Dates of visit:
October 2, 2003 -
October 31, 2003

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Castles & Abbeys
 Scottish Highlands
 Malt Whisky Trail
 Loch Ness
 Pub Foods
 Manor Houses
 History & Culture
 Lochs & Loughs
 Very Expensive

[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Scotland 2003 - page 2] [ Ireland 2003]
*** Quick Index - Page 1***
Edinburgh Castle | St Abbs Head | Kelso Abbey | Floors Castle | Jedburgh Abbey |
| Dryburgh Abbey | Melrose Abbey | Abbotsford House | Traquair House |
| New Lanark | Culzean Castle | Falkirk Wheel | Wallace Monument |
*** Go to page 2***
We always delight in visiting European countries. Their history and culture is so much different from The United States that any traveler (us) with an open and inquisitive mind comes back with a broader understanding of just how much similarilty there is between us. This trip was no exception - the people were (on average) friendly, helpful and welcoming; the historic sites were educational, thought provoking and fun to visit; the food and drink was exceptional; and the entire trip was very expensive (due to poor exchange rates) and the fact that England / Scotland / Ireland are just plain expensive to visit (VAT was 17%).

Still, this 4-week odyssey was rewarding in that we came back with many memories, many photographic images and videos as well as a profound appreciation of just how much foreign travel can add to one's broader experience.

There is much to tell but the best way we can impress upon you (as a visitor) is to visually present some of the key highlights of our visitation. These few images are representative (our opinion) of the best that Scotland / Ireland have to offer.

Enjoy this visual tour.

Scotland - A brief visual introduction (click on image for larger view)
Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle ... an assemblage of buildings dating from the 12th to the 20th century. A royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. After the Union of Parliament in 1707, the Scottish regalia was walled in the Palace. The Stone of Destiny is housed here. This castle is the national symbol of Scotland.
St Abbs HeadSt Abbs Head ... these jagged cliffs rise 300 feet from the North Sea, offering a spectacular view of thousands of seabirds wheeling and diving below. During the May to June breeding season, this nature preserve becomes a home for more than 50,000 cliff-nesting sea birds, including fulmars, guileemots and puffins.
Kelso AbbeyKelso Abbey ... one of the "Four Border Abbeys", Kelso was founded in the 12th century by David I and was the oldest and the wealthiest. It suffered from wars with England and was severely damaged in 1545. Situated in the middle of Kelso Town, it is the focus and main attraction of the region and its ruins are well preserved.
Floors CastleFloors Castle ... situated on the fringe of Kelso Town and on the River Tweed, it is the home of the Duke of Roxburghe. Designed by William Adam in 1721, it was enlarged and embellished by the Edinburgh architect William Playfair, from 1837-1847. This castle houses an outstanding collection of fine art and Brussels and Gobelins tapestries.
Jedburgh AbbeyJedburgh Abbey ... is one of the great quartet of 12th-century Border Abbeys, along with Kelso, Dryburgh and Melrose. This Abbey church has many interesting architectural features including a rose window. Situated on a prominent rise in the town of Jedburgh it is another remarkable ruin worth visiting.
Dryburgh AbbeyDryburgh Abbey ... also set on the bend of the River Tweed, Dryburgh is considered the most evocative monastic ruin in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott is buried here in the North Transcept of the Church. The Cloister and Chapter House are extremely well preserved. A spiral staircase leads to the top for a dramatic view of the Sacristy.
Melrose AbbeyMelrose Abbey ... the rose-pink ruins of this, one of the most beautiful of the Border Abbeys, bear testimony to the devastation of successive English invasions. Built in 1136 for Cisterian monks it was dealt a swift death in 1545 by Henry VIII. The remains are rich in decorations including a pig playing the pipes. Robert the Bruce's heart is buried here.
Abbotsford HouseAbbotsford House ... few homes bear the stamp of their creator so intimately as Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott for the final 20 years of his life. It is named in memory of the monks of Melrose Abbey who used to cross the River Tweed nearby. It contains over 9,000 rare books and his collection of historic relics.
Traquair HouseTraquair House ... is Scotland's oldest continuously inhabited house. It has deep roots in Scottish religious and political history stretching back over 900 years. It was a stronghold of the Catholic Stuarts. Mary, Queen of Scots, among the many monarchs, stayed here. Among the relics housed here are Jacobite artifacts.
New LanarkNew Lanark ... situated by the beautiful falls of the River Clyde, with three separate waterfalls, the village of New Lanark was founded in 1785 by the industrial entrepreneur David Dale and his successor, philanthropist Robert Owen. Largest producer of cotton in Britain by 1800. It is a window on the working life in the early 19th century.
Culzean CastleCulzean Castle ... standing on a cliff's edge, the 16th century keep of Culzean, home of the Earls of Cassillis, was remodeled between 1777 and 1792 by the neo-classical architect Robert Adam. Restored in the 1970s, it is now a major showcase of Adam's later style of work. Gen. Eisenhower was granted an apartment here during his lifetime.
Falkirk WheelFalkirk Wheel ... the world's first and only rotating boatlift, joining the two lowland canals of Forth & Clyde with the upper Union canal. Enclosing a boat in a 'gondola', the lift rotates 180 degress in 4.5 minutes. The lift is 115 feet in height; capacity is 600 tons; and the power used is equal to 8 toasters. Visitors nay ride "up" and "down".
Wallace MonumentWallace Monument ... built in the late 1890s to honor the legendary warrior William Wallace (of "Braveheart" movie fame). Situated on a high rise, one can climb the nearly 250 spiral steps to the top for a dramatic view of the town of Stirling and Stirling Castle. A statue of Mel Gibson (actor) is at base.
Text extracted from site guide books or The Dorling Kindersley Travel Guides.
[ Home ] [ Travel Page ] [ Scotland 2003 - page 2] [ Ireland 2003]