Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

This evening, I am posting information on the professional tapestry weaving which can be viewed in the Nether Bailey of Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s top visitor attractions.

This project was commissioned by heritage organisation, Historic Scotland for the purpose of decorating, in traditional renaissance style, the recently restored Royal Apartments in the Castle.

The weavers are replicating the seven Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries in The Cloisters, the medieval branch of New York’s  Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tapestries form a set depicting the hunt of the fabled unicorn which were created in the Netherlands between 1495 and 1505. During the late medieval period the unicorn had acquired status as a symbols of Christianity and the Scottish Crown. King James V of Scotland ( 1512-1542 ) owned two tapestries featuring unicorns.

The tapestries are woven using, as far as possible, traditional techniques and materials under management of West Deans College in West Sussex, England.

Image below shows new tapestries on display in the Royal Apartments of Stirling Castle .

Palace

 

These video clips show tapestry weaving in process at Stirling Castle.

 

Antonine Wall

Today, I provided a small group tour of highlights of the Antonine Wall in Scotland, a World Heritage Site.

The Antonine Wall was constructed between AD 139 and 142 under Emperor, Titus Aurelius Antoninus. It extends for a length of about 37 miles on a line roughly between modern -day Edinburgh and Glasgow in the south of Scotland.The Wall represented the Northern Frontier of the Roman Empire until Antoninus’s death in AD 161 whereafter Hadrian’s Wall was reinstated as the Northern Frontier, some 100 miles south.The Wall was constructed on a 14 ft wide stone base on which sat a turf built rampart, possibly ten feet high.

The tour was undertaken in a East to West direction, commencing Falkirk and visiting:

  • The Wall near Callendar House in Falkirk and then a visit to the Roman themed museum at  Callendar House which itself of interest, being constructed in the French Renaissance Chateau style in the 19th century.
  • Bonnybridge and the excellent section of the Wall at Rough Castle. Here can be viewed a Roman ‘minefield’ which the Romans called ‘Lilia’ due to similarity with lily pads.
  • Next, to the Wardpark industrial area of Cumbernauld which provides access to another section on the Wall. Close by is the film studio where the Outlander series is being filmed.
  • Cumbernauld Airport, where we had lunch with views of the Wall.
  • Twechar, from we hiked about half a mile to visit the Barr Hill Fort, the highest elevation on the Wall. Here can be viewed reasonably well preserved remains including the Bathhouse.
  • Bearsden, where we visited the Roman Baths connected with the former fort on the site. This site was only discovered in the 1970s.
  • Foundations of the Wall in New Kilpatrick Cemetery, Bearsden.

Finally, guests were taken to overnight lodgings in Renfrew Street, Glasgow.

 

Antonine Wall at Falkirk, Scotland

Antonine Wall

Callendar House, Falkirk, Scotland

Callendar House

Antonine Wall looking east at Rough Castle, Bonnybridge, Scotland.

Antonine Wall

Lilia at Rough Castle, Antonine Wall, Bonnybridge, Scotland

Antonine Wall

 

View North from Antonine Wall at Cumbernauld, Scotland

Antonine Wall

Antononine Wall at Cumbernauld, Scotland

Antonine Wall

Roman Fort at Barr Hill, Twechar, Scotland

Barr Hill Roman Fort

Barr Hill Roman Fort at Twechar, Scotland

Barr Hill Roman Fort

Roman Baths at Barr Hill Roman Fort, Twechar, Scotland

Barr Hill Roman Fort

Roman Baths at Bearsden, Scotland.

Bearsden Roman Baths

Video clip of Bearsden Roman Baths

Foundations of Antonine Wall at New Kilpatrick Cemetery, Bearsden, Scotland

Antonine Wall

 

This evening, I am posting information on Nether Largie South chambered cairn, the only such chambered cairn in Kilmartin Glen’s prehistoric linear cemetery, West of Scotland.

Nether Largie may date back to around 3000 BC. It is a substantial structure, carefully designed with stone chambers to receive the bones of deceased persons over several generations. The other cairns consist of cists covered with stones.

The site was excavated in 1864 under Canon Greenwell who found evidence of different burial practices.A decorated, round bottom pot found and a Beaker pot found in the cairn can be viewed in the Kilmartin House Museum, a  mile or so north of the site.