Edinburgh II – The Castle and… Inside

Our last day in Edinburgh we spent a bit more looking inside…windows and alleys at least. On the walk up to the castle, the sun bestowed us with its warming glory – hot!

We walked through Greyfriar’ s beautiful Kirkyard to see Bobby once more. He was a Skye terrier born in the middle of the 19th C. His Master died when Bobby was only two, and legend has it that he stayed by his Master’s grave for 14 years. A Lord payed the city of Edinburgh to build Bobby a little house and to feed him. He was buried close to his master in 1872.

Many people came to see him while we were there. The little ”hut’s” name shows some of the Scottish humour…it’s really inside the gates!

Some ”insides” too on the way…

Colourful clothes and tartans, but also a soft pink and blue tartan made especially to the memory of Princess Diana.

I love signs, and Scotland and Edinburgh has got many of those – my camera was full of them…This one close to Camera Obscura.

And – there my dream came true…to be divided into two and able to do double the things I would like to do, help, visit, create, experience…a.s.o….

Just inside the gates, they were preparing for the Tattoo. This year we didn’t make it, but hopefully next year we will be able to see it!

 

We’ll be back next year – for the Edinburgh Tattoo!

From Perth to Edinburgh – S:t Andrews and East Neuk

My husband is a poor golf player, but of course we had to go to S:t Andrews – all golfers’ ”Mecca”. They say golf was born on the dunes by the sea here, and on the Old Course there’s been golf played for  about 600 years. Unfortunately the British Golf Museum was closed because of construction work.

We continued to the ruins of the old Cathedral, which once was the biggest building in Scotland when finished in 1318.

Walking here among these old stones, feeling their stories surrounding us, made me quiet and contemplating. So many souls resting here…what did their lives look like?

Along the shore and further on to Crail, my favourite little village in East Neuk. This area was a wealthy place already in the Middle Ages, because of the trade  with Europe.

Crail has been a town since 1310 and is the oldest community here. Very picturesque with great atmosphere.

In the little harbour dark clouds were sailing in. But with warm winds swirling,  we slowly strolled around enjoying the beauty.

In Pittenweem the harbour offered a charming walk. Now the clouds grew even darker and we could hear thunder far away.

Then the rain came. Heavy drops at first – soon storming in like wild horses. We found a roof and stayed dry, silently watching the scenery of light and darkness.

Leaving as fast as it came – the winds took the storm away to sea.

And we headed for Edinburgh – feeling light hearted after a very pleasant tour.

From Aberdeen to Perth – Balmoral Castle

Balmoral is of course a must when you are here – and we were not disappointed. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought the castle, and Prince Albert renovated it around 1855. They spent much time here and the Queen was very well liked as she showed great interest in the Scots and their traditions.

Prince Albert also planted the trees in the park and was the architect behind the garden. I was extremely pleased to find the Beware of squirrels sign! As my love for animals – and particularly dogs – is great, I very much loved the gallery of pets in the Royal family. Queen Victoria’s favourites were collies and Queen Elisabeth’s is of course welsh corgies.

We also found a snow trac made in Sweden – and still in use!

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The gardens were very grand and both flowers and vegetables very fresh and colourful. I spent some time enjoying the little greenhouse given as a present to Queen Elisabeth.

The sign above the door says:  One is nearer God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else. A most delightful thought.

We enjoyed the walk through the gardens, visited the Ballroom, and then headed for Perth. A road of beautiful, serene  views – a landscape of green hills, meandering rivers and grazing cattle.

In the evening we reached Perth and found it very beautiful and welcoming. A lovely evening walk. In fact we would have liked to stay longer – so, maybe next time!

Beautiful houses and intriguing sculptures – a truly interesting city, once the capital of Scotland. In the vicinity is Scone Palace where the Stone of Scone once was kept in the Abbey. (Also known as the Stone of Destiny, and often referred to in England as The Coronation Stone,  used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland.)

The river Tay in blue evening gown.

Time to walk back to our house for a good night’s sleep. Roses find a certain glow in the light of street lamps – almost magical… Good night.

Going East from Kyleakin to Aberdeen

Having left Isle of Skye and Kyleakin, we headed for Perth via Aberdeen. We also left the fine weather for a day. But first – Plockton. A gem, and often used for TV series. This morning a slight drizzle made it sleepy and delightfully quiet.

Further eastwards, we passed Eileen Donan Castle, which I guess is among the most photographed castles in Scotland. The first castle was built here 1220, and many films have been shot here, among others, a couple of Bond movies, Highlander and the Swedish Mio min Mio (By Astrid Lindgren, who wrote Pippi Longstocking.)

