Saturday, 29 December 2012

Looking back - Glamis and other wanders

Most things I've seen this year have found there way onto these pages but sometimes there are some places of interest that seem to get passed by. The most notable of these must be Glamis Castle which I passed on my way to work (it's a few mile passed Dundee) on a day when I was making particularly progress.

Glamis is famously immortalised by Shakespeare in the first title given to Macbeth, Thane of Glamis. Macbeth then goes on to murder the good King Duncan in his bed and claim his crown himself before he gets his comeuppance in battle himself.  It's fairly common knowledge now that this is complete rubbish. Duncan died in a battle against Macbeth and history seems to suggest that Macbeth was by far the better king. As it turns out, Macbeth had nothing what so ever to do with Glamis. Two kings earlier though, Malcolm II died here, some say murdered, when Glamis was a royal hunting lodge.

There was a castle here in 1376 when Robert II granted the title Thane of Glamis to Sir John Lyon. Glamis has stayed in the family, now the Bowes-Lyons, since, though the castle was rebuilt in the 15th and again in the 17th centuries. In 1900 the Claude Bowes-Lyon (14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) had a daughter Elizabeth who married the future George VI and became queen. Since our current queen came to the throne until her death in 2002 she was better known as The Queen Mother. It's often thought she was born here but she was actually born in London. A large part of her childhood was spent at Glamis though.

Glamis Castle  is very impressive inside but as with most stately home you can't take pictures inside. It's not all that unimpressive as soon as you arrive having a very long and very straight drive.

The frontage of the castle is very distinctive and appears on the Royal Bank's ten pound note.

This shot is taken round the back of the castle. If you look carefully just above the crenellated ground floor extension you can see a bricked up barred window.

Here is a closer shot of it. It is the window of a room in the oldest part of the castle which has remained bricked up since perhaps the 15th century. There are many tales about this room but the one we were told on the tour concerned a nobleman who was playing cards in the hall (which the bricked up room is part of). It was late on Saturday night and a servant came in and told the noble that it was nearly the Sabbath and he should stop playing cards. The noble said that he would play cards till Doomsday if he wanted, where upon a stranger arrived at the castle and asked to join the game. He said that the noble could have his wish if he wanted. It's said that if you listen against the wall late on a Saturday night you can hear cards being turned over and the sound of weeping.

This lion holds the coat of arms of the family - oddly enough, bows and lions

This complicated sundial dates back to 1671.

It has eighty separate dial round this stone ball and four more held by lions on the base. You would of course now have to allow for the fact that the Gregorian calendar was in operation at the time and there was no GMT or British Summer Time in those days. Coupled with the fact that the sundial is now in the wrong place means you'd be better just guessing the time or looking at your watch.

I was a bit early in the year to see the walled garden in it's full glory.

Later in the year, while visiting Mr McK in Edinburgh, we went for a small walk to take some air. The intention was to follow a bus route and when we had had enough, we would hop on the bus back. I sometimes wonder why we bother with plans in the first place for wanders will do as they will, regardless of intention.

We arrived at the entrance of the Dreghorn Barracks where we saw this memorial. It was built in 1885 in what was then the grounds of Dreghorn Castle by on Robert Macfie. He had a bit if a habit of building follies and monuments in his ground - this I believe is the only survivor. It was built out of columns he salvaged from the old Edinburgh Infirmary (built in 1738) when it was demolished in 1884. Commonly called the Covenanters monument, it commemorates the Battle of Rullion Glen in 1666 where many Covenanters were killed. Besides that, other occasions are carved around the top, Charles 1745 (which obviously relates to the second Jacobite uprising), Cromwell 1650 (when Oliver Cromwell had an excursion into Scotland) and Romans (which is not all that particular).

Following the edge of the barracks round, we found that we had walked completely out of the city and found ourselves in rather a pleasant corner.

This underpass runs below the Edinburgh ring road. 

Much of the ground on the other side of the ring road belongs to the Ministry of Defence. Now, what have I found?

A little further on, this old pumping station lies at the very edge of the Pentland Hills.

It really didn't feel like we had come that far but the city certainly looks to be a fair way away.

It was sometime later when we arrived in the village of Swanston which has a delightful little area of thatched cottages.

Free range hens

Our walk having taken a different and lengthier turn of events, we were well overdue this cuppa at the Swanston Golf Club.

In October I passed Crathie Kirk. It's often seen on the news as it's near Balmoral and the Royal family go to church here when they're in the area.

I think they use the side entrance when they're here.

I was on my way to Dunoon but had mistimed my visit to coincide with the MOD - an annual Gaelic cultural festival with moves to a different town each year. Not only was there no accommodation in the town but the excessive rain of the previous few days had flooded the local campsite (Plan B). A hotel some miles outside Dunoon, on the banks of Loch Eck, had a bunk house which cost less than the campsite anyway and as a small bonus provided some excellent scenery for my drive into town.

Finally, at work I have a new cabin. On the plus side it is a single cabin so nobody else will have to suffer my snoring at night but it doesn't have a window, so no more looking out of my porthole as the sun sets over the Atlantic.


Ellie said...

You have some stunning shots here Sandy, that last sunset is just beautiful.
You sure to do get to see some lovely sights in Scotland - I'm ashamed to say I haven 't visited many of these places - but they are on my list.
Hope you have a lovely New Year :)

Pam and Wayne said...

Beautiful area you have there...all that architecture makes me drool with envy. Happy New Year!

Poppy (aka Val) said...

Beautiful shots Sandy :) Isn't it great to look back over the last 12 months and realize just how much you have done (and how many photos you have taken!!) Wishing you a Very Happy New Year :D

The Glebe Blog said...

You've had a good year Sandy.
I'm pleased to see the walled garden is now in use. I while back accompanied the local NCCPG (Formerly known as the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG), the organization adopted the name of Plant Heritage in 2009.)on a trip to Glamis to look at a completely empty walled garden.

Wishing you a Happy New Year when it arrives.

Shundo said...

Lovely shots of spring, autumn and winter (perhaps it is not surprising there are no summer photos...)
Another great selelction - are those really fluted columns in the underpass?
Looking forward to another year of marvellous miscellany.

Sandy's witterings said...

Thank you Ellie. You don't have to go far for lovely sights in Scotland (or indeed in England and the chances are moving at all in Wales will be quite unnecessary). I've got quite a list of places to visit to - it seems to contain almost everywhere I've never been.

Pam and Wayne, It looks like the Biltmore has been trying to catch up on the architecture front.

Val, It certainly has been a busy year last year - lets hope for another the same :)

Jim, I didn't realise the walled garden had fallen into disuse until recently - the last time I was here must have been 30 years ago and gardens were low down my interest scale then.

Shundo - I was quite surprised to find the fluted columns under the road and in such an out of the way place too. Not too far away for a ned to find them with his aerosol can though :( They should have gone the whole hog and put Corintian capitals on them.

Have a happy new year everybody.

Zoe said...

WHat a beautiful collection. I loved Entrance to the Cuiraing, Skye and am going to google it now. I havent been back to Edinburgh since the early 90s and it was lovely to see it again.