Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Eye Stream at Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds, England

This evening, I am posting information on the scenic and popular village of Lower Slaughter in the English Cotswolds.

There has been a settlement here for about 1000 years. The name derives from the Old English for ‘muddy place’.

Character is due to the quaint limestone cottages lining the banks of the gentle flowing River Eye which is, effectively, the village’s main street.

Tucked away is a former water powered mill which is now a craft-centric visitor attraction. The water wheel still turns, albeit for cosmetic effect.

To complete the classic English ambience, the 13th century St. Mary’s Church with its  characteristic spire stands close to the stream and is normally open to the public.

Lower Slaughter is near to Bourton-on-the-Water and other popular Cotswold visitor sites, about ninety miles N.W. of London.

Quaint Cottage

Former water powered mill, now craft and visitor centre

Inside St Mary’s Parish Church

St Mary’s Parish Church

Cottage at Lower Slaughter

Iona Abbey

This evening, I am focusing on the world-famous, Iona Abbey which is located on the small island of Iona which lies off the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland.

Today, this is principally a spiritual retreat centred on the Iona Community which has a line of descent from the arrival of St. Columba in AD 563. Columba founded an early Irish-Christian Monastery from where Christianity was introduced into Northern Britain.

Illustration of sea travel at time of Columba

A summary chronology post Columba is as follows:

  •  The Monastery and mission stimulated learning with chief manifestation being the Book of Kells which now resides at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. This probably dates from the 8th century and was taken to Kells in Ireland about that time for protection in face of Viking raids.
  • Large, free-standing stone crosses were constructed during the 8th century of which five survive.
  • In the 12th and 13th centuries a Benedictine Abbey was founded which brought Iona into the religious mainstream.
  • Most of the buildings survived the 1560 Reformation relatively undamaged but subsequently fell into disrepair.
  • The Abbey and Nunnery buildings were repaired and consolidated in the 19th century and the Abbey was re-roofed by 1910.
  • In 1938 Dr. George MacLeod founded the Iona Community as a Church of Scotland brotherhood which acted as a catalyst for further restoration in a programme which was completed in 1965.
  • Most of the island of Iona is now owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

Carved stone from 7th century, AD.

High Crosses


Cloisters at Iona Abbey

Abbey Interior

Landscape view of Abbey

Iona is accessed via ferry from Oban on the Scottish mainland to Craignure on Mull followed by an approximately one hour drive to Fionnphort where a ferry transfers visitors to Iona. Visitors are not permitted to take cars to Iona.The Abbey is accessed on foot. Entry fee applies.

Waterfall in full flow at Rouken Glen.

In the 24 hours up to midday today, Glasgow experienced a very high level of rainfall which resulted in the gushing waterfalls and flooding evidenced at Rouken Glen Park.

Glasgow has a relatively high rainfall of forty-two inches p.a. but even that is modest by precipitation levels in the Western Highlands which reach three times that level and more.

Rouken Glen is a public park which is highly rated and popular with locals with evidence of human activity dating back about five thousand years. However, many of the trees and vegetation growing there are not native whilst the burn (stream) providing the waterfalls does not follow its natural course owing to engineering works in the 18th and 19th centuries in order to provide power sources for mills and similar activities. The ancestors of the grey squirrel shown below were originally imported from North America in the 19th century.

For the first time ever I had to change my walking route to avoid seriously flooded paths.

At end of the walk I was drenched to the skin but found the experience invigorating.

Grey Squirrel

Woodland Scene at Rouken Glen

Waterfall at Rouken Glen

Waterfall at Rouken Glen

Waterfall in full flow at Rouken Glen

Flooded woodland at Rouken Glen.