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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Aberdour

Aberdour is a scenic and historic village on the south coast of Fife, Scotland. It is on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, looking south to the island of Inchcolm and its Abbey, and to Leith and Edinburgh beyond. According to the 2006 population estimate, the village has a population of 1,680.

Aberdour, Black Sands, Scotland

Aberdour, Black Sands, Scotland

The village’s winding High Street lies a little inland from the coast. Narrow lanes run off it, providing access to the more hidden parts of the village and the shoreline itself. The village nestles between the bigger coastal towns of Burntisland to the east and Dalgety Bay to the west. 

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The origins of the village lie with its harbour, where the Dour Burn enters the River Forth. The place-name itself is Pictish, implying an origin in the Dark Ages: ‘aber‘ confluence’. The -dour element, referring to the Burn, means simply ‘water’ and is unconnected to the Scots/English ‘dour’. For much of its history Aberdour was two villages, Wester Aberdour and Easter Aberdour, on either side of the Dour Burn. Although this distinction was blurred by the 19th century arrival of the railway.

In the 18th century Aberdour’s harbour was improved by the addition of a stone pier to help handle the coal traffic from nearby collieries. However, in the 1850s the traffic changed dramatically, and Aberdour Harbour became a popular destination for pleasure steamers from Leith. This in turn led to the building of a deeper water pier a little around the bay at Hawkcraig, and to the development of hotels and many of the other services still on view today in the village.

The railway came to Aberdour in 1890, with the building of the line east from the newly opened Forth Bridge. The station has won many “best kept station” awards. The half an hour journey to the centre of Edinburgh helped build on the existing popularity of the village, though it put the steamers out of business. The main result was a growth in the building of large and attractive houses, especially down the hill from Wester Aberdour to the West Sands. Ticket inspectors on the train line through Aberdour were known for their sing song refrain: “Half an hour, Half an hour, Half an hour to Aberdour – tickets please.”

Aberdour has a very popular yearly festival, which runs from late July to early August and features musical events, shows, sporting events and children’s events. It is now in its 27th year and is most notable for its marquee on the silver sands playing fields. The festival hosts a number of children’s,cultural and local events.

Aberdour was a 2005 finalist in the prestigious “Beautiful Scotland in Bloom” awards. It was nominated for “Best Coastal Resort” in Scotland along with St Andrewsin Fife, North Berwick in East Lothian, and Rothesay in Argyll and Bute.

Aberdour has two beaches – the Silver Sands, and the Black Sands.
The Silver Sands are located on the East side of the village, and are one of Scotland’s seven “Blue flag” awarded beaches, which denotes an exemplary standard of cleanliness, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. New facilities are currently under construction by Fife Council, which will much improve the beach throughout the year.

Aberdour, Black Sands, Scotland

Aberdour, Black Sands, Scotland

The Black Sands, as the contrasting name would suggest, have a rockier and darker sand, and are also popular with visitors exploring the rock caves and fascinating sea life. During the summer months (April–September), dogs are banned from the Silver Sands but they are allowed all year round at the Black Sands. The two beaches are linked by part of the Fife Coastal Path which also takes you past the harbour and the Hawkcraig – a popular rock climbing location.

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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St Andrews

St Andrews is a former royal burgh on the east coast of Fife inScotland, named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town’s population. St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife.

The Swilcan Bridge, or Swilcan Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews golf course,

The Swilcan Bridge, or Swilcan Burn Bridge, is a famous small stone bridge in St Andrews golf course,

St Andrews is also known worldwide as the “home of golf“. This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico), and also because the famous links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf‘s four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked amongst the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches.

The Martyrs Memorial, erected to the honour of Patrick Hamilton, George Wishart, and other martyrs of the Reformationepoch, stands at the west end of the Scores on a cliff overlooking the sea. 

St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrews has a temperate maritime climate, which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude. Winters are not as cold as one might expect, considering that Moscow and Labrador in Newfoundland lie on the same latitude. Daytime temperatures can fall below freezing and average around 4 °C. However, the town is subject to strong winds. Night-time frosts are common; however, snowfall is more rare.

St Andrews was once bounded by several “ports” (the Lowland Scots word for a town gate). Two are still extant: So’gait port (South Street, now called West Port) and the Sea Yett (as The Pends terminates to the harbour). The Category A listed West Port is one of few surviving town ‘Ports’ in Scotland. The towers were influenced by those seen at the base of the Netherbow Port in EdinburghThe central archway which displays semi-octagonal ‘rownds’ and ‘battling’ is supported by corbelling and neatly moulded passageways. Side arches and relief panels were added to the port, during the reconstruction between 1843–1845.

