Sunday 22nd May, 2005
Monday 23rd May, 2005
Tuesday 24th May, 2005

Sunday 22nd May, 2005

Drop Cap fter a lovely cooked breakfast, including a fresh fruit salad, we thanked Mrs. Brunskill and headed off for Gretna Green.

Gretna Green photograph

Gretna Green Blacksmith's Shop, Scotland

Drop Cap t was an easy run up the motorway past Carlisle to Gretna. This little tourist trap has changed and expanded out of sight since 1992, with a major shopping and eating outlet as well as a wedding complex in the Old Blacksmith's Shop, where you can not take photos anymore. However, it was quite interesting and we spent an hour and a half there including morning tea for Geoff.

Drop Cap hen on again, through bursts of rain and sunshine until we stopped to pick up some lunch at Whitburn. We got sandwiches and hot pies and took it into a park with a seat to have a picnic until it started to rain again.
On again, we skirted Edinburgh, crossed the Forth Bridge and headed into the East Neuk of Fife along the Fife Coastal Trail.

Drop Cap nce we were well along, we began to see the sea as we headed to Crail on the point of the peninsula, surrounded by sea on three sides.
We arrived in picturesque Crail at about 16:00 to a warm welcome in their teashop by the Muirheads. We have a very cosy double ensuite overlooking the High Street and Geoff has a twin with a sea view and a private bathroom.
Nice people too. I was prepared to like Ruary Muirhead anyway because of his very welcoming and enthusiastic emails and he turned out to be just how I expected.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Monday 23rd May, 2005

Drop Cap fter raining all night the sun came back sporadically most of the day, excepting odd showers now and then.
We had a good breakfast, said goodbye to our fellow guests (a couple from Maraylya near Windsor! They couldn't believe we knew where it was!) and headed out for a walking tour of Crail, guided by the tourist handout map.

Crail Market Cross photograph

Market Cross, Crail

Drop Cap rail is amazing, really. For such an old place I expected the streets to be narrow, steep and winding with nowhere to park. Instead we find the main streets broad and treelined (in parts) with lots of FREE parking, not a pay and display in sight! We saw the Mercat Cross which was given to Crail by Robert the Bruce in 1310 with a Unicorn on top.

Crail Harbour photograph

Low Tide, Crail Harbour, Scotland

Drop Cap hen we visited Crail Pottery which had a large range of pottery but all a bit heavy, heavy looking too!

Then to the harbour, via what was left of the Castle, not much! The harbour was most picturesque, a harbour wall enclosing a damp patch (the tide was out). We walked along the foreshore through the chilly wind blowing a gale off the sea and found the odd cylindrical Priory Doocot which looked more like a windmill than a place to keep pigeons for the table.

Drop Cap hen we came back to the Honeypot (our B & B, which is also a tearoom) for morning tea, then gathered up coats and maps and drove off to St. Andrews.

St Andrews Cathedral remains photograph

Ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, Scotland

Drop Cap hey still have their voucher system for parking as we discovered in 1992, so we found a spot and bought two hours worth of vouchers before going off to look at the Cathedral ruins. This building, which was supposed to hold the relics of St. Andrew the Apostle was not a lucky place. The first one was blown down in a gale before it was even finished, while the second one burned down. Was God trying to tell them something?
After John Knox and the Reformation were finished with it, it was abandoned to the elements with only the towers remaining.

Drop Cap e had burgers in a kebab house for lunch then moved the car to a free parking place near the Castle.

St. Andrews Castle photograph

Climbing St. Andrews Castle Ruins, Scotland

St. Andrews Ruins photograph

Ruins of the Castle and Cathedral, St. Andrews

Drop Cap e went into the Visitor Centre, which was great, with a good historical lead in to the ruins. As I noted last time, there does not appear to be much left, but you can spend quite a long time looking. A high school girl on a school excursion fell in the ruins and dislocated her knee and they had to get an ambulance. The Historic Scotland girl there was very good and a lot of fun, allowing Geoff to wield a claymore while we held on to his purse strings by grim force.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Tuesday 24th May, 2005

Arbroath Abbey photograph

Arbroath Abbey Ruins, Scotland

Drop Cap oday was great. A warm sunny day, in which we were able to bask, at times.

Drop Cap e headed out through St. Andrews, over the Tay Bridge to Dundee and then crawled through massive roadworks to Arbroath. This was a super place: we found a parking place near the ruins of Arbroath Abbey. The abbey in its heyday was absolutely enormous, not much is left (according to the Historic Scotland guy who gave us a private tour of the site "the Scots were very iconoclastic"). Thank you once again, John Knox.

Arbroath Abbey photograph

Nave and Cemetery, Arbroath Abbey

Drop Cap here was a very good display about the famous "Declaration of Arbroath" which was a diplomatic (?) appeal to the pope to be more supportive of the Scots' struggle against the English. This included a veiled intimation that if he did not (support them) he would not get Scots for his Crusade, and because they would be too busy fighting the Scots, he wouldn't get the English either. Very diplomatic!

Drop Cap he people at the abbey were great - one of the other gentlemen lent me the lists of cemetery records because apparently all Arbroathians were buried there. I looked up the Christies, Anne's father's family but there were too many and I did not know any details of names etc. But he gave them to me with a pen and paper to take notes. He also read us some of the Declaration, in Latin, and translated it. He was really great, he even let Mac park in the abbey's private car park.

Drop Cap ne thing I found fascinating. The Celtic name for Arbroath was Aberbrothock and I remembered an old poem I learned at school about the Holy Abbot of Aberbrothock who placed a bell on a dangerous rock to warn sailors.
This is known as Bell Rock to this day and it was the rock that Stevenson built a lighthouse on with the men up to their waists in water. It was one of the wonders of the industrial age which we saw on TV last year.

Pictavia photograph

Pictavia Centre, Brechin, Scotland

Drop Cap fter lunch in Arbroath we drove on to Brechin. Here we discovered not only the Caledonian Railway, which used to be BR but is now run by the usual enthusiasts, but also Pictavia.

This is a venture somewhat similar to Celtica in Wales. Its main theme was the significance of the carved stones left behind by the Picts, who really seem to be much the same as Celts, as well. Their society and culture seemed very much the same. Anyway it was very interesting.

Drop Cap e had dinner at the Golf Hotel, which is practically next door to the Honeypot, a pub established in 1763! Before Captain Cook discovered Botany Bay. It is quite incredible! The meal was OK.

Drop Cap omorrow we head north to Huntly, and hope our papers have come.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Orange left arrow Back to Previous Page Forward to Next Green right arrow