Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle is a castle near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It is the former home of the Marquess of Alisa, the chief of Clan Kennedy, but is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The clifftop castle lies within the Culzean Castle Country Park and is opened to the public. Since 1987, an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of five pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Culzean Castle was constructed as an L-plan castle by order of the 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, structure into a fine country house to be the seat of his earldom.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

                                             Culzean Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland

The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.

In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States. An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.

The castle re-opened in April 2011 after a refurbishment funded by a gift in the will of American millionaire William Lindsay to the National Trust for Scotland. Lindsay, who had never visited Scotland, requested that a significant portion of his $4 million go towards Culzean. Lindsay was reportedly interested in Eisenhower’s holidays at the castle.

Culzean Castle received 220,000 visitors in 2013, making it the National Trust for Scotland’s second-most popular property.

Culzean Castle and gardens

Culzean Castle and gardens

To the north of the castle is a bay containing the Gas House, which provided town gas for the castle up until 1940. This group of buildings consists of the Gas Manager’s house (now containing an exhibition on William Murdoch), the Retort House and the remains of the gasometer.

There are sea caves beneath the castle which are currently not open generally, but are open for tours throughout the summer.

Culzean Castle is used as the castle of Lord Summersisle (played by Christoper Lee) in the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man. The scenes here were filmed in February 1972.
Culzean Castle was featured in the PBS documentary series
Castles of Scotland in 1997.

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Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine is a freshwater loch in the district of Stirling, Scotland. It is a popular destination for tourists and day visitors from Glasgow and other nearby towns. The loch derives its name from the term cateran from the Gaelic ceathairne, a collective word meaning cattle thief or possibly peasantry. Historically this referred to a band of fighting men of a clan; hence the term applied to marauders or cattle-lifters, the most notorious of whom was Rob Roy MacGregor who was born at Glengyle House at the northern end of the Loch.

It is the fictional setting of Sir Walter Scott’s poem The Lady of the Lake and of the subsequent opera by Giachino Rossini La donna del lago. Loch Katrine is owned by Scottish Water and is the primary water reservoir for much of the city of Glasgow and its surrounding areas.
The main access points for Loch Katrine are either via TrossachsPier at the loch’s eastern end or Stronachlachar (Gaelic
Sròn a’ Chlachair “the headland of the stonemason”) towards the western end of the loch. Trossachs Pier essentially consists of a parking space, pier, gift shop and cafe (Katrine Cafe) which are open from the first to the last sailing of the cruise boats, (normally 6pm).

On the northern shore are the Brenchoile hunting lodge and the farms Letter (Gaelic: Leitir), Edra (Gaelic: Eatarra “between them”), Strone (Gaelic: An t-Sròn “the nose”), Coilachra, Portnellan (Gaelic: Port an Eilein “port of the island”) and Glengyle (Gaelic: Gleann Goill “glen of a lowlander”), on the southern are The Dhu (Gaelic: An Dubh “the black”) at the western end of the loch, Stronachlachar, the Royal Cottage, Culligart and Glasahoile (Gaelic: Glas-choille “greywood”). The roads and paths do not circle the loch completely, as the southern road stops at Glasahoile.

There are several small islands in Loch Katrine such as Ellen’s Isle (Gaelic: An t-Eilean Molach “the shingly isle”), the Black Isle and Factor’s Island (Gaelic: Eilean a’ Bhàillidh).

Borrowstoun ( Bo’ness)

Borrowstounness commonly known as Bo’ness is a coastal town and parish in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. It lies on a hillside on the south bank of the Firth of Forth within the Falkirk council area. At the 2001 census, Bo’ness had a resident population of 13,961, but according to a 2008 estimate this has since risen to 14,490. Until the local government reforms of the late 20th century, it lay within the county of West Lothian.

Bo'ness Kinneil Railway

Bo’ness Kinneil Railway

Bo’ness was formerly a centre of heavy industry, coal mining and had a major port. However, the town is now primarily a commuter town. The name Borrowstoun refers to a hamlet a short way inland from Borrowstounness. The suffix ‘ness’ (Gaelic for ‘headland’) serves to differentiate the larger town from the hamlet. The name itself is derived from the Old English Beornweardstun meaning ‘Beornweard’s settlement’. “Beornweard” is itself an Old English name. This was later corrupted to Borrowstoun, Scots for ‘town with a charter’. The town’s full name is rarely used, and is nowadays almost always contracted to Bo’ness. Present-day attractions in the town include the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway and the Birkhill Fireclay Mine.

Steam train at the Bo'ness Kinneil Railway

Steam train at the Bo’ness Kinneil Railway

Kinneil House, built by the powerful Hamilton family in the 15th century, lies on the western edge of the town. In the grounds are a cottage whereJames Watt worked on his experimental steam engine and the steam cylinder of a Newcomen engine. The remains of an engine house are located in Kinningars Park, off Harbour Road. Bo’ness has a single secondary school, Bo’ness Academy, and five primary schools. There are a number of churches, including Bo’ness Old Kirk, Carriden Parish Church, St Andrew’s Parish Church, Craigmailen United Free Church, St. Catharine’s Episcopal Church, Bo’ness Apostolic Church, Bo’ness Baptist Church, The Bo’ness Salvation Army and St. Mary of the Assumption RC. Bo’ness is also home to the recently refurbished Hippodrome Cinema, which is the oldest picture house in Scotland. The building, along with many other buildings in Bo’ness, was designed by Matthew Steele, a local resident and architect. The Hippodrome was built in 1912.