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The University of St Andrews, the oldest in Scotland, dates back to 1410. A charter for the university was issued by Bishop Henry Wardlaw between 1411 and 1412. This was followed by Avignon Pope Benedict XIII granting university status to award degrees to students in 1413. The school initially started out as a society for learned men in the fields of canon law, the arts and divinity. The chapel and college of St John the Evangelist became the first building to have ties with the university in 1415. The two original colleges to be associated with the university were St Salvator in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy and St Leonard in 1512 by archbishop Alexander Stewart and prior James Hepburn.

Dunbar

Dunbar is a town in East Lothian on the southeast coast of Scotland.

Due to its geographical location, Dunbar receives less rain and more hours of direct sunshine per year than anywhere else in Scotland (according to the Met Office). The town has begun to be referred to by locals as ‘Sunny Dunny’, after a local radio host popularised the term.

Dunbar is a former Royal Burgh and gave its name to an ecclesiastical and civil parish. The parish contains the villages of West Barns, Belhaven, East Barns (abandoned) and several hamlets and farms.

Its strategic position gave rise to a history full of incident and strife but Dunbar has become a quiet dormitory town popular with workers in nearby Edinburgh, who find it an affordable alternative to the capital itself. 

Dunbar, Scotland

Old Dunbar  harbour , Scotland

 

Dunbar and stormy sea

Dunbar and stormy sea

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During 2003, archaeological excavations at Oxwell Mains (LafargeCement Works) near Dunbar revealed the site of a Mesolithic house believed to be circa 9th Millennium BC. The site suggests a domed building. Although considered extremely rare and a site of national importance this site is in the middle of an area planned for quarrying.

An archaeological excavation undertaken by Headland Archeology on a site previously occupied by the Captain’s Cabin (a local landmark) within the area of Castle Park identified a sequence of archaeological features reflecting around 2000 years of human activity. The earliest feature was a large ditch which may have formed part of the defences around a promontory fort previously identified during earlier excavations near the coast at Castle Park. The scale of the ditches indicated an impressive monument.

Much later a rectangular building was built over the top of the infilled ditch. Large quantities of burnt grain were recovered indicating that the building was a grain store that had been destroyed by fire. It was established that this was part of the Anglian settlement that had also been identified during earlier excavations.

 

Dunbar, Scotland

Victoria Harbour and Castle ruins

 

Dunbar Castle is the remnants of one of the most mighty fortresses in Scotland, situated over the harbour of the town of Dunbar, in East Lothian.

To read more about the castle check wikipedia article Dunbar Castle

There is an annual festival held in Dunbar and aimed at generating an interest in science and engineering through a varied programme of events including demonstrations, films and activities. The festival attracts event providers from industry, universities, national organisations and offers the chance for youngsters to engage with career scientists with the hope that they will be inspired to learn more about science, or to follow a scientific career path themselves.

The festival has been running since 2011 and growing in size since then. The long term objective is to grow Dunbar SciFest into a significant annual festival that will ensure that Dunbar becomes a major Scottish focus for public engagement with science. It is well on the way to achieving this having won the National Science and Engineering Week Best Community Event 2012 award.

Culross

Culross is a village and former royal burgh in Fife, Scotland. According to the 2006 estimate, the village has a population of 395.
Originally Culross served as a port city on the Firth of Forthand is believed to have been founded by Saint Serf during the 6th century.

Culross village, Scotland

                                                      Culross village, Scotland

A legend states that when the British princess (and future saint) Teneu, daughter of the king of Lothian, became pregnant before marriage, her family threw her from a cliff. She survived the fall unharmed, and was soon met by an unmanned boat. She knew she had no home to go to, so she got into the boat; it sailed her across the Firth of Forth to land at Culross where she was cared for by Saint Serf; he became foster-father of her son, Saint Kentigern or Mungo (d. 612).

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town was a centre of the coal mining industry. Sir George Bruce of Carnock, who built the splendid ‘Palace’ of Culross and whose elaborate family monument stands in the north transept of the Abbey church, established at Culross, the first coal mine in the world to extend under the sea, in 1575. The mine worked what is now known as the Upper Hirst coal seam, with ingenious contrivances to drain the constant leakage from above. This mine was considered one of the marvels of the British Isles in the early 17th century, until it was destroyed in a storm, in 1625.

