Scots Roots

Rogie Falls
November 21, 2016, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: ,

Rogie Falls 1About a mile north west of Contin on the Ullapool road in Ross-shire, Rogie Falls are a popular tourist attraction and starting point for a number of forest trails along the Black Water river.

Rogie Falls 2A suspension bridge supporting no more than five people at a time crosses the river, its swaying motion making it quite difficult to take photographs.

Rogie Falls 3Below the bridge, at the side of the river, a fish ladder was built to allow salmon and other fish to reach their spawning grounds upriver. Not all of them realise it’s there, of course, and you can often see salmon leaping up the main falls, usually in the autumn.

Rogie Falls 4

Rogie Falls 5

St Michael’s Church, Linlithgow
October 16, 2016, 11:29 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: , ,

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 1Standing on a hill next to the old Royal palace at Linlithgow, St Michael’s church can be seen from miles away in all directions – thanks, in particular, to its distinctive crown-topped tower.

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 2Built in the 12th century, the church has seen many changes. It was used as a garrison storehouse by King Edward I of England in the years prior to the Battle of Bannockburn. It was badly damaged by a great fire in 1424 and took more than a hundred years to rebuild. Much of the money for its rebuilding came from the Stewart monarchs who liked to worship there.

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 3Mary, Queen of Scots, was born at Linlithgow Palace in 1542 and was baptised at St Michael’s.

In 1646, Oliver Cromwell’s roundhead troops arrived in Linlithgow and men and horses were billeted in the church.

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 4Further repair work was needed in the early 1800s when it was realised that some of the ceiling beams were rotten. In 1821 the old stone crown which sat on top of the tower had to be removed because it was too heavy. This crown was eventually replaced in 1964 with a 58 feet tall crown made of light anodised aluminium.

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 5

St Michael's Church, Linlithgow 6

Iron Age Village, Great Bernera, Outer Hebrides
September 30, 2016, 10:00 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Iron Age Village 1A great storm in the winter of 1993 uncovered substantial stonework amongst the sand dunes on the beach at Bostadh on Great Bernera in the Outer Hebrides.

The site was excavated in 1996 to reveal a Norse settlement but further digging brought to light an earlier Iron Age village dating from around 500 – 800AD.

Iron Age Village 2Archaeologists removed various animal and fish bones, shells, plant remains and combs from the dig and some of these can be seen at the museum in nearby Breaclete. The site was then covered over with sand once more to preserve the structures.

Iron Age Village 3In 1998, a replica of one of the Iron Age huts was built just inland from the beach. It is comprised of a larger circular building with a central hearth, connected to a smaller circular building which was probably used for storage. A single turf roof covers both buildings. The inside is laid out as it would have been and visitors are welcome for a small fee.

Iron Age Village 4

Abriachan Gardens
September 16, 2016, 4:48 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Abriachan 3This garden was established little more than thirty years ago and has steadily grown up the hill from the Loch Ness roadside to merge with the surrounding woodland.

Abriachan 2Native plants are expertly mixed with exotic plantings from New Zealand and the Falkland Islands where the current owners previously lived.

Abriachan 5Stunningly situated in the Great Glen by the shores of Loch Ness, just 8 miles south of Inverness, this 4 acre garden will lead you up the woodland path and provide you with fantastic views over the loch.

Abriachan 1An adjoining nursery gives you the opportunity to take home many of the plants you will have seen.

Abriachan 4

Abriachan 6

North Lewis Poppy Trail
September 6, 2016, 1:33 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Poppy Trail 1These photos aren’t exactly picturesque but the story they tell is quite interesting. Large poppies have been placed beside the homes or crofts of the men of North Lewis in the Outer Hebrides who lost their lives in World War One.

Poppy Trail 2Poppy Trail 3It’s shocking to look down whole streets and see these reminders outside nearly every house – not always single flowers but often two, three or four outside individual dwellings. Some villages have 20 to 30 poppies.

The loss of so many young men – sons, brothers, husbands, fathers – must have been devastating to such a rural community. Around a quarter of 900 people from the north of Lewis who served in the war didn’t return. The Trail is a very moving memorial to the men who died.

Poppy Trail 4

Poppy Trail 5

RRS Discovery

RRS Discovery 1The job of building the Royal Research Ship Discovery was given to Dundee’s shipyards because of their long experience of building whaling ships that were strong enough to sail through the Arctic pack ice. It was commissioned by the Royal Geographical Society for the 1901 British National Antarctic Expedition to be led by Lieutenant Robert Falcon Scott of the Royal Navy.

Setting sail from the Isle of Wight on 6th August 1901, the Discovery made her way to the Antarctic by way of New Zealand carrying enough provisions for three years – including a flock of 45 sheep. Life on board can’t have been easy considering that they also had 23 sled dogs to look after.

Antarctica was finally sighted on 8th January 1902. A base was established at McMurdo Sound and this would be home to the members of the expedition for the next couple of years. The expeditions main purpose was scientific so magnetic surveys and geological, biological, meteorological and oceanographic research were all carried out. Many new species were discovered and hundreds of miles of coastline and mountain ranges were mapped.

RRS Discovery 2

RRS Discovery 5

Scott’s Cabin.

On February 16th 1904, having been blasted free from its icy prison with help from two relief ships, Morning and Terra Nova, Discovery began the long voyage home arriving at Spithead on 10th September 1904.

RRS Discovery 4In 1905, Discovery was sold to the Hudson’s Bay Company and she began working as a cargo vessel.

Scott returned to the Antarctic in 1910 on board the Terra Nova in a bid to become the first man to reach the South Pole. His group made it to the Pole only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it by five weeks. Scott and his party all died in blizzard conditions while returning from the Pole to the ship. Scott is presumed to have died around 29th March 1912, his body and those of his companions being found by a search party several months later.

RRS Discovery 3Following a period running munitions to Russia during the First World War, the Discovery was refitted in 1923 and in 1925 again set sail for Antarctica as part of the Discovery Oceanographic Expedition to research whale stocks. From 1929 to 1931 she served in a research role as part of the British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition.

After a period as a training ship for the Sea Scouts in London, Discovery passed into the care of the Maritime Trust in 1979 until ownership transferred to the Dundee Heritage Trust in 1985. In 1986, Discovery returned to Dundee to form the centrepiece of the Discovery Point Visitor Centre.

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St Andrews Castle
August 5, 2016, 9:32 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

St Andrews Castle 1St Andrews Castle 2St Andrews Castle 3Not far from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews Castle stands on the cliffs overlooking the North Sea.

Originally built in the 1100s as the residence of the bishops of the newly built cathedral, the castle suffered significant damage during the Wars of Independence (1296 to 1356) and was substantially rebuilt in 1385 by Bishop Walter Trail.

Mines and countermines dug during the religious tensions of the Reformation in the 16th century  when the castle was under siege can still be visited deep in the castle’s underbelly.

St Andrews Castle 4Bishops were abolished in Scotland following the Reformation so the castle was left without a resident and it fell gradually into disrepair and ruin.

St Andrews Castle 5

St Andrews Castle 6

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