We drove through beautiful Kintail admiring ”The Five Sisters” watching over us. This is a popular hiking area. Reaching Loch Ness, we found her lying beautifully smooth with silvery ripples – no Nessie. When sailing here in the 1970’s we didn’t see her either. Back then I know they had a special research centre for Nessie, but today we didn’t check this up.

In Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, we paused for a picnic by the river before visiting Highland House of Fraser – The Scottish Kiltmaker. In fact the only kilt museum in Scotland.

We had excellent guiding and a very informative hour here. Seeing this garment being made by hand gives you a genuinly satisfying feeling.

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Aberdeen next, but first – Cawdor Castle in a very romantic setting – and impossible to photograph! My best attempt is featured in the header. Shakespeare made this the home of MacBeth and the scene for the murder of King Duncan. Not that romantic, but the castle became famous because of this.

In front of Marischal College, the Highland hero Robert I Bruce and two young ladies. All of us rather frozen this chilly evening.

We spent the night at Craibstone Estate – a University Campus empty for the summer vacation. The university library is an architectural fantasy – Sir Duncan Rice Library – with its glass façade reflecting ”the ice and light of the North”. Architects are the Danes Schmidt, Hammer and Lassen.

And so…the next day we woke up with the sun shining us to wonderful Duthie Park – follow the link for more flowers from my visit there! Here are some teasers:

 

Going North – the road to Isle of Skye

From Oban we headed north to reach Isle of Skye. Castle Stalker, in the header, was built about 1440 and has figured in many movies – among others: ”Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

Från Oban åkte vi vidare norrut – målet var Isle of Skye. Castle Stalker, i headern, byggdes runt 1440 och har figurerat i flera filmer, bland annat i Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

The road taking us to Isle of Skye is very beautiful – even when foggy and rainy. A short stop at Fort William only – and we noticed how many shops that had been closed down here. Empty windows glaring at us. This is not what we remembered from 35 years ago – but things change over the years…

Vägen dit är mycket vacker – även i dimma och regn. Vi gjorde ett kort provianteringsstopp i Fort William, och förskräcktes över hur många affärer som gapade tomma här. Det såg inte ut så när vi var här för 35 år sedan. Allting förändras…

 

On reaching Mallaig for the ferry, we realised we had to wait for some hours. A nice opportunity to return to Morar’s white beaches. Passing the Hogwart’s Express…

När vi kom fram till Mallaig för att ta färjan över till Isle of Skye var vi flera timmar för tidiga – eller rättare sagt färjorna var fullbokade. Detta blev ett fint tillfälle att återvända till Morar – berömt för sina vita stränder. På vägen mötte vi Hogwartsexpressen! Scener från Harry Potter spelades in här.

Morar is famous for its white beaches, and it was here some scenes were shot for Lars von Triers’ ”Breaking the Waves”. The colours were amazing.

Här spelades scener från Lars von Triers Breaking the Waves in. Färgerna var fantastiska.

A thin drizzle made the light very special and we longed to walk on those dreamy beaches…but then the raining increased in intensity and we had to drop that intention.

Ett tunt dimregn gjorde ljuset mycket speciellt och vi förberedde oss för att vandra på de vita stränderna här…men så ökade regnandet och vi fick överge den drömmen.

Back to Mallaig and the ferry. We could barely see the islands out there, but kept looking  eagerly for our dream destiny…Isle of Skye.

Tillbaka i Mallaig och färjan. Vi kunde inte se mycket av öarna därute, men spanade ändå ivrigt efter drömmen – Isle of Skye.

Somewhere out there …it is…

Någonstans därute finns den…

For more of Isle of Skye – just click the last picture above!

Going West – Dunoon, Inveraray and Oban

Leaving Borders and going westward on roads of beauty. We took the ferry from Greenock to Dunoon, then the road to  Inveraray and Oban.

Vi lämnade Borders och drog västerut. Vi tog färjan från Greenock till Dunoon och sedan landsvägen till Inveraray och Oban.

Following the rolling green hills west, we tried to imagine what Ayr would look like. Knowing we had a long way to go, we soon ruled out Burn’s Cottage and another castle.

Vi siktade på Ayr, och vägen dit var grön och vacker. Eftersom vi visste att den här dagen var den längsta kördagen, blev vi tvungna att räkna bort Burns stuga och ytterligare ett slott.

On reaching the west coast, we made a short stop and wandered along the beach to stretch our legs. Only the gulls kept us company.

När vi nått västkusten stannade vi vid stranden och sträckte på benen. Här var tomt. Bara måsarna höll oss sällskap.