Culross’ secondary industry was salt panning. There was a considerable export trade by sea in the produce of these industries and the prevalence of red roof tiles in Culross and other villages in Fife is thought to be a direct result of collier ships returning to Culross with Dutch roof tiles as ballast. The town was also known for its monopoly on the manufacture of ‘girdles‘, i.e. flat iron plates for baking over an open fire. The town’s role as a port declined from the 18th century, and by Victorian times it had become something of a ‘ghost town’. The harbour was filled in and the sea cut off by the coastal railway line in the second half of the 19th century (though the site of the harbour walls can to a large extent still be traced).

Culross Palace, Scotland

Culross Palace, Scotland

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During the 20th century, it became recognised that Culross contained many unique historical buildings and the National Trust for Scotland has been working on their preservation and restoration since the 1930s. Notable buildings in the burgh include Culross Town House, formerly used as a courthouse and prison, the 16th centuryCulross Palace, 17th century Study, and the remains of the Cistercian house of Culross Abbey, founded 1217. The tower, transepts and choir of the Abbey Church remain in use as the parish church, while the ruined claustral buildings are cared for by Historic Scotland. Just outside the town is the 18th-century Dunimarle Castle, built by the Erskine familyto supersede a medieval castle.


Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
spent much of his early life in Culross, where his family had an estate. There is now a bust in his honour outside the Culross Town House. He was the first Vice Admiral of Chile.

Glencoe

Glen Coe is a glen of volcanic origins, in the Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the southern part of the Lochaber committee area of Highland Council, and was formerly part of the county of Argyll. It is often considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland, and is a part of the designated National Scenic Area of en Nevis and Glen Coe. The narrow glen shows a grim grandeur. The glen, approaching from the east on the main A82 road, is surrounded by wild and precipitous mountains. Further west at Invercoe, the landscape has a softer beauty before the main entrance to the glen. The main settlement is the nearby village of Glencoe located at the foot of the valley.

Beautiful road in Glencoe in Autumn, Scotland. To see more images click on this photo or the link below

Beautiful road in Glencoe during Autumn.  To see more images click on this photo or the link below

 Stock images of Glencoe in Scotland

Glencoe or Glencoe Village is the main settlement in Glen Coe in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands. It lies at the north-west end of the glen, on the southern bank of the River Coe where it enters Loch Leven (a salt-water loch off Loch Linnhe).

The village falls within the Ross, Skye and Lochaber part of the Highland council area for local government purposes. It is part of the registration county of Argyll and the lieutenancy area of Inverness for ceremonial functions.

The use of the term ‘Glencoe Village’ is a modern one, to differentiate the settlement from the glen itself.

The village is surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and is popular with serious hill-walkers, rock and ice climbers. It has been seen in numerous films, including Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the home of Hagrid, and the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, also known from Ian Fleming‘s original novels as the birthplace of James Bond’s father Andrew Bond

 

 

Falkirk

Falkirk, town in the Central Lowlands of Scotland, historically within the county of Stirlingshire. It lies in the Forth Valley, almost midway between the two most populous cities of Scotland; north-west of Edinburgh and north-east of Glasgow.

Streets of Falkirk, Scotland

                                               Streets of Falkirk, Scotland

Falkirk had a resident population of 32,422 at the 2001 census. The population of the town had risen to 34,570 according to a 2008 estimate, making it the 20th most populous settlement in Scotland. Falkirk is the main town and administrative centre of theFalkirk council area, which has an overall population of 156,800 and inholds the nearby towns of Grangemouth,Bo’ness,Denny,Larbert and Stenhousemuir.

The town lies at the junction of the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, a location which proved key to the growth of Falkirk as a centre of heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries Falkirk was at the centre of the iron and steel industry, underpinned by the Carron Company in the nearby village of Carron. The company was responsible for making carronades for the Royal Navy and also later many pillar boxes. In the last 50 years heavy industry has waned, and the economy of the town relies increasingly on retail and tourism. Despite this, Falkirk remains the home of many international companies.

