Scots Roots

Dunrobin Castle Gardens
April 29, 2016, 9:20 am
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: ,

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 1Inspired by the gardens at the Palace of Versailles, Dunrobin Castle’s gardens were designed and built by the architect Sir Charles Barry, the designer of the Houses of Parliament, in 1850.

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 2

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 3The formal gardens below the castle are arranged in two parterres around circular pools with fountains.

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 4Although it is located in the north east of Scotland, the gardens still benefit from the warmth of the Gulf Stream as it sweeps through the Pentland Firth and into the North Sea.

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 5Dunrobin Castle Gardens 6Due to its sheltered position between the castle and the sea, the garden is able to support a surprising range of plants.

More information on the castle can be found at Dunrobin Castle.

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 7

Dunrobin Castle Gardens 8

Leamington Lift Bridge
April 16, 2016, 9:15 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Leamington Lift Bridge 1Leamington Lift Bridge 2Leamington Lift Bridge 3This bridge was installed around 1906 to allow vehicles and people to cross the Union Canal at Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, replacing an older bridge built in 1869. In 1922, parts of the canal in central Edinburgh were filled in and the bridge was moved to its present site at Leamington Wharf.

By the 1960s the Leamington Lift Bridge had fallen out of use but it was refurbished when the canal was restored as part of the ‘Millenium Link’ project for the year 2000.

It was designed by Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth of Newcastle for the canal owners, the North British Railway, and is the only surviving example of an electrical lifting bridge on the Union Canal.

The deck is raised between gantries on each side of the road so that boats can pass underneath.

Leamington Lift Bridge 4

Cill Chriosd
April 1, 2016, 11:06 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Cill Chriosd 1Cill Chriosd 2Built around the 16th century to replace an earlier Mediaeval church, Cill Chriosd (Christ’s Church) stands on a mound in a remote valley on the road to Elgol on the Isle of Skye.

This was the parish church of Strathaird until 1840 when the parish church was located to nearby Broadford.

Pieces of the older church can still be seen built in to the west gable of the present church.

The valley in which Cill Chriosd is located was once a busy place with Skye marble being quarried on the opposite hillside from around 1700 until the outbreak of the First World War.

A small loch, Loch Cill Chriosd, is an important wildlife haven lying to the south west of the church.

Cill Chriosd 3

Cill Chriosd 4



Inverewe Garden
March 18, 2016, 10:43 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

Inverewe 1North west Scotland is not an obvious place to plant a sub-tropical garden but, thanks to Inverewe 2the warm currents of the Gulf Stream, Inverewe Garden, on the shores of Loch Ewe, has become one of Scotland’s most popular botanical attractions.

In 1862 the land was purchased for Osgood Mackenzie by his mother, Lady Mary Mackenzie. Over the years Osgood transformed it from a barren outcrop to a lush oasis.


Inverewe 3Inverewe 4He planted a shelter belt of 100 acres of woodland for protection and brought in tonnes of topsoil to create a walled garden.

He spent his whole life developing the garden, importing plants from all over the world.

Osgood died in 1922 but his daughter Mairi continued his work. Shortly before her death in 1953, she gifted the house and estate to the National Trust for Scotland.

Inverewe 5

Inverewe 6

The Italian Chapel, Orkney
March 4, 2016, 10:20 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Italian Chapel, OrkneyIn 1942, the tiny uninhabited island of Lamb Holm in the Orkney Islands became Camp 60, home to 550 Italian prisoners of war, mainly captured in North Africa. They were there to help build the Churchill Barriers to the east of Scapa Flow. These massive concrete causeways, designed to block eastern access to Scapa Flow, were begun in 1940 to link the south isles to mainland Orkney following the sinking of HMS Royal Oak by a U-boat the previous year.

Camp 60, comprised of 13 huts, was home to the Italian prisoners from January 1942 until September 1944. In 1943, permission was granted for the prisoners to build a chapel and this they did using two Nissen huts joined end to end. It was built in their spare time after work on the barriers was finished for the day using leftover concrete and materials scavenged from around the camp.

The facade on the outside of the chapel was fashioned by the prisoners from concrete and disguises the shape of the huts. Many of the prisoners were skilled tradesmen as can be seen from the beautiful interior of the chapel.

The building is still used as a chapel today and remains a popular tourist attraction.

Italian Chapel, Orkney

Silverbridge Falls
February 19, 2016, 10:13 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , , ,

Silverbridge Falls 1Silverbridge Falls 2

A pitstop on the way from Inverness to Ullapool or the base for a longer walk along the Black Water, Silverbridge Falls can be found about 2 kilometres to the north of Garve in Ross-shire.

The double-arched stone bridge, once part of an old drove route taking cattle to the markets in the south, gives great views up the foaming river.

Silverbridge Falls 3

Silverbridge Falls 4The falls at Silverbridge are particularly noisy, the river forcing itself over large rock sills and cascading down channels under the bridge.

About a mile further south, the river is crossed by another old stone bridge built by Major Caulfield in 1752 as part of a military road to help subdue the clans in the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion.

Silverbridge Falls 5

Dazzle ships
February 5, 2016, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Dazzle ships 1I’d never heard of dazzle ships until I came upon this one recently. I was amazed to learn that more than 2,000 ships were ‘dazzled’ during the First World War and that the process continued to be used into the Second.

‘Dazzling’ is a camouflage system that uses disorientating shapes to make it hard to estimate a ship’s range, speed and direction of travel, the aim being to confuse rather than conceal.

Dazzle ships 2It was developed by British marine artist, Norman Wilkinson, mainly to counter the threat posed by German U-Boats, employing techniques resembling those of avant-garde British painters.

This ship, the HMS President, one of three surviving WW1 warships, was ‘dazzled’ on its launch in 1918 (known then as HMS Saxifrage).  The current design is not the original but a contemporary work by German artist, Tobias Rehberger.

Dazzle ships 3


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