North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

This morning we visited sites in East Lothian and Midlothian near Edinburgh, Scotland.

First we departed our lodgings in Edinburgh about 9.15 am and then  drove east to North Berwick in East Lothian, arriving at 10.00 am. North Berwick is a pleasant seaside town with sandy beaches, a Championship links golf club and home to the Scottish Seabird Centre. The latter was our focus of attention. At the Centre is a range of information on seabirds with web cams focused on specific colonies. We spent an hour here.

Beach at North Berwick, Scotland.

Beach at North Berwick, Scotland.

Seabird chicks via web cam at Scottish Seabird Centre

Inside the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick.

Harbour at North Berwick, Scotland.,

Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick, Scotland.

Next we drove S.W. to Midlothian and the famous Rosslyn Chapel which dates from the 15th century.

Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, Scotland.

The correct style of name of Rosslyn Chapel is Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew. This is a living church within the Anglican communion.

In recent years visitor numbers have grown exponentially due to the Chapel featuring in Dan Brown’s mystical thriller The Da Vinci Code. However, with a history dating back to the 15th century, the Chapel has much to offer the visitor. A summary of key facts and information is provided below.

  • Founded by Sir William Sinclair, third and last St. Clair Prince of Orkney in 1446. The Chapel remains under control of Sir William’s descendants today.
  • Located in Roslin, a village about 7 miles south of Edinburgh.
  • Took 40 years to build using some of the top stone masons in Europe.
  • Shortly after Sir William’s death in 1484 work on the Chapel ceased. It is believed that what exists today was intended as the choir of a much larger collegiate complex.
  • Built for private, Catholic worship which ceased in 1592 due to the Protestant Reformation.
  • An unused ruin from 1592 to 1862 when worship (Episcopalian) re-commenced.
  • In 1954 severe damage was caused by application of incorrect treatment to the interior with aim of remedying water saturation which was threatening the building.
  • In 1997 a free-standing steel ‘umbrella’ structure was erected to facilitate natural drying out. This proved successful and the structure has since been removed.
  • Today, visitors are attracted by a display of some of the best stone carvings in Europe featuring highly decorated:
    • plant motifs;
    • symbols relevant to Old Testament texts;
    • Knights Templar;
    • Freemasonry;
    • Apprentice Pillar;
    • Scandinavia mythology; and
    • pagan themes.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the Chapel attracted famous literary and artistic luminaries including Sir Walter Scott, J.M.W. Turner, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Alexander Nasmyth.

Our visit was timed to coincide with the 12.15 am talk by an expert guide.

Also in attendance today was a reenactment Archer from the 16th century time period.

Reenactment Archer from 16th century.

After refreshments at the Chapel we returned to Edinburgh early afternoon where guests were deposited at the National Museum of Scotland thus concluding a successful eight day, custom tour of Scotland.

Be Sociable, Share!