Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Downed tree at Rouken Glen

This morning, I was scheduled to collect a couple off a cruise ship at Greenock (near Glasgow), Scotland and provide same with a day trip to  Stirling Castle, a top visitor attraction, about thirty miles to the N.E.

Unfortunately, the scheduled trip was interrupted by Storm Ali which came from the West with rain and winds of between 65-75 miles mph. The storm was flagged in advance thus triggering cancellation of the Stirling trip, a decision which proved prescient as Stirling Castle was closed (due to the storm) plus a serious risk of interruption to road routes.

The storm proved so severe that the guests’ cruise ship (2948 tonnes) was forced from its mooring on the River Clyde and had to be rescued by tugs.

With the Stirling trip cancelled I took off on foot to nearby Rouken Glen Park where I was able to photograph the extensive damage to trees caused by the high winds.

Video clip of storm

Video clip of storm


Severed branch at Rouken Glen.

Severed branch at Rouken Glen.

Branch across walkway.

Severed branch at Rouken Glen

Mangerton Tower, Newcastleton.

This evening, I am posting information on Mangerton Tower near Newcastleton in the Scottish Borders region.

Mangerton was a Tower House and important power base for the Armstrongs at a time when the entire Borders region was lawless. There is a record of one Alexander Armstrong at the Tower in 1378 followed by Armstrong family ownership through to 1629 when the property was transferred to Francis Scott, Thereafter, the Tower appears to have gone into decline and now just comprises the base and foundations. There is an armorial, stone dated 15(8?)3 with initials S.A. and E.F.

This plaque commemorates the rebuilding of the tower in 15(8?)3. It depicts a bearskin and the initials SA, the eighth Laird and EF, his wife Elizabeth Forster

To get a flavour for the structure in its heyday refer this report on Gilnockie Tower.

The Tower is located in low-lying pastureland and can be accessed via a rough farm track which follows a defunct railway line.

Visitors at Mangerton Tower

An important relic for members of Clan Armstrong and others interested in the history of the Scottish Borders.

Entrance to McCaig’s Tower.

This evening, I am posting information on McCaig’s Tower, an unfinished monument which sits atop Battery Hill and overlooks Oban Harbour in Argyll, West of Scotland.

Summary information as follows:

  • Financed and designed by John Stuart McCaig, a wealthy, late 19th century banker.
  • Modelled on Colosseum in Rome.
  • Circumference 200 metres which includes 94 arches.
  • Purpose was twofold: Provide work for under employed stonemasons and create a memorial to McCaig and his family.
  • Constructed of granite.
  • Building work undertaken 1897-1902 but halted upon death of McCaig.

The Tower offers an excellent platform for views over Oban Harbour. The site can be accessed on foot or by motor vehicle from central Oban.

Entrance to harbour viewpoint from interior of Tower

View of Oban Harbour from McCaig’s Tower.

Interior view of of McCaig’s Tower.

McCaig’s Tower sitting atop Oban waterfront.