Updated: Jan 16
Golf courses and castles are everywhere in Scotland.
Despite wars, rebellions and time many of the castles have survived pretty much intact. Cawdor Castle, built as a private fortress during the late 14th century, is one that has been in continuous use and inhabited by the Cawdor family for over 600 years. Today it is owned by the Dowager Countess Cawdor, stepmother of Colin Campbell, 7th Earl Cawdor.
There are three gardens at the castle, one of which has a maze inside. Unfortunately, the maze area is under repair but can be seen from the walled garden that contains it. In the center is a very large Minotaur sculpture that the birds are not afraid of.
To the south of the castle is a magnificent garden under arch forming trees that was laid out in the early 18th century. A time early enough for Jaime and Claire of Outlander to have enjoyed walking through it. While this was not used as a filming location, it could have been.
So many castles to see. Onward to Drummond Castle Gardens.
You may think the photos of the formal gardens pictured below are from Palais de Versailles, especially if you saw the episode of Outlander where these gardens were used as a backdrop. The garden is actually in Scotland.
There is a wooded area on the castle grounds that has a nice walking trail with carved wooden sculptures of animals and more.
There are some interesting signs in Scotland. I could not resist was the one below
Eventually we made it to our hotel, and had dinner at the iconic World End Restaurant. This tavern was established in 1719 and has an interior that brings you back in time. Definitely a place for a brew, a burger, and a meal. Though not used as a filming location for Outlander, this establishment was mentioned in one of the books as a place where Claire and Jaime go to try to save Mr. Willoughby, an acupuncturist from China.
Located where a wall marked the boundary of the old city, this point was viewed by locals as the end of the world, hence the name.
The next day we did a nature walk and some birding at Aberlady Bay in Longniddry.
While I am not thrilled with the quality of the photo below, I am very happy that I had the opportunity to see the rare and vulnerable Skylark
From the moment we arrived in Scotland, where scones originated, I craved a proper scone. The potato scone I had tasted early on was like stale pita bread. I was due for a nice flakey, buttery scone, one at least as good as I could get at home. Finally, towards the end of our trip we came upon a bakery that made amazing ones.
At the Old Bakehouse Tearoom, one of the best things was that the scones were gluten-free. I was also able to get an amazing dairy-free cappuccino. I didn’t think that was possible.
After a tasty snack, off we went to Craigmillar Castle. One of the residences of Mary, Queen of Scots, it was also used as a filming location during season 3 of Outlander. The location served as Ardsmuir Prison, the prison where Jaime and other survivors of the Jacobite rebellion at Culloden were held.
Every once in a while a car is in your line of sight that demands your attention.
Interestingly I started my journey into the art of photography using black and white film and printing on rag paper. I now embrace color as well as black and white especially bright, bold colors like the Hoochie Coochie offered.
So much of the history of the Jacobite cause centers around Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Buildings from the 17th century still exist and are in relatively good shape. The oft-mentioned TV series, with some artistic license, gives an account of actual events that took place in the 18th century. The Gladstone’s Land Tenement Building which was built in the early part of the 17th century has the look and feel of an Outlander location.
If you are craving a “proper” hamburger…
A close is a privately owned alleyway that is open to the public at the whim of its owners and which is often gated in the off hours. There are many of these on High Street in Old Town.
One very famous Scottish poet is memorialized in the statue below.
One “must visit” is the Holyrood Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s royal residence while visiting Scotland. Outlander's Claire and Jaime were hosted for 5 weeks by Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart, “The Young Pretender” here.
Sometimes rooms were hidden behind secret doors. Can you find the secret door in the photo below?
It is so much better to celebrate one's accomplishments while they are still with us than to mourn their death. Queen Elizabeth II, Great Britain’s monarch celebrated her 75th anniversary as such while we were in Scotland and so we had the opportunity to witness the celebratory parade that took place in Scotland’s capital, Edinburg, while we were on holiday there.
Imagine 75 years. She was in her 20’s when she was crowned. So young…
AK Rowlings, writer of the Harry Potter novels, is a lifelong resident of the United Kingdom and as such used the places she was familiar with to color her writing, including places she visited in Scotland. One such place she used for inspiration was Grayfrier’s Kirk, getting several of the key character’s names from gravestones.
John Bayne ran a campsite and was a Muggle, a person who could not perform magic.
Information about John Baynes ( the real person) and a little bit about Harry Potter character names. Click on the photo to enlarge and to read the informative sign.
TO BE CONTINUED ……
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