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.

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 

 

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.

see more images of St Andrews

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

Have a look at more photos of Dunbar here

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

  See more stock photographs of Culross

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