We’ve covered a few, from the latest World Heritage Site, with three centuries of Scottish engineering; to a Palace dating back to James I; and further back to an ancient abbey. it’s been fun.
There’s been plenty wildlife along the way, with red kites in both Dumfriesshire and Stirlingshire; a pair of puffins on the wing and a puffling striving to join the them before they head out to sea till next May; deer and frogs; and the glorious sight, the full kaa kaa kaa of a juvenile golden eagle flitting between the tops of old Scots pines in the Tay forest.
We had one Balfour the other day, Scott’s version, down at Crichope, and now Stevenson’s hero, young Davie of that ilk, at the Hawes Inn. Time to read Kidnapped once again, perhaps.
There’s a fine old palace at Linlithgow, and for reasons unknown to me I’d never been before. It is terrific, with a Young Explorer quiz that has you counting as you catch your breath up the towers, and squinting for horns and thistles, and being Lithgae, the Rose. A grand place.
The palace dates back nigh on 600 years, to James 1, though the Royal lineage was not unfamiliar with the site, David 1 having made a home there 300 years previously. Mary Queen of Scots took her first breath within those walls. Today the local guides tell the tales in period dress, which must be a better summer job for the schoolchildren of the town than tattie picking or shelf stacking.
From that eagle above Loch Tummel, being so swankie-o we stopped again along the road. It was the choice of The Urchins, opting for another woodland walk rather than back down the road in time for swimming club. So where the soldier leapt and the water frothed, we found moss, and more trees. There were red squirrels around, but they kept well out the way.
And then the abbey, on old Inchcolm. We were greeted by a cacophony, the constant calling of the gulls and the fulmars, the terns too. Up on the hill they auditioned for Mr Hitchcock, protective of their fluffy and flightless offspring.
It’s that old chap David 1 again, for his 12th century priory was granted abbey status in 1235, and given nigh on 800 years of sodden estuary air what remains today is superbly preserved. Mind you presence on the isle goes much further back, to the Dark Ages. Girl Urchin sought the heights of the bell tower, several times. This was supposed to be a restful-ish day. But it was another good one.
A tunnel took us to the war defences, and back to Napoleon, though conflict was recorded in the Middle Ages, as marauding English ships plundered. But it is the birds’ territory now. The tunnel though was silent, the only respite on the isle. The Maid of the Forth took us there, by the bridges and the seals.
Oh where next, and what to see? It’s really just a quest to update the favourites on the ice cream trail. And there’s a bit more work needed yet. Makka Pakka’s been on the trail too.