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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Dunure Castle

Ayrshire is one of my favourite destinations and I strongly recommend visiting the ruins of the castle and Ayrshire in general. When I saw this very old castle for the first time and the place itself I was very impressed. The beautiful beach is full of rocks and there is also a tiny harbour. Additionally, the landscape on the way to Ayrshire is stunning. The best time to come is in the early morning on Spring or Summer day, of course I mean sunny day, which is not that easy in Scotland but to make an effort and get up in the early morning to get there, is worthwhile. The light of the rising sun seen on the fields and hills with the sheep and the sea behind them is breathtaking. I was there many times but only once in the early morning and that was the best time ever.

Dunure Castle is located on the west coast of Scotland, in South Ayrshire, about 5 miles south of Ayr and close to the village of Dunure. Today the castle stands in ruins on a rocky promontory on the Carrick coast, overlooking the small harbour of Dunure.

The site dates from the late 13th century; the earliest charter for the lands dating from 1256, but the remains of the building are of 15th- and 16th-century origin. One tradition is that the castle was built by the Danes and another states that the Mackinnons held the castle from Alexander III as a reward for their valour at the Battle of Largs.

Dunure Castle

Dunure Castle

The castle is the point of origin of the Kennedys of Carrick, who once ruled over much of south western Scotland and were granted the lands in 1357. Sir James Balfour described Dunure as a grate and pleasand stronge housse, the most ancient habitation of the surname of Kennedy, Lairds of Dunure, now Earles of Cassiles.

The Celtic name Dunure or Dunoure is said to derive from the “hill” or “fort of the yew tree”.

The castle consisted of two distinct parts; a keep of an irregular shape on the top of a precipitous rock and other buildings at a lower level. The keep walls are about five feet thick and the vaults on the basement are well preserved, however most of the superstructure is entirely demolished. The keep represents the original castle, much altered. The central portion of the castle may be 15th century and was intended to form a defence to the access into the keep. The additional buildings are of a later date and contain two kitchens on the ground level, one for the castle and the other for the retainers. To the north-east stands a detached wall which may have led to a gateway. A drawbridge may have stood nearby and the chapel may have been located against the thick wall of the central part of the castle. A moat or fosse protected the approach and a wall may have also existed.

Beneath the castle is a cavern, called the Browney’s Cave which may have been a sally-port; a secret tunnel leading to the castle.

Ruins of Dunure Castle, Scotland

Ruins of Dunure Castle, Scotland

In 1429 a meeting took place at Dunure between James Campbell, representing King James I of Scotland and John Mor MacDonald, representing the Lord of the Isles. Violence broke out and MacDonald was killed. James I’s efforts to contain the outrage of the Lords of the Isles by executing Campbell did not prevent a subsequent uprising by them. For three days from 4 August 1563, Mary, Queen of Scots, stayed at Dunure Castle on her Royal tour down the west coast to Glenluce Abbey then on to Whithorn Priory. She was the guest of Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis.


The castle has been excavated and consolidated, making safe the public access to the area. The castle dominates the Kennedy Park, which has a number of facilities for visitors. There are also said to be secret Ley tunnels which connect Dunure Castle to Greenan Castle further north.

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).

Queensferry

Queensferry, also called South Queensferry or simply “The Ferry”, is a town to the west of Edinburgh, Scotland. Until 1975 it was a Royal Burgh in the county of West Lothian. Queensferry is referred to as South Queensferry in order to distinguish it from North Queensferry. Its population at the 2011 census was 9,026 based on the 2010 definition of the locality.

There were ferries at Queensferry until 1964 when the Forth Road Bridge was opened. Ferry services continue to run from the harbour to the islands within the Firth of Forth, including Inchcolm.
A local fair dates from the 12th century. The modern fair, dating from the 1930s, takes place each August and includes the crowning of a local school-girl as the Ferry Fair Queen, a procession of floats, pipe bands, and competitive events such as the Boundary Race. The Fair also has a dedicated radio station, Jubilee1, which in May 2007 was awarded a licence to evolve into a full Public Service Community Station for North and South Queensferry.