Personally, what I like the most in Bo’ness is the old train station, the museum and old steam trains. I love everything vintage and last year I was there while a special event was taking place, trains were running and visitors could walk along the old train station, have a ride on the steam train and just go back in time to old days, which is wonderful. There are many events at the Railway to bring some joy to the visitors. According to the  BO’NESS STATION website :

 Family friendly heritage railway & museum – Passenger trains start and Museum opens 21 March 2015. 

Additionally, I love the museum, I just absolutely adore the old massive machines which are standing there in the museum, you can touch them, admire them and take photos. Check when the the museum is open so you will not go in vain, as once I traveled there in vain, and had only 10 minutes before they closed it.

Enjoy Scotland’s largest railway museum at Bo’ness

As the comment below says, there is nothing much to see in the town itself but if you are the old train lover, it is worth coming and spending a few hours there. People are lovely, smiling and friendly. I have been there a few times and am planning to go again.

If you want to see more photos of the station have a look at my website. 

Thank you for your visit 🙂

 

 

 

Stonehaven

Stonehaven is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It lies on Scotland’s northeast coast and had a population of 9,577 in 2001 census.

As the old county town of Kincardineshire, Stonehaven grew around an Iron Age fishing village, now the “Auld Toon” (“old town”), and expanded inland from the seaside. As late as the 16th century, old maps indicate the town was called Stonehyve, Stonehive,Pont also adding the alternative Duniness. It is known informally to locals as Stoney.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland, UK

                                   Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Scotland, UK

Stonehaven is the site of prehistoric events as witnessed by finds at Fetteresso Castle and neolithic pottery excavations from the Spurryhillock area. Originally the settlement of Stonehaven grew and prospered and was known as Kilwhang. With ‘Kil’ meaning hill and ‘whang’ the name, or sound of a whip, possibly, the name is derived from the cliffs above the original settlement and the sound of wind whistling around their meagre shelters.

Stonehaven is 15 miles south of Aberdeen in a sheltered position on Stonehaven Baybetween the Carron Water and the Cowie Water. Stonehaven lies adjacent to a deeply indented bay surrounded on three sides by higher land between Downie Point and Garron Point.

Stonehaven has grown rapidly since the oil boom in Aberdeen. The increasing demand for new, middle-class housing has seen four new estates being appended to the town, creating an expanse of suburbs and Stonehaven has been bypassed since 1984.

Because of its location at the confluence between two rivers, Stonehaven is prone to flooding following heavy rain.

At present day the town’s primary industries are marine services and tourism, with Dunnottar Castle, a local landmark, bringing in a large number of tourists every year. Dunnottar Castle is regularly used in promotional material by the Scottish tourism industry; in addition, it was used in the 1990 movie Hamlet, and appeared as a featured desktop background in the UK edition of Microsoft Windows 7. Another attractive feature of the town is the long beach facing the North Sea, with large cliffs at either end sheltering small rock pools and inlets. It is also famous for its olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, which is heated and filled with a mixture of tap water and filtered seawater. The local harbour features the Tolbooth, the town’s small museum of local heritage.

Balloch

Balloch is a small town in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, at the foot of Loch Lomond.

Balloch, or Bealach, comes from the Gaelic word ‘bal’ (baile or ball) which means village or hamlet, so Balloch means village on the Loch – as in nearby Loch Lomond. The word can also mean “the pass”.

Balloch, Scotland

Balloch, Scotland

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Balloch is at the north end of the Vale of Leven, straddling the River Levenitself. It connects to the larger town of Alexandria and to the smaller village of Jamestown, both of which are located to its south. It also borders the Kilpatrick Hills. To the east of the town lies the major local authority housing scheme in the area known as ‘The Haldane’ or ‘The Mill of Haldane’. At 56 degrees N, Balloch is at about the same latitude as Moscow.

With its accessible location at the southern end of Loch Lomond and just off the main road from Glasgow to the West Highlands, it is an important centre of tourism, especially from Glasgow and Dumbarton. The town has a number of hotels, inns and pubs, and there are cruises from Balloch up Loch Lomond, and other services, including to nearby locations like Luss, and the Renfrew Ferry service. The largest number of boats cruising on Loch Lomond leave from Balloch. It contains Balloch Country Park and Balloch Castle, and is at the southern end of the first Scottish national park, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

There is a Sea Life Centre located in the town. The Loch Lomond Youth Soccer Festival used to take place in the town. “Lochfoot” in the Jean Robertson novels of Jane Duncan is partly based on the town. The PS Maid of the Loch is currently being restored at Balloch pier.

