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February 27, 2012

A recent post by BrainRants got me to thinking about my one and only overseas trip.  I had always had it in the back of my mind that someday I would love to visit Great Britain, especially Scotland.  It was in about 2004 that I casually mentioned it to an old friend.  Imagine my surprise when she immediately responded with “Let’s go!”  Just like that.  So we did.

Fast forward to the spring of 2008 when I found myself in the land of my ancestors.  There’s much I could write about it, but instead I’d like to share a few of the 1100+ photographs I took during that trip. 

These first three show extremes in living situations.  First is Abbotsford, built by Sir Walter Scott.

Abbotsford – photo by JSD 2008








Smailholm Tower is a small peel tower and was the property of the Pringle family in 1408, sold to the Scotts of Harden in 1645, abandoned in 1700, and eventually restored in the 1980s.  It is roofed with stone slabs, the walls are 10’ thick, and the tower is nearly 60’ tall.

Smailholm Tower - photo by JSD 2008









And here is a portion of the outer wall of Stirling Castle, just west of Edinburgh.   It is on the River Forth and is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland.  A few of the original 14th century buildings remain with most of the main buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. 

Stirling Castle – photo by JSD 2008












Of course, there are remains of numerous abbeys, such as Melrose Abbey.  It was established in 1136 by Cistercian monks on the request of King David I of Scotland and took over 50 years to build.  Most of it is now in ruins.  In 1322 the Abbey was destroyed by the army of Edward II, rebuilt and destroyed again in 1385 by the army of Richard II of England.  Then again, in 1544, it was damaged by the English and never fully repaired.

Melrose Abbey - photo by JSD 2008

And one of the statues throughout the country honoring William Wallace has a wonderful view of the Eildon Mountains overlooking the River Tweed valley.

Eildon Mountains – photo by JSD 2008









What a beautiful country!

24 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2012 6:29 am

    Thanks for the linkback, JSD! I hope to actually see Scotland someday.

  2. February 27, 2012 7:09 am

    Scotland is one of my favorite places. The whole country. My husband proposed to me on the Salisbury Crags — cliffs overlooking Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle at sunset. Unforgettable!

    The people are wonderful, too. We have great friends from John’s year at Edinburgh University. We still see them and keep in touch. Friendly, welcoming, marvelously humorous folks.

    Thanks, JSD, for taking me back!

    • February 27, 2012 4:12 pm

      Wow, you must have wonderful memories!

  3. Betsy Cushman permalink
    February 27, 2012 7:56 am

    Your photography could win awards! So beautiful!

  4. February 27, 2012 12:56 pm

    Just gorgeous! MJ

  5. February 27, 2012 8:19 pm

    I’ve been to Ireland, but never yet to Scotland. Thanks for the inspiration; I am so in love with Scottish history!

    • February 28, 2012 9:07 am

      I love it, too. Maybe you can get to Scotland someday…?

  6. February 27, 2012 8:46 pm

    Your descriptions and pictures are priceless and speak to a life that was very different from the way we live now.

    • February 28, 2012 9:09 am

      Thanks for your comment. I can only imagine what life was like for them, but knowing some of my family history back to that period really helped me appreciate the beauty and culture of the country.

  7. February 29, 2012 8:16 am

    Love your Post – photos and historical commentary took me there for a few minutes. Did you go in the castle of Sir Walter Scott? I like the way you laid out this post with writing, photo, writing, photo – visually interesting and easy to read.

    • February 29, 2012 9:14 am

      I’m glad you like it! Yes, we did see the inside of Sir Walter Scott’s home, but were not allowed to take pictures. I do have some postcards showing the interior…it was magnificent! Huge collections, beautiful decor and architecture, and the neatest library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. That was my favorite room. Hhmmm, maybe I can post those pictures if I can figure out the copyright protocol.

  8. February 29, 2012 12:16 pm

    Beautiful photos!

  9. March 1, 2012 9:25 pm

    You took some great photos, JSD. I hope you share some more.

  10. March 4, 2012 5:22 am

    Okay. You’ve made me add this to my bucket list.

    • March 5, 2012 3:58 pm

      You won’t regret it if you do get there!

  11. March 5, 2012 7:47 am

    Gorgeous photos! Scotland is definitely on my list of ‘must-see’ places. I have Scottish ancestry as well. And I had a penpal from Glasgow for years when I was young.

    • March 5, 2012 3:59 pm

      That would have been fun. I hope you get there!

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