Saturday, September 9

Farewell to Scotland 

Today was our last day in Edinburgh visiting Holyrood Palace. Since we head home tomorrow morning, as a final posting, I thought it appropriate to attempt a brief history of the kingdom.

 Prehistoric  Scotland was dominated by the Pics which I commented upon in the post on St Andrews and whose people originally migrated from Central Europe. In AD 83 the Romans defeated the Pics but their rule was never consolidated and after their withdrawal Scotland reverted to tribal rule. The Pics ruled the Orkney islands and down to the Forth, whose current archeological diggings indicate a rich heritage and considerable influence as depicted in the earlier posting on the Island. But it was the Scots who emerged to shape the nation as it is now known. It was an Irish Scot, Columba,who brought Christianity to the nation and conversion of the Pics. But a battle ensued with the Dalriadic Pics until the warring tribes were finally united under the house of Alpin. 

Friday, September 8

Edinburgh Castle again -Crown Jewels, Royal Palace and Scottish Kings. 

The earliest historic reference to Scottish kings belongs to Kenneth mac Alpin who became king of the Scots in the ninth century. Inauguration was marked by placing his foot into a carved shape into a rock. There was no further information until 1249 when King Alexander 111 was entroned on the Stone of Scone bearing a crown, sword and sceptre. Hence it is assumed that these items were used at the coronation of King David 11 and the first Stewart King, Robert 11(1371-1390) who founded a dynasty which ruled Scotland for the next 300 years. 

Wednesday, September 6

Tuesday, September 5

Loch Lomond

The first 5 photos were taken at Hill House at Helenburgh which was designed by Architect-Artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) who took his inspiration from Scottish traditions and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of Japanese forms. The next photo reminds us of our visit to a nearby Aquarium to see the marine life of the Loch. The last photo is the view from our room.

Sunday, September 3

Isle of Mull and Island of Iona

It was a glorious sunny today on the Isle of Mull when we visited Duart Castle which in addition to being an ancient fort, is the historic home of the Chiefs of Clan  Maclean. The Macleans acquired Duart in the 1350's in recognition of their support for the Lord of the Isles. The Castle has been the location for many movies inclusive of the 1969 movie "WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL" starring Anthony Hopkins.

Sir Lachlan Maclean and his wife currently occupy part of the castle and the trust created by the Clan have contributed significantly over the years to its restoration. Later we took the short ferry trip to the Island of Iona where we visited the ruins of Iona nunnery and the Abby which was the destination of large scale pilgrimages for 1200 years. The monastery was founded by St Columba in 563.

Pictured below in order are the Castle and on Iona the ruins of the Nunnery, the Abby and the beautiful colours of the bay.

Saturday, September 2

Isle of Skye 

From about 800 AD the Island was under the rule of the Norsemen whose names remain in the many villages. Prior to Scandinavian occupation the island was in the hands of the celts which is still evident today and about half of the population of 10,000 speak the Gaelic language. The Island is principally agricultural involving sheep, cattle, and fishing. Tourism is increasingly important as people discover its unrivalled peace and beauty. The agricultural system is crofting and there are currrently 2000 crofts on the island. A croft is just a small holding of between 1 to 50 acres or more but there are only about 100 large enough to support the livelihood of a crofter.