The A811 road (based on an eighteenth-century military road) goes from Balloch to Stirling, and the A813 goes from Dumbarton to Balloch. The Glasgow to Loch Lomond cycle path (part of National Cycle Route 7) ends at Balloch. The West Loch Lomond Cycle Path also runs from Balloch.
The town was formerly served by two railway stations on the
Caledonian and Dunbartonshire Junction Railway: Balloch Central, and Balloch Pier, which closed in 1988 and 1986, respectively. The town now has one railway station, which is a terminus of the North Clyde electric train service from Glasgow.

Luss

Luss is a village in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, on the west bank of Loch LomondHistorically in the County of Dunbarton, its original name is Clachan dubh, or ‘dark village’. Ben Lomond, the most southerly Munro, dominates the view north over the loch, and the Luss Hills rise to the west of the village.

Saint Kessog brought Christianity to Luss at some uncertain date in the ‘Dark Ages’. A number of early medieval and medieval monuments survive in the present churchyard, including simple cross-slabs which may date to as early as the 7th century AD, and a hogback grave-cover of the 11th century. A well-preserved late medieval effigy of abishop is preserved within the modern church.

Old Parish Church, Luss, Scotland

Old Parish Church, Luss, Scotland

The present Church of Scotland place of worship was built in 1875 bySir James Colquhoun, in memory of his father who had drowned in the loch in December 1873. The church is noted for its online services as well as for holding over one hundred weddings per year, most from outside the parish. Luss is the ancestral home of Clan Colquhoun.

Nowadays Luss is a conservation village, with a bypass carrying the busy A82 trunk road. Many of Luss’ cottages have been described as picturesque. The village has a kiltmaker and a bagpipe works. In recent years, Luss became famous as a result of being the main outdoor location for the Scottish Television drama series Take the High Road. Although the programme is no longer made, some in Luss remain proud of the connection: its fictional name, ‘Glendarroch,’ is used for some buildings.

Loch Lomond and Luss , Scotland

Loch Lomond and Luss , Scotland

About a mile south of the village, in a cove at Aldochlay, is a small figure on a stone plinth. A contemporary legendevolved that it is a memorial to a child drowned in the loch, but it was in fact erected in 1890 by a local stonemason, who found the statue in a London scrapyard. ‘Wee Peter’, as he is locally known, was moved to the site after a brief spell near the railway, and has remained there ever since.

The village hosts a water taxi service to Balloch, at the south of the loch, allowing visitors to transfer onwards to Glasgow by train or visit its shopping centre, Lomond Shores. Luss Pier is a popular starting point for boat trips on the loch.
The Loch Lomond Golf Club, which was for a number of years the site of the Barclays Scottish Open, is within the village’s borders.

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Helensburgh

Helensburgh is a town in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies on the north shore of the Firth of Clydeand the eastern shore of the entrance to the GarelochHelensburgh was formerly in Dumbarton District, but was re-allocated under local government reorganisation in 1996. Prior to 1975 it was part of the former Dunbartonshire.

Helensburgh, Scotland

Streets of  Helensburgh on a sunny beautiful day in July, Scotland, United Kingdom 

Helensburgh was founded in 1776 when Sir James Colquhoun of Luss built spa baths on the site of Ardencaple Castle, which dated back to about 1600. He then had the seaside resort town constructed to the east of the spa on a formal layout in the style of Edinburgh New Town, and named it after his wife Helen. A ferry service he arranged across the Firth of Clyde to Greenock was successful in attracting residents who could commute from jobs there to attractive homes in the new town. Helensburgh became a favourite place of residence for shipping tycoons and tobacco merchants from Glasgow. At one point the small town had one quarter of Britain’s millionaires living there.

Helensburgh born coal miner Charles Harper emigrated to New South Wales (now a state of Australia) and became the first manager of the Metropolitan Coal Company before being killed in a mine accident in 1887. In that year, the company took over the mining lease on an area south of Sydney known as Camp Creek. When the coal mine opened the following year, the town was named Helensburgh, possibly named after his birthplace or after his daughter Helen. The two Helensburghs are now sister cities.

Helensburgh today acts as a commuter town for nearby Glasgow, with a population at the 2001 census of 14,626, and also serves as a main shopping centre for the area and for tourists attracted to the seaside resort. Helensburgh is also influenced by the presence of theClyde Naval Base at Faslane on the Gare Loch, a major local employer. The town is a popular destination for day trippers.

The seafront has an indoor swimming pool, an esplanade walk, a range of shops, cafes and pubs, and sailing facilities including Helensburgh Sailing Club. At Rhu, just beyond the town boundary, there is a marina.

The streets are built on a gentle slope rising to the north east, and at the brow of the hill a golf club has views looking south out over the town to the Clyde, and to the north across nearby Loch Lomond to the Trossachs hills.

Helensburgh is home to a number of annual events, with the local branch of Round Table running an annual fireworks display on Guy Fawkes Night and hosting a Real Ale Festival at the Sailing Club.

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