Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Slalom Paddling at Grandtully, Perthshire

This evening, I am posting information on the spectacular slalom paddle site at rapids on the River Tay at Grandtully in Perthshire, central Scotland.

Location is five miles N.E. of Aberfeldy.

At this section the river is about 30 metres wide and can produce some very challenging conditions.

The course is operated by the Scottish Canoe Association.

Whitewater Slalom Paddling at Grandtully

This stretch of water is popular with numerous outdoor activity companies which operate in the area and who provide rafting and river adventure trips.

Facilities at Grandtully include riverside pub, shops and accommodation.

Beauly, Inverness-shire, Scotland

This evening, I am posting information on the town of Beauly in the Highlands of Scotland which is located about 30 minutes west of Inverness.

Interestingly, Beauly’s history has French influences, viz:

  • The name is a corruption of the French beau lieu or ‘fine place’ in English.
  • The now ruined priory, around which the town evolved, was originally known in Gaelic as Manachainn ‘ic Shimidh with Mac Shimidh being the patronymic of the Frasers of Lovat, a clan strong in this area today. The Gaelic name was replaced by the French.
  • Beauly Priory was founded c.1230 by monks of the Valliscaulin Order (reformed Benedictines) from Burgundy in France. Location was where the River Beauly enters the Beauly Firth (estuary). The Priory lasted for over 300 years until the Scottish Reformation in 1560. Only the roofless ruins of the priory church remain today. The church ruins are open for visitors.  Inside the ruins can be seen monuments to deceased Mackenzies dating back to the 15th century.

Beauly Priory

Lovat Scouts Monument, Beauly

Lovat Arms Hotel, Beauly

Today, Beauly remains a very pleasant and prosperous town with a wide main street along which can be found hotels, eateries, shops and banks.

Modern architecture at Kidston Place, Gorbals

This morning I collected guest from central Glasgow and embarked on an ancestry themed tour of the Gorbals region with emphasis on Jewish ancestry in the early part of the 20th century in the Gorbals and Hutchesontown region.

The morning was characterised by persistent rain.

Although now transformed, the Gorbals region was a socially deprived area which attracted large numbers of penniless immigrants and refugees.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Gorbals was home to a sizeable Jewish community with synagogues and supporting infrastructure. However, due to a combination of self-help and education the Jewish community progressively moved away, mainly to Glasgow Southside. There is no longer a Jewish community in the Gorbals region.

The Gorbals/Hutchesontown district was transformed in the second half of the 20th century with residents benefiting from new housing stock and enhanced  environment. However, the rebuilding entailed removal of many of the old streets which presented a challenge to us as most of our target, Thistle Street no longer exists. Our researches were aided by a 1912 street map.

Thistle Street, Gorbals, c.1912.

Tower block, Gorbals, Glasgow

We spent time driving around the Gorbals/Hutchesontown region with stops at the Southern Necropolis (burial ground),  Rose Garden (burial ground) and Gorbals Street. The latter stop proved very instructive as we saw the last remaining tenement from the ‘old’ Gorbals and by pure chance encountered a local gentleman with a long memory of the region dating back to the time of the Jewish community. We also encountered a plaque and image of the famous Scottish-American detective, Allan Pinkerton who was born in Muirhead Street in 1819 (died in U.S 1884.) Roy, David and Gary Pinkerton are descendants of Allan Pinkerton still residing in Scotland.

Southern Necropolis, Gorbals.

Rose Garden Burial Ground at Gorbals.

Chance meeting with local at Cleland Street Underpass.

Allan Pinkerton with Abraham Lincoln at Cleland Street Underpass

‘Old’ Gorbals Tenement

Next, we moved on to Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Necropolis burial ground). At latter we visited the Jewish section.

Jewish section at Glasgow Necropolis.

Inside Glasgow Cathedral

Finally, we drove around the Glasgow waterfront where, in days past, passenger liners plied their trade.

At end of tour guest was deposited at Glasgow Central Station for return trip to Edinburgh.