Sunday, May 6, 2012

Our last day in Galloway & Dunfries

Saturday dawned bright but windy and COLD! We stopped to take a look at a ruined abbey. There are lots of these in Scotland.

Our next stop was the John Paul Jones museum in Kirkbean.

There is a beach near the JPJ museum. We went for a brief stroll - the wind was blowing a gale!

Caleb found some more classic Scottish signage.

In spite of the cold weather spring is coming to  the area.

The yellow is on the broom
Here are a couple of photos of Orchardton Castle. This was built in the 15th century, toward the end of castles as primarily defensive structures. It was more of an estate home.

Oh yes, another ruined abbey. This one is Sweetheart Abby,  I think.

As we were driving we saw this wicker man. There is a huge country & western festival in this field in June.

Leaving Galloway

On Sunday 29-April we set out for Dunfermline. On the way from Moffat we ran up the hill to get this shot of Grey Mare's Tail.
We didn't go directly to Dunfermline. We went to Roslin first to see the chapel and the castle. Since the last time we were here the Da Vinci Code was published and the number of visitors has gone from 30,000 to 118,000 per year. You can't take pictures on the inside anymore but here is the gargoyle. I might post some photos from the inside that we took on a previous visit.

Behind the chapel is Roslin castle. One of the great mysteries of the chapel is why Cromwell didn't order is destroyed while he did have the castle destroyed. Caleb and I took the wrong path, wandered down by the river and through one of the last sections of the ancient Caledonian forest and then stormed the castle up a VERY steep hill. I don't see how anybody could have taken this fortress before the advent of cannon.

On our way to Dunfermline we sought out the Antonine Wall, which is more of an Antonine ditch. We got lost a couple of times in Falkirk and had to ask for directions from some locals. We were glad we have had years of familiarity with the dialect through the annual visitations on George Haig, a Falkirk chiel, to Round Pond.

Caleb at the Antonine Wall, er, Ditch, in Falkirk
I have known about the Falkirk Wheel for some time but we had never actually been to Falkirk. After our visit to the wall we went to turn around at a roundabout and saw a directional sign to the wheel. I had no idea how big the thing is. According to the sinage it is not only the biggest it is also the only boat lift of its kind.
It's 35 meters tall (108 feet for you yankees)

Nearing our destination we drove through the 15th century town of Culross (pronounced KOOR-as) This town has an interesting history, first deep coal mine, site of wrought iron girdle manufacturing for many years. It went dormant in the 15th century when the mine played out and cast iron girdles became available, was procured by the national trust in the 1930's. Definitely worth more than a drive-through, but that's all we had time for.


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