Scots Roots

Malleny Garden
July 22, 2016, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Scottish History, Photographs | Tags: , ,

Malleny Garden 1Malleny Garden 2At Balerno, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, is a wonderful walled garden surrounded by woodland. Malleny Garden has around 150 varieties of rose including a National Collection of 19th century shrub roses.

The borders are wide and contain a large selection of shrubs and herbaceous perennials with two Victorian greenhouses sheltering some of the more tender plants.

Next to the garden stands Malleny House. The current house was built in 1637 but records of the site date back to 1330.

Four tall 400 year old yew trees, known as the Four Evengelists, dominate the entrance to the garden.

Malleny Garden 7

Malleny Garden 8

Cairnpapple Hill
July 9, 2016, 10:47 am
Filed under: Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: ,

Cairnpapple 1Cairnpapple Hill, to the north of Bathgate in West Lothian, is one of the most important prehistoric sites on mainland Scotland. The site was excavated in the 1940s by Professor Piggott of the University of Edinburgh. He discovered that the site had been in use from around 5,500 years ago.

Cairnpapple 2Traces of six hearths from that period were discovered but these were later covered by a henge monument consisting of a large oval bank surrounded by a ditch enclosing a ring of 24 wooden posts.

The wood has long since rotted away but the post holes can still be seen.

Cairnpapple 3The henge fell out of use around 4,000 years ago but the area continued to be used as a burial site.

Cairnpapple 4Several burial cists have been found but these were eventually covered by a large burial cairn measuring 30 metres in diameter. The 1940s excavation has now been partly covered by a concrete dome replicating one of the earlier cairns. Visitors can enter the cairn by means of a stepladder to see reconstructions of two of the early graves.

Cairnpapple 5

Cairnpapple 6

Jupiter Artland
June 27, 2016, 9:55 am
Filed under: Photographs, West Lothian | Tags:
Jupiter Artland 1

CELLS OF LIFE – Charles Jencks

Jupiter Artland 2Taking it’s inspiration from Ian Hamilton Findlay’s ‘Little Sparta’, Jupiter Artland is a collection of artworks by internationally renowned artists spread across the grounds of Bonnington House near Wilkieston in West Lothian.

Jupiter Artland 3

FROM EAR TO HERE V.20 – Celeste Boursier – Mougenot


Jupiter Artland 4

TEMPLE OF APOLLO – Ian Hamilton Finlay

The formal gardens, meadows and woodland around the Jacobean house have been adapted to create a unique sculpture park across the 100 acre estate.

The owners, art collectors Robert and Nicky Wilson, have spent the years since buying the house and grounds in 1999 commissioning art works inspired by the landscape.

Any money raised from events, exhibitions etc is put towards an education programme so that children in Scotland can benefit from the inspiring environment at Jupiter Artland.



Jupiter Artland 8

FIRMAMENT – Antony Gormley

Strome Castle
June 10, 2016, 10:41 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Strome Castle 1Strome Castle 2Strategically placed on a rocky promontory on the north side of Loch Carron in Wester Ross, Strome Castle was built in the early 1400s as a stronghold for the Lords of the Isles.

Strome Castle 3The castle later became a source of bitter rivalry between the Clan McDonald of Glengarry and the Clan Mackenzie of Kintail.


Following a long siege in 1602, the MacDonalds surrendered the castle to the Mackenzies who promptly demolished it and blew it up.

Today you can still see the remains of what would have been a square stone tower with four foot thick walls.

Through the window you can look down the loch towards the Isle of Skye in the west.

Strome Castle was donated to the National Trust for Scotland in 1939.

Strome Castle 4

Strome Castle 5

Knock Farril
May 27, 2016, 11:16 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Knockfarrel 1The hillfort of Knock Farril was the seat of an Iron Age chieftain or a Pictish king. It’s remains can be found on the summit of Knockfarrel hill near Dingwall to the north of Inverness.

Knockfarrel 2The summit is a wide grassy square surrounded by ditches and strange looking rocks with an almost glass-like appearance – the result of vitrification, a process whereby dry stone walls were subjected to intense heat which fused the stones together. It was once thought that vitrification was part of the building process but it is now more commonly believed to have been a process of destruction – where a conquered hillfort was destroyed by the victors.

In the early 1770s the engineer John Williams conducted one of the earliest recorded archaeological excavations in Scotland here.

The views from the summit are spectacular in all directions.

Knockfarrel 3

Knockfarrel 4

Scottish Korean War Memorial
May 13, 2016, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: ,

Scottish Korean War Memorial 1

Scottish Korean War Memorial 2

Scottish Korean War Memorial 3Witchcraig Wood is a pleasant short walk in the Bathgate Hills in West Lothian. Near the beginning of the walk is the Scottish Korean War Memorial, a landscaped area consisting of two mounds in the Ying and Yang shapes seen on the Korean flag and a central pagoda which contains panels listing the names of the 1113 British servicemen, merchant seamen and war correspondents who died in the Korean War.

A native Scottish tree has been planted for each of the men who died and the two mounds have 110 Korean firs on them – one for every ten dead.

Scottish Korean War Memorial 4The memorial was created by the Lothians and West of Scotland branch of the British Korean Veterans Association in memory of their fallen comrades.

Many of the men who died were young National Service men and most of the dead are buried in Pusan military cemetery in South Korea. The memorial is intended to give their relatives somewhere closer to home to pay their respects.

The Scottish Korean War Memorial opened on 27 June 2000 to mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the war.

Scottish Korean War Memorial 5

Scottish Korean War Memorial 6

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


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