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DAY 1

Collect hotel 0915 for walking tour of Old Town:

Visit Edinburgh’s Royal mile with catswhiskerstours.

We then drive to see the famous Forth Rail Bridge which was completed in 1890. Nearby is the sister Road Bridge which is much younger but currently suffering from corrosion problems.

After exploiting the many photo opportunities we enjoy a spot of lunch at the Hawes Inn which is a traditional type pub sitting under the arches of the rail bridge-so we are able to hear the trains trundling overhead!

Now relaxed and refreshed we drive back to Edinburgh and the famous Calton Hill skyline. However, en-route we stop to admire the Royal High School building which dates to 1825-29.

A study of the appropriateness of form to purpose demonstratwes the extent to which the choices on Calton Hill were made on architectural grounds all being individually subservient to the totality of the composite skyline which comprises:

Appreciate Calton Hill with catswhiskerstours

Drive on to Charlotte Square, which was designed by Robert Adam in 1791. This comprises individual terraced houses sublimated within monumental palace facades which had a strong influence on the later New Towns.

Then to the nearby Dome in George Street for some afternoon tea. This is a fascinating, former bank Head Office which was constructed in 1844 under architect David Rhind.A perfect setting to end the day.

This concludes our day in Edinburgh and we retire back to the hotel for the evening.

DAY 2

Collect 0930 then drive out of Edinburgh, across the Forth Road Bridge which affords good views of the nearby Rail Bridge as we pass over.

To Castle Campbell which sits in isolation on a narrow ridge overlooked by a crescent of the Ochills.The castle dates back to the 15th century and was under ownership of the Campbells of Argyll. Both John Knox and Mary, Queen of Scots visited the castle. The end of the castle as a residence came during the Civil War when it was attacked by General Monck in 1654. It is now a semi-ruin. Location affords outstanding views and superb photo opportunities.

Then we drive on to Perthshire and the country town of Crieff to the ruins of a Clearance Village set high upon a hill in a remote location. We try and empathise with the people who lived here prior to their enforced exit, possibly to other parts of Britain and North America in the early 1800s. We encounter plenty of sheep-and a pair of deer.

Back to Crieff for a light lunch at the famous Crieff Hydro, which proved most enjoyable.

On the way to Falkirk we stop and visit Ardoch Roman Fort.
This site is actually a candidate for categorisation as a World Heritage Site-in conjunction with other parts of the Roman Frontier in Britain and Germany.

Very close to Ardoch , but almost hidden away from the passing traveller, is a beautiful Pack Horse Bridge, which is interesting from both historic and architectural perspectives- and provides superb photo opportunities when the light is right.

On to the Falkirk Wheel, a magnificient piece of engineering which connects the Forth & Clyde (Glasgow) canal to Edinburgh’s Union Canal. The Wheel replaced a series of 11 locks which fell into disrepair.

Because of time constraints we were, unfortunately, unable to make our appointment with the owner of a nearby Grade A listed 1820 house.So, back to Glasgow and the hotel. However, we do drive past parts of the Antonine Wall which was built by the Romans around AD 140.

Visit unusual parts of Scotland with catswhiskerstours

DAY 3

Collect at 0930.

Commence with a walking tour of historic Glasgow, centering first on Glasgow’s historic links with the Tobacco industry and the Southern United States.

At no. 42 Miller Street is the last of the so-called Virginia tobacco merchants’ houses to survive in Glasgow’s Merchant City. We are unable to enter the property but take photos of the exterior.

Then, via Virginia Street, we move on to the Corinthian at 191 Ingram street. This was built by David Hamilton in 1842 on the site of the Virginia Mansion, and remodelled in in 1876 by James Burnett. The Corinthian is one of Glasgow’s most stunning buildings, both internally and externally. The building impresses to the extent that a reservation for dinner that evening is made at the restaurant there.

Visit Glasgow architecture with catswhiskerstours

Now we indulge in the work of the famous architect/designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

First we visit the Lighthouse. This is a former newspaper building it is now home to Scotland’s award winning Centre for Architecture and Design.

Then for some tea in the famous Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchiehall Street. These rooms were owned by Catherine Cranston who more or less invented the Glasgow tea room phenomenon. Uniquely, ladies’ rooms were offered where respectable women could go out to meet at a time when women without men in the urban scene were usually taken for servants or prostitutes. This was not a cafe but offered a range of provacies in the public world. We also visit the Billiard Room on the premises.

