Wednesday, 4 June 2014

SCOTLAND 4 - Along the Firth of Forth

The village of Gullane is a well known resort and golfing centre to the east of Edinburgh
The roofless ruin of the 12th century church of St Andrew which stands alongside the main street retains a little Norman work.   It is said that James V1 dismissed the last vicar for smoking! 

A little further along the coast the fishing village of North Berwick gives fine view of the famous 350 ft high Bass Rock out in the firth estuary.

The ruined 12th century pre-reformation church of St Andrew stands near the harbour.  It was here in 1590 that witches of both sexes gathered 
 to conspire with the devil’  by means of witchcraft, to cause storms in the Firth of Forth,  the object being to drown James V1 as he returned from Denmark.  The ‘devil’ appears to have been Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell.   They were of course unsuccessful and the witches were put on trial.


The Forth Bridge

On the other side of the Forth is the lovely coast of the former Kingdom of Fife where pretty fishing villages are abundant, particularly around the area known as the East Neuk.

A very fine statue is to be seen above the doorway of a small cottage in Main Street, Lower Fargo.   An inscription reads :

‘ In memory of Alexander Selkirk, mariner, the original Robinson Crusoe,
who lived on the island of Juan Fernandez in complete solitude
for four years & four months.
He died in 1723, Lt. Of HMS Weymouth, aged 47 years.’

Selkirk was born in the cottage in 1676.   In 1694 he was employed as sailing master on board ship bound for the south seas.  Due to dissension between the Captain and crew and a feeling that the boat was not seaworthy, Selkirk asked to be put ashore and was marooned with just his basic belongings.

His story inspired Daniel Defoe to write his celebrated book, Robinson Crusoe.


The base of the church tower at Pittenweem was formerly the town prison.

An old house in Anstruther on the East Neuk of Fife in Scotland has an outside wall covered in sea shells which gives a striking effect.

The picturesque fishing village of Crail is the oldest town on the East Neuk

The House of the Binns, known as The Binns, near Linlithgow to the west of Edinburgh is an historic house  and seat of the Dalyell family. It dates from the early 17th Century, and is currently in the care of the National Trust for Scotland


In the early 19th century, Sir James Dalyell was the incumbent of The Binns.   After a convivial dinner at the mansion in 1826, one of Sir James’ friends suggested a wager – who could come up with the most fruitless way of spending £100, quite a sum of money in those days.  Sir James won the wager by suggesting the building of a tower on a nearby hill to overlook his neighbours land.   The Hope family, newly rich from banking, paid the £100, of which Sir James spent only £29 on building the tower which still dominates the area.
In 1930, the 4th Baronet built a windmill on the top of the tower to generate electricity and it was said that as the tower was no longer useless, the original wager was invalid.
A symbol added to the tower is said to depict Sir James being chased round Hell by Lord Duddington trying to get his money back from the wager.


Falkirk is a former industrial town midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal
with the Union Canal making a fairly speedy connection between the two.  

The lift opened in 2002, reconnecting the two canals for the first time
since the 1930s in a unique fashion. 
The wheel raises boats by 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel, and boats must pass through two more locks to get between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world.

The two canals served by the wheel were previously connected by a series of 11 locks and with a 35 metres (115 ft) difference in height, it required 3,500 tonnes  of water per run and took most of a day to pass through the flight.
By the 1930s the lochs had fallen into disuse, and were dismantled in 1933. The Forth and Clyde canal closed at the end of 1962, and the by the mid-1970s the Union canal was filled in.


Arria, the so called Angel of the Nauld as a tongue in cheek reference to the Angel of the North, can be seen overlooking the north bound carriageway 0f the M80 north of Auchenkilns. This steel sculpture was created by artist Andy Scott and has been galvanised to protect it.
It kaes the form of a female figure with two large swooping arcs from the upraised palms of her hands to the hem of her dress. Arcs comes from the Gaelic n ame for Cumbernauld 'comor nan allt' which means the meeting of the waters.

The work of art was comissioned as part of the Cumbernauld Positive Image Project by Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd (CCCL) , a company set up by North Lanarkshire Council to promote the new town. The Cumbernauld Positive Image Project aims to "create a distinctive image of Cumbernauld; increase residents’ pride in their town; raise awareness across Scotland of Cumbernauld’s attractiveness as a destination to live, work and play; create a sense of place and provide a positive statement about the town.


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