Ferry to Dunoon – delightful weather and many beautiful views. The harbour too, where the houses reminded me of something Dickensian…

Vi tog färjan till Dunoon – en fin tur i vackert väder. Hamnens byggnader kändes som tagna direkt ur en Dickensfilm.

Inveraray Castle, owned by the Campbell Clan,  is very beautiful – inside as well – but we had to drive on. This was our longest driving day. A photo of the exterior was the option, but we found out that the best shot was to be had from the little narrow bridge we had to pass together with numerous cars and other heavy traffic. Impossible to stop there. In fact the photo beneath finally exists because we passed that bridge four times with me hanging out of the window…

Det här fotot har sin egen historia. Exteriörfoto av Inveraray Castle var allt vi skulle hinna med…och bästa platsen att fotografera ifrån var den smala, hårt trafikerade bron. Vi körde fram och tillbaka fyra gånger över bron med mig hängande utanför fönstret med tre kameror…

Driving on to Oban, we passed one of the longest lakes in Scotland, Loch Awe.  We made a short stop admiring the ruins of Kilchurn Castle. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century after being hit by lightning.

På väg mot Oban passerade vi Kilchurn Castles ruiner. Slottet övergavs på 1700-talet efter ett kraftigt åsknedslag.

Just before Oban there were some magnificent Highland Cattle grazing . I sat watching them for rather a long time…they are my real favourites! I was rewarded by many lovely glares and tails, and of course MANY shots. Some of them here:

Strax före Oban mötte vi de här fina exemplaren av Highland Cattle. Jag stannade en god stund och njöt av mina favoriter. Många foton blev det – några här:

Finally – Oban. Oban is gaelic, meaning ”the little bay”. 10% of the inhabitants here are gaelic speaking. Oban is also called the ”Gateway to the Isles” so the harbour is important.

Slutligen målet – Oban. Namnet Oban är gaeliska och betyder ”den lilla viken”. 10% av befolkningen här talar gaeliska. Staden kallas också för ”Gateway to the Isles” – porten till öarna.

McCaigs Tower is an unfinished attempt to copy the Colosseum of Rome. It towers above the harbour and  I later discovered that on almost all of my photos from here I can see a glimpse of it…

McCaigs Tower är en ofullbordad kopia av Roms Colosseum.  Den har smugit sig in i de flesta av mina bilder härifrån.

Of course we had to visit the Oban Whiskey Distillery before leaving. Whiskey is a gigantic industry in Scotland and this distillery is one of the oldest. Very interesting and a lovely guide. When waiting outside there were gorgeous begonias in the little square in front. Gently showered with glittering droplets…

Naturligtvis måste vi besöka ett destilleri – whiskey är en jätteindustri i Skottland. Just detta destilleri är ganska litet, men ett av de äldsta i landet. Det blev en mycket trevlig och lärorik tur. På torget utanför hade man otroligt stora begonior som just duschats fint av regnet.

…of a totally different kind from those inside the building.

Glittrande sköna droppar – av ett helt annat slag än de vi fick smaka inomhus…

 

Borders part II

Melrose Abbey (12th C) is a place of special atmosphere. Once built in a light rose red stone dy David I for Cisterciens monks from Yorkshire, and once one of the richest abbeys in Scotland. Plundered repetedely  by English armies and today there is only the skeleton left – but still it is beautiful. If you use just a tiny bit of your imagination – you will easily see the Abbey in front of you the way it looked in full splendour. The details reveal its once magnificent architecture.

In 1920 a balsamed heart was found here. It is believed to be the heart of Robert I Bruce, the Scots’ great freedom hero. He wanted it to journey to the Holy Land, but it was brought back and buried here when the man carrying it was killed in Spain.

Melrose Abbey i rosaröd sten byggdes på 1100-talet åt cisterciensermunkar från Yorkshire och var en gång ett av de rikaste klostren i landet. Klostret plundrades upprepade gånger och idag finns endast skelettet kvar, men det är fortfarande fantastiskt vackert. 1920 fann man ett balsamerat hjärta här, och det sägs vara den store frihetshjälten Robert I Bruces hjärta. Han ville att det skulle vara med på ett korståg till det heliga landet, och det begravdes här sedan bäraren dödats i Spanien.

The last part of this day we spent at St Abb’s and St Abb’s Head with a great view of The North Sea. This is the home of 50 000 birds, for example the northern fulmar, the common murre, the black-legged kittiwake and puffins.

Sist denna dag åkte vi ut till St Abbs och St Abbs Head med fin utsikt över Nordsjön. Här lever ca 50 000 fåglar, bland andra stormfågel, sillgrissla, kryckja och lunnefågel.