Next visit is the McLellan Galleries across the road to see the Glasgow Style Gallery but, unfortunately, the building is closed. So, we move on to the Glasgow School of Art at Renfrew Street. This is truly magnificient with the added dimension of the “buzz” of students. We spend considerable time here and avail of the photo opportunities.

Our next scheduled visit is the House for an Art Lover but, we are thwarted again as this is closed for a special occasion.

Visit Mackintosh properties with catswhiskerstours

Undaunted, we move to see the work of another famous architect, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson at Holmwood House, Cathcart.

Central in the design is the circular lantern over the staircase. Horizontality predominates and the wall which links house and stable lodge emphasises this. Many rooms are richly ornamented in wood, plaster and marble. Thanks to investigation by Historic Scotland, Thomson’s original rich decoration, based on themes from the classical world, is beginning to emerge. Much of the original stencilled decoration has been found, and visitors may follow the progress of continuing conservation work. The small kitchen garden is planted with a range of Victorian herbs, fruit and vegetables.

This is quite an awesome property, both architecturally and from a social history perspective. We indulge in the atmosphere and avail of photo opportunities.

After a some afternoon refreshment and a short visist to a local synagogue for information purposes, we try again to visit the 1820 house near Falkirk but, sadly, heavy traffic militates against meeting our re-scheduled appointment so we elect to return to the hotel. and fond farewells.

Overall, a varied tour covering a wide range of architecture,engineering and social history.

Catswhiskerstours specialises in tailored tours of Scotland.

Robert the Bruce

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A Short History

  • Born 1276, a Norman descended noble who had paid homage to Edward I.
  • Began to grow restive and together with Red John Comyn and others began to plot resistance to the English.
  • Plotters met at a church in 1306, the Greyfriars Kirk at Dumfries. A quarrel ensued and Bruce stabbed Comyn to death.
  • Murder in a church amounted to sacrilege and he was excommunicated. Also the murder triggered a blood feud with the Comyns and their allies. Bruce’s position was precarious.
  • However, on 27/3/1306 Bruce went to Scone (near Perth) and had himself crowned King. Visit historic Scone with catswhiskerstours
  • Edward sent an army to Scotland which defeated Bruce at Methven on June 20th. Bruce’s troops were scattered and he became an outlaw. Bruce’s allies were hung drawn and quartered.
  • Bruce went into hiding on Arran and Rathlin Island and the Hebrides.
  • Bruce returned in Spring 1307. A successful guerrilla campaign and battle victories followed.
  • In June 1307, Edward I (now sick) sets off for Scotland as head of a great army. However, he dies on 7/7/1307 at Burgh-on-Sands.
  • Edward II was weak and left the English garrisons in Scotland to fend for themselves.
  • During 1309 Bruce controlled most of Scotland north of the Forth and Clyde.
  • Was secretly recognised as King by the king of France.
  • In 1310 the Church in Scotland endorsed him.
  • In 1311 he invaded and devastated northern England.
  • Edward II marched against Bruce and on June 24th 1314 met Bruce at Bannockburn where Bruce was outnumbered three to one. However, Bruce had chosen the better ground and won the day.
  • Henceforth, the English made little attempt to keep a hold on Scotland.
  • English try to have new Pope confirm excommunication but this provokes strong reaction from the Scottish establishment. They meet in Arbroath in April 1320 and comprised the famous declaration to Bruce and to liberty.
  • The Pope agrees to annul the excommunication.
  • In 1327 Edward III becomes King of England.
  • A Treaty of Peace between England and Scotland was signed in May 1328 recognising Scotland as an independent country and Robert the Bruce as King. Bruce’s baby son David was married to Edward III’s little sister, Joan.
  • Bruce dies 1329 at age 53 at Cardross, some say of leprosy.

Visit historic Scotland with catswhiskerstours

Historic canal link between Glasgow and Edinburgh has been reopened to through water traffic after a gap of 50 years. Boats can now travel from close to Edinburgh Castle to just 10 mins walk from Glasgow’s Queen Street station.Visit the canal and the famous Falkirk Wheel with catswhiskerstours