Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day...


With the weather warming up it was time to head on down for an afternoon at our local beach, City Beach. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Afternoon of Footy and Art


On Saturday afternoons I am usually at John's place with a group of dedicated and practising art lovers. Today though the Australian Football League Grand Final game was on and proved to be just too much of a distraction. 

With half of us barracking for Hawthorne and the rest for the Sydney Swans, a close and exciting game made for a great afternoon. After Sydney 14.7 (91 points) won the day over Hawthorne 11.15 (81 points) it was then finally time to settle down and get on with a sketch or two. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From the Front Garden


Despite the windy weather in Perth today, it was time to get out in the garden, catch up on all the weeding and to smell the roses.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taphophile Tragics: Trumpan Church, Isle of Skye


Once again it was reading the history of this church in Jonathon MacDonald's Discovering Skye. A Handbook of the Island's History and Legend that fired our curiosity and led us to drive to Trumpan in Waternish on the Isle of Skye. 

We learnt of several stories about Trumpan Church.

Pictured above and below is a rough stone pillar known as Clach Deuchainn, the Trial Stone. It was tough justice. The hole in the stone which is now filled with coins was used in medieval times to determine whether an accused person was telling the truth. While blindfolded, if they could put their hand through the hole immediately and without fumbling, they were deemed to be innocent, but if they groped for the hole, they were deemed guilty. 

I am not aware of the reason for coins being left in the stone today. Any ideas or suggestions?


Signage at the church also points to a brutal past. The words are repeated below.

The windswept ruin of Trumpan Church was the scene of one of the bloodiest episodes in Scottish history. During the winter of 1577, the MacLeods of Dunvegan massacred 395 MacDonalds, who were trapped in St Francis Cave on Eigg. They lit a fire in the cave entrance, suffocating all of them. In return Clanranald, chief of the MacDonalds of Uist, plotted a revenge.

It was the first Sunday of May the following year with a thick fog all around. The MacLeods from the surrounding lands had gathered for worship in Trumpan Church, and whilst they sung the MacDonalds sailed around the point of Dunvegan Head, mooring their galleys nearby in Ardmore Bay. Silently they surrounded the church, barred the door and set fire to the thatch roof. All burned to death apart from one young girl who managed to escape through the small window, severing one of her breasts.

The young girl ran back to Dunvegan and raised the alarm at the Castle. Waving the Fairy Flag, an army of MacLeods rushed down upon the fleeing MacDonalds and showing no mercy slaughtered all of them. 

The story goes on to say that the dead bodies were piled under a stone dyke and covered only by stones. The battle subsequently became known as the Blar Milleadh Garaidh - The Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke. 


The photo below taken outside the church grounds shows Dunvegan Head in the background and Ardmore Bay.


Unfortunately we were unable to find the grave of Lady Grange (a royalist) who was buried here is 1745 after living a tragic life in misery and isolation. Her sad demise was as a result of confronting her husband (a Jacobite) with his plans of intrigue and political wrangling, threatening to report him to the Government. She was kidnapped and the following day, the Edinburgh papers announced her death. A coffin was filled with stones and a burial took place. 

In the meantime, Lady Grange was banished to remote Scottish islands - Heiskeir, Saint Kilda, Harris and finally Skye where she died. Another mock funeral took place while the real burial was carried out under moonlight at Trumpan churchyard at a cost of thirty pounds and fifteen shillings. A sad ending for a lady of high rank. 

This is my contribution to Julie's Taphophile Tragics. To see further contributions, click here

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back in The West


Back home in "The West" and one of the first things to do was to get down to the beach. It was wonderful to holiday and it is wonderful to be home again and finally unpacked. 

Thank you to those who followed my adventure trail.  I am looking forward to catching up with your blogs over the next few days.

Best wishes,

Rae  


Monday, September 17, 2012

Glasgow Accolades for Olympians and Para Olympians


There was a real buzz as we came out of the Glasgow School of Art on Friday afternoon just in time to catch the excitement of Friday's parade for Scotland's Olympians and Para Olympians.

It's now time to pack our bags for the long flight home to Perth, Western Australia. In the meantime, I'll take a break from posting until Saturday when I look forward to sharing some more photos from my world. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Temple Wood


Kilmartin Glen is a beautiful area with a rich archaeological landscape. Within six miles of the village of Kilmartin, over 350 prehistoric and historic monuments have been identified. Cairns, standing stones and rock art attest to the Glen's significance. 

According to an informative book In the Footsteps of Kings which describes walks in and around Kilmartin Glen, while the reason for stone circles has been debated at length it is generally accepted that such circles are places of ceremony where rites and rituals were performed. The first of these activities began in the area around 3,000BC to 2,900BC.  