This little village is one of the few unspoilt harbours on the east coast of Britain. Resting this afternoon, peaceful and sunny.

Detta lilla fiskeläge är ett av de få resterande, ofördärvade, byarna längs den brittiska östkusten. En rofylld och solig plats på jorden denna dag.

Before returning home to Galashiels, we caught a glimpse of one of the great bridges in Berwick – upon  – Tweed. This important piece of land changed country 14 times between the 12th and the 15th century, in the wars between the Scots and the English.

Allra sist en glimt av gränslandet Berwick-upon-Tweed. En betydelsefull ort som bytte ägare 14 gånger på 300 år (1100-1400-talet) i krigen mellan skottar och engelsmän. Tre broar är byggda över Tweed, varav den här var den största och mest majestätiska.

Before going to the Highlands: Borders, part I – by tourists a neglected Scottish pearl

In Galashiels, a small village south of Edinburgh, we stayed at B&B Craigilea – a place to be warmly recommended. Full Scottish breakfast and a very welcoming hostess. An excellent place for visiting Borders, the countryside closest to England.

Here we visited some of the most famous castles and abbeys of Scotland, once founded by David I in the 12th century but over the years plundered and finally torn down by Henry VIII.

I Galashiels, ett litet samhälle söder om Edinburgh, bodde vi på B&B Craigilea – ett fantastiskt trevligt och fräscht boende med möjlighet att besöka det vackra Borders – gränslandet mot England. Ett område bestrött med ruiner efter några av de mest framstående slott och kloster som uppförts i landet. De flesta kloster grundades av David I på 1100-talet, plundrades flera gånger och förstördes totalt av Henrik den VIII.

Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott is close to Galashiels, and so is Scott’s View – his favourite view of Borders. We were alone there, early in the morning, and could sit quietly absorbing the beauty of the view, listening to the birds and admiring the lushness of the landscape. I could easily understand him, Scott, and I almost felt the sound of his horses stopping there on his last journey to Dryburgh Abbey. According to the legend, they wanted their master to stop there this last time too.

Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford ligger här, och hans favoritutsikt över Borders, Scott’s View, är ljuvlig. Vi var ensamma där på morgonen och kunde sitta och njuta av stillheten och skönheten. Vila i tanken på hur han stannade till här varje gång han passerade och hur han älskade denna vy. Det sägs att hans hästar självmant stannade vid deras master’s favoritplats, på väg med katafalken på Scotts sista resa till sin begravning i Dryburgh Abbey vid stranden av Tweed.

Scott's View

Dryburgh Abbey,  founded on 10 November 1150, is Sir Walter Scott’s last resting place  on the river Tweed. The old trees in the park are magnificent, there is even a giant Sequoia with its characteristic layer upon layer trunk.

Dryburgh Abbey i strålande sommarväder – också det en fin upplevelse. Träden i parken här är mycket gamla. Ivy och till och med en Sequoia med sin karakteristiska mjuka lager- på- lager stam.

The crypt, once the room for the monks’ daily prayers. Magnificent play of light and stillness – you are in contact with your soul and your words are allowed to soar.

Kryptan, en gång munkarnas bönerum. Ljusspelet i tystnaden och lugnet – här finner man sig själv, och orden svävar lätt över de mjuka linjerna..

Exhibition of sculptures found in the torn down abbey. The exquisite Lamb.

Utställning med skulpturer man funnit i det nedrivna klostret. En berömd skulptur av Lammet.

In the gardens – The giant Sequoia – I den stora parken – en jättesequoia.

Next we visited the remains of powerful Melrose Abbey – where the hero Robert the Bruce’s heart was buried. This for Borders part II.

I Borders del II har vi kommit till magnifika Melrose Abbey – platsen där skottarnas berömde frihetshjälte Robert the Bruce lät begrava sitt hjärta.

 

Isle of Skye part III

We went back the same way we had come the day before – now in sunshine instead of rain. The road to Armadale and Armadale Castle Gardens.

Vi åkte tillbaka samma väg vi kommit – till Armadale Castle och trädgårdarna där. Vi visste att det måste vara stängt så sent på kvällen, men åkte ändå…Vägen dit regnade bort dagen före – nu hade vi möjlighet att uppleva den i solsken.

Armadale Castle is a ruined country house, the former home of the MacDonalds. A mansion house was first built here around 1790. In 1815 a castle, intended for show rather than defense,  was built next to the house. There was a fire and after 1855 the destroyed part of the house was replaced by a central wing. 1925 the castle was abandoned by the MacDonald family and has fallen into ruin.

