Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Wardlaw Mausoleum

This evening, I am posting information on the Wardlaw Mausoleum near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

Summary facts and information:

  • Located at Kirkhill, about 8 miles west of Inverness and near to Beauly.
  • Built 1634 as burial place of Lord Lovats, Lovat Clan Chiefs.
  • Tower added 1722.
  • Has become a minor attraction due to connection with the ‘Outlander’ series.
  • Beneath the floor is a crypt containing Lovat coffins one of which may contain the headless skeleton of ‘Simon the Fox’, 11th Lord Lovat, who was executed in London in 1747 for fighting with the Jacobite army at Culloden in 1746, an act deemed treasonable. Scientific examination is underway to determine the identity of the headless skeleton.
  • The Mausoleum is in good condition, having benefited from a recent restoration project.

Coffins at Wardlaw Mausoleum. Blue tarpaulin covers coffin which may contain body of ‘Simon the Fox’.

Opening the crypt.

Blog Post June 16th 2017

Tour Group at Burns Cottage, Alloway

Today, we focused on two important sites in Ayrshire: Sites associated with poet, Robert Burns at Alloway and Culzean Castle.

Robert Burns Sites

Robert Burns has achieved global renown as Scotland’s national poet. He was born in the village of Alloway in 1759.During a short life span of just 37 years Burns rose from modest farming family stock in South Ayrshire to write and accumulate some 600 poems and songs including Auld Lang Syne which has become a universal song of parting and New Year welcome the world over. Burns’ literary achievements can be traced to encouragement of his father, William, at a time (late 18th century) when there were few opportunities for formal schooling. Burns achieved his literary skills through a mix of private tuition and self-learning. Burns’ early life was spent in Ayrshire towns and villages such as Alloway, Ayr, Kirkoswald, Irvine, Mauchline, Kilmarnock, Dalrymple, Tarbolton and Kilmarnock. He subsequently visited Edinburgh, the Borders, West of Scotland, the Highlands, Galloway and Dumfries. Burns died at Dumfries in 1796 and was buried there, at St. Michael’s Kirkyard.

We visited the key sites in Alloway, viz:

Burns Cottage, his birthplace which was built by his father, William in 1757.

Burns Cottage-Front.

Burns Cottage-Rear

Auld Kirk, a ruined church which was the setting for the enormously popular poem, Tam O’Shanter.  Burns’s father, William is buried in the church yard.

Auld Kirk, Alloway.

Burial place of William Burns.

Burns Monument

A Grecian style monument which dates from 1823. A good vantage point to view the nearby Brig O’Doon.

Burns Monument, Alloway

Brig O’ Doon. (Bridge over the River Doon).

This the original 15th century cobblestone bridge over the River Doon, which provided the setting for one of Burns’s most famous works. This is the bridge over which Tam o’ Shanter crossed on horseback, fleeing from the witches and warlocks on his tail who were unable to follow him across water.

Brig O’ Doon, Alloway.

Tam O’Shanter at Burns Cottage.

Culzean Castle

  • The castle stands atop cliffs looking out to sea over the Firth of Clyde on one side and historic gardens on the other.
  • Built in Scottish Gothic Revival style. David, 10th Earl Cassilis commissioned leading Scottish architect Robert Adam to build the impressive late 18th century mansion but bankrupted himself in the process.
  • Interior is a neo classical Georgian home.
  • Ranks as one of the finest examples of Enlightenment architecture in Europe.
  • Contains an apartment gifted to General Dwight Eisenhower in 1945 .

Culzean Castle and lush gardens.

Walled Garden at Culzean Castle

Sub-tropical plants at Culzean Castle

Gourock and Firth of Clyde from Lyle Road.

This morning, about half the tour group elected to join the motor tour with rest staying in Glasgow. This post covers the motor tour.

First, we drove west along the south bank of the River Clyde passing through the old industrial areas of Port Glasgow (with Timber Ponds and Newark Castle) then Greenock to Gourock where we stopped for scenic views of the Firth of Clyde from vantage point of Lyle Road.

Firth of Clyde from Gourock

Next, we joined the ferry from Gourock to Dunoon, across the Clyde. Journey took about twenty minutes.

Dunoon from Clyde Ferry

Argyll Street, Dunoon

On arrival at Dunoon we availed of lunch and then moved on:

  • North, alongside Loch Eck and through the Argyll Forest Park;
  • Continued north alongside Loch Fyne;
  • East to Rest and be Thankful;

Rest and be Thankful

  • South along Loch Lomond until we turned west on the A817 to Garelochhead where we passed a R.N. submarine base; and
  • South through Helensburgh and Cardross to Dumbarton and finally into Glasgow and back to our lodgings.

Weather commenced benign but deteriorated into heavy rain this afternoon.