Queensferry hosts the strange annual procession of the Burry Man during the Ferry Fair. This unique pagan-like cultural event is over three hundred years old, but its true origins are unknown. The name “Burry Man” almost certainly derives from the hooked fruits of the Burdock plant – burrs – which serve as the central feature of his dress, although some have suggested that it is a corruption of “Burgh Man”, since the town was formerly a royal burgh.

St Mary’s Episcopal Church also known as the Priory Church is the town’s oldest building, built for the Carmelite Order of friars in the 1450s. It is the only medieval Carmelite church still in use in the British Isles.

St Abbs, Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

St Abbs is an exceptional, tiny but beautiful and picturesque fishing village historically known as Coldingham Shore, located on the south east coast of Scotland in the Berwickshire area of the Scottish Borders. It is not far from Eyemouth and it’s worth seeing if you happen to be in that region.

St Abbs village in Scotland

St Abbs village in Scotland

st abbs2 The village was originally known as Coldingham Shore, the name was changed in the 1890s to St Abbs. The new name was derived from St Abb’s Head, a rocky promontory located to the north of the village, itself named after St. Aebbe.

St Abbs Head, rocky promontory at the village of St. Abbs, Berwickshire, Scottish Borders.

St Abbs Head, rocky promontory at the village of St. Abbs, Berwickshire, Scottish Borders.

St Abbs was originally called Coldingham Shore. Prior to any buildings the fishermen who worked their boats from the beach resided at Fisher’s Brae in Coldingham.These fishermen had to carry their fishing gear the one and a half miles down a path. The path is now known as the Creel Path. The first building in St Abbs was constructed about the middle of the 18th century followed later by a row of 5 cottages. This first row of houses where constructed in a traditional Scottish style with a central fire and a wide chimney. The walls were constructed of “Clat and Clay” a framework of wood interlaced with straw and daubed over with moist clay. The village was renamed at the end of the 19th century by the then Laird Mr Andrew Usher, to its present title St Abbs. St Abbs is a popular site for Scuba Divers. The sea around the village is unusually clear, in contrast to the more silt-laden coastal waters further to the north or south. These clear waters and the spectacular underwater scenery resulted in Britain’s first Voluntary Marine Reserve being established at St Abbs. Shore diving to a depth of about 15 metres is possible from the rocks on the outside of the harbour wall. It is common for trainees to do initial sea dives here. The double archway at “Cathedral Rock” is just 50 metres from the shore. Several small, nearby rocky islands, such as “Big Green Carr”, “Broad Craig” and “Little Carr” are near to the harbour and easily can be circumnavigated underwater. March 2011 saw the opening of the latest addition to the many attractions of St Abbs in the form of the new St Abbs Visitor Centre. A beautiful, contemporary facility, it is located in the old village hall, perched precariously on a cliff edge. Built as a resource for both visitors and locals, the Centre offers free admission, interactive exhibits, library area, web access, stunning photographs and historical artefacts. It’s an ideal starting point to a visit to St Abbs, giving information on the history of the village, the geology and also the local flora and fauna visitors are likely to encounter. The position of the building offers a stunning 180 degree view from St Abbs Head all the way to the harbour and beyond. The St Abbs Visitor Centre is an independent Scottish charity.

Eyemouth

I totally love Eyemouth, if I can say so 🙂 I go there regularly every summer. I love the landscape on the way and because I am crazy about photography and the beauty of creation, whenever I see beautiful landscape I have to stop and take photos, so usually it takes more time to travel for me.

The place which is called Eyemouth, yes, Eye and Mouth is worth visiting. What I love the most there, is the old harbour. The harbour is full of old vintage ships and boats but it is still working! They still go fishing and bring back nets full of sea creatures, there are also seals in the harbor, sometimes you can see them and even feed them, as there is food that you can buy to feed the seals! This is wonderful!  After you walk and take your photos, see old buildings and vintage boats, you can go to the shop, ( there are a few), and buy fresh fish and chips, plus you can eat them sitting on the bench, looking at the sea, smelling the fresh fragrance of the seawater and listening to the screams of the seagulls. After you have enough you can give the rest to the birds.

