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Abbotsford was the extraordinary home of the 19th century novelist Sir Walter Scott, who was born in 1771 and died at Abbotsford in 1832. The works of ‘Great Scott’ included 'Waverley' and 'Ivanhoe'. Scott also popularised tartan, saved the Scottish banknote and rediscovered his country’s Crown Jewels ('the Honours of Scotland'). Abbotsford is in the Scottish Borders and was built - or developed - as a family home, as well as Scott's workplace and somewhere to keep his collection of curios, artefacts and books.
Image credit: Historic Houses
Statue of Adam Smith outside St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) is probably best known as the author of 'Wealth of Nations'. The bronze statue is by Alexander Stoddart and was unveiled in 2008.
The post code is for St Giles' Cathedral.
Alloway Auld Kirk, the ruined old church at Alloway dates from the 16th century, though the site could be much older. It is most famous now due to it being featured in Robert Burns' poem 'Tam o' Shanter' (1791), as the place where witches and warlocks gather. The churchyard is fascinating and includes the graves of Burns' father, William Burnes, and sister, Isabella Burns Begg. Combine with a visit to the Robert Burns' Museum, his birthplace, Burns Monument and Brig o' Doon.
The Antonine Wall has World Heritage status alongside Hadrian's Wall to the south. It was built in 140 AD on the orders of Hadrian’s successor, Emperor Antoninus Pius. It ran 37 miles (60km) from Old Kilpatrick in the west to near Bo’ness in the east and formed the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire, but was abandoned after 20 years and the frontier shifted back south to Hadrian’s Wall. Unlike the latter, the Antonine Wall was constructed mostly out of layers of turf. These ramparts reached a height of almost 10 feet (3 m). In front, to the north, ran an enormous ditch, up to 16 feet (5 m) deep. Behind the wall ran a road to enable the movement of troops and supplies. There were 17 manned forts along the wall, plus additional ‘fortlets’. The Antonine Wall website calls it “the biggest, most awe-inspiring building project the people of Scotland had ever seen” – which is true but for the fact that Scotland did not exist at the time. There are several stretches of the wall that can be seen today – one of the best is at Rough Castle (address below). See the World Heritage website for details of all locations. The largest collection of Antonine Wall artefacts is held by the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow.
Arniston is 6000-acre estate 11 miles from Edinburgh which has been home to the Dundas family for almost 450 years. The present Palladian style mansion was designed by William Adam and replaced a former Tower House. The house features a world class art collection, with pieces by Raeburn, Nasmyth and many more, as well as collections of china and period furniture. Arniston welcomes visitors. Tours of house and gardens are often conducted by family members.
Image credit: Historic Houses
This is the Bridge over the Atlantic, also known as the Atlantic Bridge; I daresay someone’s referred to it as Atlantic Crossing too. You’ll find it in Argyll, about 10 miles south of Oban. Atlantic Bridge’s real name is Clachan Bridge and it joins the Hebridean island of Seil with the mainland, spanning what is technically a section of the Atlantic Ocean, albeit a very narrow one. We Brits are known for our sense of humour; just look at how we still agree to pay our politicians. The bridge was designed by Robert Mylne (1733-1811) – who also designed Blackfriars Bridge in London - and was built in 1792.
Nearby on the island side is the Tigh an Truish Inn - the house of trousers. The name allegedly comes from the time after the 1745 rebellion, when the Government banned the kilt. So islanders travelling to the mainland for work would change into trousers at the inn before crossing the bridge, and back into traditional plaid when returning home.
Balmoral is a 50,000 acre estate and the private Scottish home of the British Royal Family. It was purchased from the Farquharson family by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852, close to the Highlands they both loved. The current castle, a classic example of Scottish baronial architecture, is new - Victoria and Albert had it constructed between 1853 and 1856; the old castle was then demolished. There is limited public access to the grounds, gardens and exhibitions (including access to the castle ballroom only) between spring and early summer, when the Royal Family is not in residence. Apart from the ballroom, the castle is not open to the public. Cottages in the grounds can also be hired.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral on 8 September 2022. She had habitually spent her summers there, with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh (until his death in 2021) and family. The Queen and the Prince spent their last, 73rd, wedding anniversary there in 2020. It was a place of happy memories for the Queen, from the time she first visited her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, there when she was a small child.
The Queen accepted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation and invited his successor, Liz Truss, to form a government at Balmoral on 6 September 2022, just two days before Her Majesty’s death.
The Royal family often worship at nearby Crathie Kirk and are familiar faces in the village of Ballater.
The Battle of Bannockburn took place over the 23rd and 24th June 1314 between the Scots, under Robert the Bruce, and a significantly larger army under Edward II of England. The English were under siege by the Scots at Stirling Castle and Edward's army was intended to relieve the siege. Instead, Bruce inflicted a massive defeat. This ultimately led to the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.
Much of the probable site of the battle is now built over. However, the National Trust for Scotland operates a visitor centre that offers a hi-tech battle experience (ticket only), a shop and a cafe. There is memorial to the battle on the site as well as a statue of Robert the Bruce. Note - there is no museum or exhibition.
Memorial to the Battle of Roslin, erected in 1994. The battle was fought on 24th February 1303 between the Scots and English during the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was a Scottish victory, but it does not figure in many history books and few people have even heard of it. Some accounts of the battle suggest that a divided force of 30,000 English troops was picked off in 3 separate engagements by a rapidly assembled Scottish army of 8,000 fighting on terrain they knew. However, evidence is lacking and the above story may be a myth; the battle could have been a skirmish, or series of skirmishes.
The battle was fought on 11 September 1297. Following Scots support for the French, Edward I of England invaded Scotland, deposed the King, John Balliol and left an army of occupation. Sir William Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray led a rebellion and met an English army outside Stirling. The English advanced over a narrow bridge over the River Forth. The Scots fell upon the English from the high ground on Abbey Craig, cutting the invading army in two. The English commander, the Earl of Surrey, could not reinforce because of the narrowness of the bridge. The portion of his forces that had crossed the bridge were cut down, though some of managed to escape by swimming back across the river. The Scottish victory destroyed the myth of English invincibility. Legend has it that the hated English treasurer, Hugh de Cressingham, was flayed after the battle and that Wallace made a belt from the skin.
The actual bridge of the battle was destroyed at the time. The current 'old' bridge was built downstream of it in the 16th century and is still in use by pedestrians. There is a plaque on the east end of the bridge, with a small portion of meadow adjacent, but it is thought that most of the fighting took place on ground that is now built over. It's a nice bridge, though. Post code is very approximate.
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