yummy!