The site, Temple Wood which is shown here apparently has both solar and lunar alignments. In the photo below, concentric circles carved into the stone are still faintly visible. It is thought Temple Wood ceased to be the focus of prehistoric people about 1000BC. 

The name, Temple Wood, for this site is from the 19th century. It was also known at the time as Half Moon Wood. 

A place of wonder and mystery. 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Following Harry Potter's Trail in The Jacobite Express


It was all aboard The Jacobite steam train when we travelled from Fort William to the coastal town of Mallaig.

Passing over the Caledonian Canal at Banavie then along the shores of Loch Eil, the track takes a steady climb to Glenfinnan. Here the train passes over the viaduct made famous in Harry Potter films. The operators of The Jacobite provided the steam engine and carriages for the Hogwarts Express. 

For us the journey was a great way to see the Scotland's deepest loch, Loch Morar, some of the inner Hebridean Islands and the area's natural and untamed beauty. 



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rugged Beauty of the Quiraing, Isle of Skye


The rugged beauty of the ridge called Quiraing towered above the coast road as we drove to Uig. A wonderful area for walking or as we did, to visit and enjoy the view. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Taphophile Tragics: An Ancient Cemetery and Site of St Columba's Chapel on the Isle of Skye


Thanks to Jonathan MacDonald's handbook of history and legends of the Isle of Skye we discovered this ancient cemetery and site of Saint Columba's Chapel on an island in the River Snizort. The chapel is believed to have been built by the Saint and to be the first Christian church on the island. 

In his handbook, MacDonald tells the story of how Saint Columba saw a vision before arriving in Skye of being greeted by an old man who would ask for baptism and on receiving it would die. The story goes on to to tell how the vision came to pass and the man fell dead at the Saint's feet as soon he had been baptised.  His body was carried to the little island shown below and buried there by Saint Columba and his men. It is thought that this was the first Christian burial on Skye. 

The photos - above and immediately below - are of an ancient tombstone in St Columba's cemetery in Snizort on the Isle of Skye. 


Shown below is the Mortuary Chapel of the Nicolson's of SCOIREBREAC.

The effigy is believed to have been carved in the 16th century by the same man responsible for an effigy of John MacLeod of Minginish, de facto Chief of the Clan, which is in St Clement's Church in Rodel, Harris. 

Twenty eight Chiefs of the Nicolson's Clan are believed to be buried in this ancient and scared site. 


Another of the other tombstones in the cemetery is below.


There was no signpost from the main road to this ancient cemetery. It was only by seeing this bridge through the trees on our return journey that we were able to find this sacred site.


This is my contribution to Julie's Taphophile Tragics. To see further contributions, click here

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye


We ventured to Dunvegan Castle today to learn about the unique history of the home that, despite feast and famine, warring between clans and considerable social and economic change, has remained home to the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly eight centuries.

Despite being added to a number of times and the initial building being from circa 1340-60, the castle design seems unified. It also has one of the most interesting dungeons I have seen. How could anyone survive in such a cold and solitary place with little food and water? Interestingly a slit cut into the wall meant that cooking smells of the meals being served in the hall above would waft into the dungeon. What torment!


Dunvegan Castle's grounds and gardens are a delight to wander through. The walled garden pictured here was created in the first part of the  nineteenth century. However famine meant that such pursuits were not to continue. It was not until 1974 that the 29th Chief decided to restore the gardens.  



With such a long family history, there are many stories about the MacCleod Clan. A number relate to the Fairy Flag on display in the castle. A sacred banner from a crusade or a gift from a fairy? There are many versions of the story of the flag. I like one version of the story - the Fairy Bridge version in Jonathan MacDonald's superb handbook Discovering Skye that has tales of the history and legends of the isle. It goes something like this:

Like all fairy stories, it starts with:"Once Upon a Time......

The fourth Macleod Chief married a fairy wife. They had a baby, but on the day he reached the age of one year, his fairy mother was summoned back to her fairy homeland and nothing on this earth would keep her from going.   

Th Chief was attached to the young boy and did not want to let him go and he decided to walk along with her to find out where she intended to go. He took the baby in his arms and as they walked hand in hand out of the village and over the moor he pleaded with her not to leave himself or the child. 

She was however determined to go back to her own folk and as they reached the little humpbacked bridge know as Beul-Ath nan Tri Allt, the fairy mother rose above her son and distressed husband on colourful wings. As she did so, she dropped a piece of the finest silk which landed at their feet. "Keep this flag" she said "and unfurl it whenever a crisis hits you. It will save you and yours twice but woe on you all if you unfurl it the third time."

