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.

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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

 

 

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.

Dundee, ‘One City, Many Discoveries’

Dundee is officially the City of Dundee, is the fourth-largest city in Scotland by population. At the 2011 census, it had a population density of 3,298 people per square kilometre, the second highest of any Scottish city. It lies within the eastern central Lowlands on the north bank of the Firth of Tay, which feeds into the North Sea.
The town developed into a burgh
in medieval times, and expanded rapidly in the 19th century largely due to the jute industry. This, along with its other major industries gave Dundee its epithet as city of “jute, jam and journalism”.

Today, Dundee is promoted as ‘One City, Many Discoveries’ in honour of Dundee’s history of scientific activities and of the RRS Discovery, Robert Falcon Scott‘s Antarctic exploration vessel, which was built in Dundee and is now berthed in the city harbour. Biomedical and technological industries have arrived since the 1980s, and the city now accounts for 10% of the United Kingdom’s digital-entertainment industry.
In December 2014; Dundee was named the first city in the United Kingdom to hold the UNESCO City of Design status by the United Nations.

Dundee has two universities- the University of Dundee and the Abertay University. In 2014 Dundee was recognised by the United Nations as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design for its diverse contributions to fields including medical research, comics and video games.

Visitors wishing to orient themselves should consider taking a walk (or drive) up the Law, Dundee which offers a 360-degree uninterrupted view of Dundee, the Firth of Tay and the Tay Bridge, famously replacing the bridge demolished after the disaster of 1879, and the Tay Road Bridge.

Dundee’s principal concert auditorium, the Caird Hall (named after its benefactor, the jute baron James Key Caird) in the City Square regularly hosts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Various smaller venues host local and international musicians during Dundee’s annual Jazz, Guitar and Blues Festivals. The Dundee Contemporary Arts, which opened in 1999 in the city’s cultural quarter, is home to both an art gallery and art house cinema. Dundee is also known for The Dandy and The Beano– a long-running children’s comics.

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland

Come to see this beautiful city with specific atmosphere, unique, historical architecture and wonderful smiling Scottish people. 

Edinburgh Castle and Princess Street Gardens

Edinburgh Castle and Princess Street Gardens.  To see the original image click on it. 

To see many more images of Edinburgh check my stock travel photography website here 

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, situated in Lothian on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. It is the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh lies at the heart of a larger urban zone with a population of 778,000.

The city is also the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and home to many national institutions such as theNational Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and theScottish National Gallery. Edinburgh’s relatively buoyant economy, traditionally centred on banking and insurance but now encompassing a wide range of businesses, makes it the biggest financial centre in the UK after London. Many Scottish companies have established their head offices in the city.

Edinburgh is rich in associations with the past and has many historic buildings, including Edinburgh Castle and an extensive Georgian New Town built in the 18th century. Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town are jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has long been known abroad as a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, the sciences and engineering.
The
University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583 and now one of four in the city, was placed 17th in the QS World University Rankings in 2014.
The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the largest annual international arts festival in the world.
In 2004 Edinburgh became the world’s first UNESCO
City of Literature, an accolade awarded in recognition of its literary heritage and lively literary activities in the present.
The city’s historical and cultural attractions, together with an annual calendar of events aimed primarily at the tourist market, have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.