historic sites

The Pass of Killiecrankie, Perthshire, Scotland

Some of Scotland’s most beautiful places are integrally linked with strife and bloodshed. Glencoe, arguably the most beautiful glen in Scotland, immediately comes to mind where a deplorable massacre occurred after the Jacobite uprising of 1689. That same uprising began at the Battle of Killiecrankie, where John Graham, 1st Viscount of Dundee and leader of the uprising, aka “Bluidy Clavers,” aka “Bonnie Dundee,” was shot and killed. Though the Jacobites won the day they were later defeated at the Battle of Dunkeld, another gorgeous place and one of my favorite small towns in Scotland. Perthshire has borne witness to much history, and the region has long been renown for its great natural beauty… Read more...

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Dryburgh Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Ruined abbeys are some of the most austere and commanding places you’ll find in Scotland. Mere shades of their former glory, these structures are magnificent even in repose. Appreciating their grandeur does not require a religious heart. On the contrary, for those who ascribe to no particular faith, like myself, wandering among the ruins provides a spiritual uplift. These places held power long before Christianity swept across the British Isles in the first millennium AD, for such is the nature of conversion that even the places of worship are repurposed for a new religion. Something of the old gods remains, just beyond perception, thrumming a melody we might one day hear again. Read more...

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The Wallace Statue on Bemersyde Hill

The Scottish Borders are rife with so many antiquarian treasures that even H.P. Lovecraft would struggle to believe it’s true. But the heart of the Borders is no fiction, for among the bends of the River Tweed you’ll find ruined abbeys, stout tower houses, a wondrous manse, and a singular view. You may also find a peculiar monument tucked away in a strip of woods along Bemersyde Hill: The William Wallace Statue.

The era of Romanticism led to many interesting works across Scotland, from the follies atop Calton Hill in Edinburgh to Ossian’s Hall in the Hermitage outside Dunkeld, to this very statue overlooking the Tweed and the Eildon Hills. Read more...

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Barsallach Point, The Machars, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

Dumfries & Galloway occupies a huge portion of southwest Scotland. From the Rinns of Galloway in the west to the southern uplands almost as far as Hawick in the east, and from the Solway Coast north to elevated Sanquhar and the border with Ayrshire, this area escapes the notice of many visitors. It lies tucked to the south of Edinburgh and Glasgow and to the west of the English border, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that most people arrive from Northern Ireland on the ferry to Stranraer.

As off the beaten path as Dumfries & Galloway is, it boasts one peninsula in particular that sees even fewer hardy souls: The Machars. Read more...

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St. Andrews Cathedral, St. Andrews, The Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

St. Andrews is one of Scotland’s most well-known destinations. The town has long been a bastion of education — the University of St. Andrews is the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world — and it has become a kind of Mecca for golf enthusiasts, for the game was born here in the 15th century. On the eastern coast of the Kingdom of Fife and near to Edinburgh, it’s only a short train journey or drive to these hallowed grounds. But this post is neither about the university nor golf, it’s about the other compelling reason to visit St. Andrews: St. Andrews Cathedral.

Wedged against the sea… Read more...

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