Scots Roots

The Great Tapestry of Scotland
September 29, 2015, 9:48 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags:

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 1The Great Tapestry of Scotland 2The Great Tapestry of Scotland, depicting 12,000 years of Scottish history, is currently the longest embroidered tapestry in the world at 143 metres long.

It was the brainchild of the writer Alexander McCall Smith who, together with historian Alistair Moffat and artistic designer Andrew Crummy, formed a team to produce the tapestry with the aid of more than 1,000 stitchers, all volunteers, from all over Scotland.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 3It took 65,000 hours of stitching and used over 300 miles of wool.

The 160 panels detail Scotland’s history from the Ice Age to the forming of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Taking over two years to complete, the tapestry is currently touring Scotland and will eventually be displayed in a purpose built gallery in the Scottish Borders.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 4

The Great Tapestry of Scotland 5

Neil Gunn Memorial
September 14, 2015, 11:23 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: ,

Neil Gunn 1Neil Gunn 2High above the valley of the River Peffery, on the Heights of Brae, stands a monument to the famous Highland writer Neil Gunn.

The site for the memorial was chosen because Neil spent many of his most prolific years living at Brae Farm House which is situated just down the slope from the monument. He tended to write mainly in the mornings and spent his afternoons walking – a favourite walk being up through the fields behind the house and on to the moors and hills beyond the Heights road.

Neil Gunn 3Neil and his wife Daisy spent 12 years at Brae Farm House – from 1938 to 1950 – and in that period he wrote 11 of his 20 novels including The Silver Darlings and The Green Isle of the Great Deep.

The monument was unveiled on 31 October 1987 by Sorley Maclean, the poet, and Jessie Kesson, the writer. The views from the Heights of Brae are fantastic – with Dingwall and the Cromarty Firth to the east, Knockfarrel and the Grampians to the south, the mountains of Kintail to the west and Ben Wyvis to the north.

Neil Gunn 4

Brae Farm

Neil Gunn 5

Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2015
September 1, 2015, 11:44 am
Filed under: Photographs | Tags: , ,

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival

Strathpeffer Spa
August 17, 2015, 10:21 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags:
Strathpeffer Square

           Strathpeffer Square

Strathpeffer Pavilion

Strathpeffer Pavilion

In the 1700s, sulphurous springs were discovered in the small village of Strathpeffer in Ross and Cromarty, which were widely acclaimed for their healing properties.

People came from all over the UK and Europe to sample the waters.

In 1818 a permanent Spa Pavilion was built to house the spring.

The popularity of the village increased as the railways started to reach the north of Scotland, a branch line to Strathpeffer being opened in 1885.

Strathpeffer Pump Room

Strathpeffer Pump Room

This led to the building of grand hotels and large villas to accommodate the growing stream of visitors coming to take the waters.

The village’s popularity as a spa waned following the second world war but Strathpeffer remains a tourist attraction with several of the old pump buildings having been restored and the Victorian station’s conversion into a museum and café.

Strathpeffer Station

                 Strathpeffer Station                 

Fairy Pools
August 1, 2015, 9:39 am
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Fairy Pools 3A fine walk across moorland and through heather, the Fairy Pools can be found at the foot of the Black Cuillin near the road to Glenbrittle on the Isle of Skye. The walk itself is fairly short, only about 2 km, but very rewarding with fantastic views of the mountains.

Fairy Pools 2

Fairy Pools 1

The pools are formed on the River Brittle as it heads down the Coire na Creiche over numerous waterfalls. Hardy souls have been known to take a dip in the pools but the water isn’t warm.

Fairy Pools 5

Fairy Pools 4

Fairy Pools 6

Mons Meg
July 2, 2015, 8:56 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , ,

Mons Meg 1Mons Meg 2One of the largest cannons in the world, Mons Meg was gifted to King James II of Scotland in 1457 by Duke Philip of Burgundy, probably in the hope that it would aid the Scots against the English.

The cannon, which could fire 150kg stone balls for up to two miles, was used in sieges until the middle of the 16th century. She could only be fired 8 – 10 times in a day because of the heat generated by the charge. James II was himself killed in 1460 during a siege on Roxburgh Castle when another of his cannon exploded.

Mons Meg 3After the mid 16th century, Mons Meg was only fired on ceremonial occasions but her own barrel burst in 1681 during a birthday salute to the Duke of Albany.

She remained in Edinburgh Castle until 1754 when she was taken to the Tower of London following the Jacobite uprising.

Mons Meg returned to Edinburgh in 1829 after a series of campaigns by Sir Walter Scott and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

The restored Mons Meg can still be seen today on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.

Mons Meg 4

Dunrobin Castle
June 18, 2015, 9:50 am
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: , , ,

Dunrobin CastleDunrobin Castle, the largest house in the north of Scotland, was originally built in the 15th century, probably on the site of an earlier medieval fort although most of the present building and the gardens were added by Sir Charles Berry between 1835 and 1850.

The castle is the family seat of the Earls of Sutherland and Clan Sutherland. On the death of the 18th Earl in 1766, the house passed to his daughter, Elizabeth, who married the politician George Leveson-Gower, later created 1st Duke of Sutherland.

Dunrobin Castle

Falconry at Dunrobin Castle

Leveson-Gower is estimated to have been the wealthiest man of the 19th century and remains a controversial figure for his role in the Highland Clearances.

The castle’s gardens, completed in 1850, were inspired by the gardens at the Palace of Versailles.

The castle and gardens are open to the public and falconry displays are regularly held in the gardens by a resident falconer.

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle

To see more, please click on Scottish Castles.


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