Slottet Armadale ägs av klanen MacDonald. Det första huset byggdes här runt 1790, och 1815 byggdes ett slott här intill, för tjusningen snarare än som ett försvar. Efter en brand byggdes ett nytt mittparti, men 1925 övergavs slottet och förföll.

The gardens around the castle have been maintained, and are now home to the Clan Donald Centre, which operates the Museum of the Isles. We knew the gardens would be closed, but …when we slowly drove up to the gates…they were open. And we sneaked in.

Trädgårdarna underhålls fortfarande och MacDonalds  driver här ett museum – the Museum of the Isles. Vi visste att det måste vara stängt såhär sent…men när vi körde upp mot slottet var grindarna öppna…och vi beslöt oss för att smyga in.

Not a wind in the trees…we walked slowly without a word. What if somebody found us here? Well, then we would just have to leave, wouldn’t we…

Alldeles vindstilla…vi gick tysta, långsamt…Tänk om någon kom på oss nu? Ja, då skulle vi bara bli tvungna att gå ut igen, eller hur…

Watching the warm sunrays filtering through the leaves we basked in being alone in this old park. A strange feeling was getting hold of us though. So quiet, but yet, as if someone or something other was present…

Solstrålarna silade ner genom grenverket och vi njöt av att vara ensamma i den gamla parken. En underlig känsla började infinna sig…så tyst, men ändå kändes det som om någon eller något annat var närvarande…

A white tent with plastic windows – a party? Looking through the windows there seemed to have been a wedding that day. Everything in serene white, some flowers on a table.

Ett vitt tält med genomskinliga plastfönster – party? När jag tittade in genom fönstren förstod jag att ett bröllop hade hållits här. Idag kanske? Allt i rent vitt, några blommor på ett bord.

A happy young couple – walking through the romantic ruins and into the lush gardens…I could easily imagine…

Ett lyckligt ungt par – vandrande bland de romantiska ruinerna och ut i den lummiga trädgården…det var lätt att föreställa sig…

…the two of them sitting in the shade, having eyes only for each other.

…de två sittande i skuggan, med ögon bara för varandra.

And then, holding hands, slowly strolling through the enchanted gardens. Her dress floating on the grass…Stopping for a gentle kiss by the waterlily pond…

Och sen, medan de håller varandra i handen, strövar de långsamt genom de förtrollade trädgårdarna. Hennes klänning svävar över gräset…och de stannar för en öm kyss vid näckrosdammen…

Driving home to Kyleakin in silence, I guess we both knew how fortunate we had been this evening.  We had witnessed and participated in something special.

The bridge of goodbyes was for tomorrow.

Vi körde tysta tillbaka till Kyleakin för en sista natt på ön. Jag tror att vi båda kände att vi hade varit med om något alldeles extra den här kvällen.

Bron till fastlandet och vårt farväl till Skye fick vänta till i morgon.

For more about Scotland and the Isle of Skye, go to Seonaid at breathofgreenair!

Isle of Skye part II

The skies over Skye opened up more and more, revealing and enhancing the magical blue and green hues.

In the evening we decided to drive down to Elgol with or without a boat trip – we wanted to see the Cuillins in the evening light. A narrow and winding road took us there after a long drive, passing sheep and cattle and also the ruins of Kilchrist Church – where we stopped to have a sandwitch and some coffee. I have never had that before – in an abandoned graveyard…

På kvällen beslöt vi att trots utebliven båtresa åka ner till Elgol för att se Cuillins I kvällssol. Det blev en lång och vindlande resa där vi bland annat passerade Kilchrist Church, stannade och intog medhavd matsäck. Det har vi nog aldrig gjort förut – fikat på en övergiven kyrkogård…

And of course we admired the Highland Cattle grazing on the hills. This hardy breed originally comes in two colours – black and reddish.

Och naturligtvis beundrade vi de skotska Highland Cattle som betade på kullarna. De tål ett tufft klimat och kommer ursprungligen i två färger, svarta eller röda.

Elgol’s white houses were perched on the cliffs above the little harbour. The evening light was intensely beautiful, but unfortunately never reached the Cuillins.

Elgols vita hus häckade uppe på klipporna, men Cuillins undvek effektivt kvällssolen…fast vi njöt av landskapet ändå. När det gäller öar och bergsområden ligger ofta dis och moln kvar.

On our way back, we decided to return to Armadale to see this part of the road in evening sun. This and the Armadale Gardens will be the content of part III.

På väg tillbaka beslöt vi att återvända till Armadale för att se kvällssolen över de vackra vikarna. Vägen dit och Armadales trädgård och park får avsluta del III.