Fishing boats in the Harbour, Eyemouth Harbour, Berwickshire, Scotland,

The town itself is also very nice to walk around. You will see wee lovely streets, with wee lovely houses and old architecture, what a charming, wonderful place to visit.

Additionally if you like walking up the hills, you can walk along the cliffs and see the place and the sea from above. By the way, the word wee is a Scottish word which is used to speak about almost everything, wee means small but you can say, wee John will be here soon 🙂 which doesn’t mean at all that John is wee, haha, I love this word.

You can check some more formal information from wikipedia below.

Eyemouth is a small town and civil parish in Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It has a population of about 3,420 people.

The town’s name comes from its location at the mouth of the Eye Water. The Berwickshire coastline consists of high cliffs over deep clear water with sandy coves and picturesque harbours. A fishing port, Eyemouth holds a yearly Herring Queen Festival. Notable buildings in the town include Gunsgreen House and a cemetery watch house built to stand guard against the Resurrectionists (body snatchers).

Gunsgreen house, a beautiful 18th Century merchant's villa, hides some dark secrets within its walls

Many of the features of a traditional fishing village are preserved in the narrow streets and vennels – giving shelter from the sea and well suited to the smuggling tradition of old.

Eyemouth is not far from the small villages of Ayton, Reston, St. Abbs, Coldingham, and Burnmouth. The coast offers opportunities for birdwatching, walking, fishing and diving. Accommodation includes several hotels, B&Bs, and a holiday park.


In 1997, Eyemouth was given EU funding from a scheme to regenerate declining fishing villages and raised matching funds itself to construct a deep water extension to the Harbour. Eyemouth Harbour caters for most types of fishery activity and as a result Eyemouth’s primary industry has seen a certain amount of rejuvenation. A pontoon has been installed in the harbour to provide ease of boarding for seafarers. This has attracted an increasing number of pleasure craft. Walks round the harbour never fail to interest. This is a real working fishing port and the scene is constantly changing.
Visitors can see the market in action in the early mornings from a viewing platform. Boats are available for hire for sea fishing, sightseeing and diving in one of the few
Marine Reserves in the UK.

EYEMOUTH, SCOTLAND

EYEMOUTH, SCOTLAND

The wide sandy bay is flanked by high cliffs. Despite being sheltered by the Hurkur Rocks, storms can generate high waves and throw high plumes of spume into the air over the sea wall. Named “The Bantry” said to be in affectionate memory of the Irish labourers, from the fishing town of that name in County Cork, who constructed it.

Eyemouth houses the World of Boats, a collection of almost 400 boats and 300 models from across the world and from many periods. Most prominent is the 1844 Steam powered puddled iron Drag Dredger, ‘Bertha’, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for Bridgwater docks, which is undergoing restoration at the head of the Old Harbour.

Fishing boats in the Harbour, Eyemouth Harbour, Berwickshire, Scotland,

Fishing boats in the Harbour, Eyemouth Harbour, Berwickshire, Scotland

The 18 hole golf course and Club House have sea views with a restaurant which is open to the public allowing patrons to enjoy panoramic views as they eat.

Divers come from all over the world to enjoy the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve with its unique marine flora and fauna.

Other places of interest nearby include the fortifications of Berwick-upon-Tweed also designed by Sir Richard Lee, and its military museum, Paxton House, the Union Bridge (Tweed) and the Chain Bridge, Honey Farm and scores of quiet country roads skirting the Cheviot Hills, frequently snow-capped in winter. Typical Border towns and villages, such as Kelso, Grantshouse, Abbey St Bathans, Cove, Morpeth, Alnmouth and Alnwick are all within easy reach for day trips from Eyemouth.

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.

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.

See more images of Helensburgh 

 

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.