The story goes on that the flag has been unfurled twice - once when a serious disease struck the cattle and another when the MacDonalds sought revenge on the MacLeods. 

Now a tall tale or true? Well who knows. But it makes for a ripping yarn. 

The Fairy Bridge that features in this tale is pictured below.





Saturday, September 8, 2012

On the Beach at Skye


With good weather we set out this morning going where our whim would take us.

This is a beach near Staffin and not far from where we are staying. Beautiful and calm this morning, although with rock shelters built to protect the boats, a good sized rock to hold the back of the boat down and still more other ropes to secure the boat, the weather must be really extreme here at times. 


Friday, September 7, 2012

At Plockton on Loch Carron



A wonderful day of travel from Shieldaig to the Isle of Skye - although we did hope that the rain would stop at least for a while. 

And the clouds did lift a little as we drove into the picturesque village of Plockton. Time enough for a short walk along the foreshore to stretch our legs before continuing our journey to another picturesque location - Skye. From the forecast for tomorrow the weather looks to be improving. 

Fingers crossed as the scenery here is stunning and I really want to get out and about with my camera to capture some of the isle's natural beauty.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Highland Thrill Seeker


Seeing this skate boarder coming towards us while we were driving though the highlands near Blair Atholl was a bit of a surprise to say the least. Fortunately I had my camera in hand so was able to get this quick pic through the car window.

Then while we were at the hill summit, he turned up to do it all again. Pretty amazing as the road inclines here vary from a low of 12% to some at about 18%. Definitely a sport for thrill seekers with nerves of steel.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Outside Fort George


Before taking off into the wilderness areas, we took time to visit Fort George not far from Inverness when we stayed overnight. 

Located on the Moray Firth, the Fort was completed in 1769 after the Jacobite risings to discourage further rebellion. The Fort is an interesting example of military architecture and continues to be in military use today. Well worth a visit. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Taphophile Tragic: Rob Roy


Our time in Central Scotland near Balquhidder meant a journey to the grave of Rob Roy. Born Robert MacGregor in 1671 and known as Rob Roy or Red Rob from the colour of his hair, he grew up as a herdsman near Loch Arklet.

One version of events is that he was a cattle man who, wanting to increase the size of his herd, lost the money he had borrowed when his chief herder disappeared taking the money with him and leaving Rob Roy to default on the loan.

Unable to repay the loan from his principal creditor, the 1st Duke of Montrose, he was branded an outlaw and forced to leave his house which was burnt to the ground. In retaliation, Rob Roy set about plundering the Duke's lands. He was imprisoned but repeatedly escaped.

A famous Scottish hero and outlaw of the early 18th century, he was sometimes known as a Scottish Robin Hood. 

In 1725 Rob Roy received a pardon and spent the last 25 years of his life in Balquhidder where he was laid to rest.  


The old crumbling church building (the Old Kirk) near Rob Roy's grave is also the final resting place for Chiefs of the MacLaren Clan.



You can read more about Rob Roy through this link to Wikipedia. Just click here.

This is my contribution to Julie's Taphophile Tragics. More contributions can be found here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Visiting Pitlochry, Scotland


After a long day's drive the previous day, it was time to take things easy. And that is just what we did enjoying an easy day's drive from Blair Atholl to Pitlochry visiting the Power Station Dam. In early summer, wild salmon leap up the ladder built here into the dam on their way to spawning grounds.

As it turned out, it was one of the warmest days that we have had during our time in Scotland. Wonderful to put away the raincoats and enjoy the autumn sunshine.


And the contrasting countryside on our return journey to Blair Atholl.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Driving Through the Trossachs


Yesterday we left Edinburgh to drive to Blair Atholl, our travels taking us through the beautiful Trossacks in Central Scotland. The above pic was taken just off the road to the Three Lochs and below at Loch Tay. 


Saturday, September 1, 2012

City Daily Photo Theme Day: People Watching


Families at the Abbey

One of the delightful aspects of visiting Fountains Abbey was the number of families who were there to picnic and enjoy the beautiful surrounds. 

This is my contribution to the City Daily Photo Theme Day for September. To see more contributions, click here

Forth Bridge, Edinburgh


The view from South Queensferry where we went to on our journey yesterday.

Rainy, drizzly weather has now set in. Apparently it has been the wettest summer here for about 100 years! Still our spirits have not been dampened (yet) as we get ready to leave Edinburgh to travel to Blair Atholl.