Falkirk Park

                                   Callendar House and Park in Falkirk

Attractions in and around Falkirk include the Falkirk Wheel, Callendar House and Park and remnants of the Antonine Wall. Soon to be a feature of the town is the Falkirk Helix, a new recreational area with walk and cycle paths with the main attraction being a new boat lift and extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. In a 2011 poll conducted by STV, it was voted as Scotland’s most beautiful town, ahead of Perth and Stirling in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Architecture of Falkirk

Architecture of Falkirk

Falkirk hosted a national arts festival which ran in Callendar Park from 2000-2009 called Big In Falkirk. After its inception in 2000, the festival won Scottish Thistle Award for Events & Festivals in 2005. Consisting of a free weekend of events, the festival was one of the largest cultural events in Scotland, attracting over 100,000 people. Hosted in Falkirk’s historical Callendar Park, with Callendar House as the focal point, the entertainment featured a wide variety of outdoor theatre, pyrotechnic displays, arts, comedy and big name music acts, alongside activities for all ages.

 

 

Stirling, ‘Brave Heart of Scotland’

Stirling is a city in central Scotlandclustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town. Stirling is the administrative centre for the Stirling council area, and is traditionally the county town of Stirlingshire.
The city is located several kilometres to the west of the mouth of the
River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the “Gateway to the Highlands”, with its position near the Highland Boundary Fault between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, indeed, it has been described as the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together.

Stirling Castle with Scotsmen

Stirling Castle with Scotsmen

Its historical position as the nearest crossing of the Forth to the river mouth meant that many of its visitors were in fact invaders. The beast of Stirling is the wolf, which it shares with Rome. According to legend, when Stirling was under attack from Viking invaders, a wolf howled, alerting the townspeople in time to save the town. It is also claimed that the last wolf in Scotland was killed in Stirling.

Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) within the Castle that rivalled any building in Europe at the time. Stirling also has its medieval parish church, The Church of the Holy Rude, where King James VI was crowned King of Scots on 29 July 1567. The Holy Rude still functions as a living church with a service every Sunday.

Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and industry. In 2012, the population of the City was 45,750. The wider Stirling council area has a population of 89,850. The majority of the population is located in its southeast corner, in the City of Stirling and in the surrounding area.

Streets of City of Stirling with W. Wallace statue at The Athenaeum, King Street

   Streets of City of Stirling with W. Wallace statue at The Athenaeum, King Street

One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the burgh as an administrative unit was abolished.
In 2002, as part of
Queen Elizabeth II‘sGolden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.

Top attraction in Stirling is The National Wallace Monument (generally known as the Wallace Monument), a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stiling. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish hero.

In 1996 Tom Church carved a statue of Wallace called “Freedom” and inspired by the film Braveheart. It has the face of Mel Gibson, the actor that played William Wallace in the film. Church leased the statue to Stirling Council, who in 1997 installed it in the car park of the visitor centre at the foot of the craig. The statue was deeply unpopular with local people and was regularly vandalised before being placed in a cage to prevent further damage.

Aberdeen, the Oil Capital of Europe

Aberdeen, is Scotland‘s third most populous city, one of Scotland’s 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom’s 37th most populous built-up-area with an official population estimate of 220,420.

Nicknames include the Granite City, the Grey City and the Silver City with the Golden Sands. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen’s buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which can sparkle like silver due to its high mica content. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, other nicknames have been the Oil Capital of Europe or the Energy Capital of Europe. The area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city has a long, sandy coastline. Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from David I of Scotland (1124–53), transforming the city economically. 

The city’s two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and Robert Gordon University, which was awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east.
The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen’s seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports
in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland.

In 2012, Mercer named Aberdeen the 56th most liveable city in the World, as well as the fourth most liveable city in Britain. In 2012, HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight ‘super cities’ spearheading the UK’s economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland to receive this accolade.

Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition a record-breaking ten times, and hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1000 of the most talented young performing arts companies

Aberdeen is home to a number of events and festivals including Aberdeen Jazz Festival Rootin’ Aboot (a folk and roots music event), Triptych, the University of Aberdeen‘s literature festival Wordand DanceLive, Scotland’s only Festival of contemporary dance, which is produced by the city’s Citymoves dance organisation.

The Aberdeen Student Show, performed annually without interruption since 1921, under the auspices of the Aberdeen Students’ Charities Campaign, is the longest-running of its kind in the United Kingdom. It is written, produced and performed by students and graduates of Aberdeen’s universities and higher education institutions. Since 1929—other than on a handful of occasions, it has been staged at His Majesty’s Theatre. The Student Show traditionally combines comedy and music, inspired by the North-East’s Doric dialect and humour.

National festivals which visited Aberdeen in 2012 included the British Science Festival in September, hosted by the University of Aberdeen but with events also taking place at Robert Gordon University and at other venues across the city. In February 2012 the University of Aberdeen also hosted the Inter Varsity Folk Dance Festival, the longest running folk festival in the United Kingdom.