St. Fillan’s Church-Aberdour, Scotland

Hey there! This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is hosted by Ann-Christine. The theme she has chosen is “surprise.” As I was thinking it over, this post about St. Fillans Church that I wrote a little over two years ago came to mind. Stepping over the threshold into that church was a true surprise indeed!

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to have such a strong reaction when I stepped through the beautiful wooden doors into the church. I have been in many old churches, but I gasped as I stepped inside. Its beauty, size, and the richness of its architecture were astonishing. It was like walking through a portal to another time. Except for a few minor, modern touches, one could almost hear the voices of the saints of old, raised in song, reverberating between those cold, stone walls.”


Original post:  January 2018

Hi, friends. Today I would like to take you guys to St. Fillan’s Church, a lovely parish church in Aberdour, Scotland. Aberdour is a picturesque, seaside village located about forty miles to the northwest of Edinburgh in the East Neuk of Fife.

St. Fillan's Church. in Aberdour, Scotland.
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Atholl Palace-A Suprise at Every Turn

Atholl Palace surrounded by trees, smaller houses, green grass, and snow-capped mountains.

Whether you’re traveling through Scotland on a dual carriageway (divided highway) or a single track road – yes, they really are only wide enough for a single car – you will discover that there is no shortage of beautiful, interesting, and unique surprises.

I snapped this photo the morning that Mr. C and I arrived in Scotland a few weeks ago. We were heading north on the A9 (on our way from Glasgow Airport to our rental near Inverness) when I suddenly spotted this beautiful castle on the right. Mr. C quickly rolled down his window, and I somehow managed to capture the shot from my side of the car, at some 70 mph – a testament to the quality of my camera!

After doing some sleuthing, I finally figured out that this is Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, a 19th-century hotel set against the gorgeous slopes of Ben Vrackie.

See? A surprise at every turn.

Ardross Farm Shop – Elie, Scotland

To piggy-back on my recent post about Elie, Scotland, I want to mention a terrific farm shop located about a mile outside of the village, right off of A917. It is called Ardross Farm Shop. It is so terrific, in fact, that Mr. C and I deliberately made the hour and ten-minute journey from Edinburgh to shop there three times!

Ardross Farm Shop building exterior.

When Mr. C and I travel, our normal routine is to eat the majority of lunches out, as we often spend our days driving and exploring. We prefer to cook breakfasts and dinners in, however. Having our own kitchen is just one of the many reasons we like to choose rental homes over hotels.

We enjoy dining at home when we travel for a few reasons:

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Elie, Scotland-A Picturesque Village in Fife, Scotland

I have been thinking back on a few of the Scottish villages that Mr. C and I only saw a peek of, but that someday deserve a second look. Elie is one of those places. I can’t help but feel that we somehow missed the boat on this one.

The village of Elie, Scotland.

Located on the Firth of Forth in the East Neuk of Fife, Elie is a popular and picturesque seaside village established in the 16th century. It became a Burgh of Barony in 1589 and, as such, was under the control of the Lairds of Ardross – landowners who held their estates directly from The Crown. The Lairds were in control of the town council and court, and therefore, the villagers were dependent upon these men in matters of trade. (Burghs were abolished in 1975.)

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Sailing Takes Me Away-A Morning Spent on the Firth of Forth

Hello again, my friends. Are you all having a nice weekend? I sure am. Just when my plaid heart thought it couldn’t physically handle another weekend of Virginia temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s, Mother Nature has finally thrown us a bone. It is GLORIOUS outside with early fall-like temps, lower humidity, and a gentle, cool breeze. It’s short-lived, though. Pity that the dreadful temperatures are set to return next week. Pity indeed.

In keeping with the aforementioned cool breeze, I’d like to invite you to come along with me today as we set sail on the brackish waters of the estuary that meets the North Sea – the Firth of Forth.

Four sailboats in the Firth of Forth.
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What the Kelp?! The Kelpies of Falkirk, Scotland

Hey gang! Welcome back. Today may I present to you The Kelpies of Falkirk, Scotland.

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Well, as I saw them, at least. Sadly, that would be as Mr. C and I whizzed past them on the M9 (I think). I wish I could tell you that we had scheduled time to visit The Helix to walk the trails or to take a paddle boat for a little spin on the lagoon. Or to capture some artsy-fartsy photos of these cool equine sculptures. Nope. Because for some reason, I thought Falkirk was located in the Highlands and not a mere 27 miles from Edinburgh! Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, I spotted these big guys coming up fast at 70 mph out the car window. I mean, what the Kelp?! I barely had time to grab my camera before they were a memory.

C’est la vie.  Perhaps we’ll catch them next time.

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Inchcolm Abbey-The “Iona of the East”

Hi, friends. Did everyone had a nice weekend? I spent time planting lots of pretty pink flowers, eating delicious food, visiting with family and friends, and writing a word or two. The long Memorial Day holiday is almost over, and tomorrow it’s back to business as usual.

In today’s blog post, I’d like to point out a fascinating site located on the island of Inchcolm in the Firth of Forth (the estuary off Scotland’s east coast that flows into the North Sea). Mr. C and I first spotted the structure from the grounds of Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.

Inchcolm Abbey in Scotland.
As viewed from Lauriston Castle.

We had no idea what we were looking at that day and assumed it was a castle ruin. It wasn’t until we went sailing on the Firth (more on that in a future post) that we got a better view. It turned out to be Inchcolm Abbey, the most well-preserved group of monastic buildings in Scotland.

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Pittenweem, Scotland-As Pretty as a Picture

Hi Readers, I hope everyone is doing well. Today we are going to jump in our car and head about fifty miles to the northeast of Edinburgh, Scotland, to a delightful little village on the Firth of Forth. Our destination is Pittenweem in Fife, and it’s just as pretty as a picture.

Pittenweem, Scotland on the Firth of Forth.

Pittenweem is a real charmer. A mishmash of houses with red pantiled and gray slate roofs and Dutch-inspired crow-stepped gables dot the village surrounding the picturesque, working harbor. The homes are a lovely contrast to the blue waters of the Firth beyond.

A narrow street in Pittenweem, Scotland.
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Crail Scotland-A Charming Fishing Village in Fife

What is another word for ‘enchanting’?  That’s easy. C R A I L

I would say that Crail is my imagination come to life, but actually it was my jigsaw puzzle that came to life!

Jigsaw puzzle of Crail, Scotland.
Crail, Scotland.

Located ninety miles to the northeast of Edinburgh, Scotland, on the Firth of Forth, lies the picturesque, historic fishing village of Crail. 

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Scotland’s Magnificent Forth Bridges

The wheels on American Airlines Flight 6404 gracefully departed the runway, and our plane rapidly ascended into the sky on the path towards home. Always a bit of a nervous flier, I tried my best to relax and breathe while our aircraft climbed ever higher. I leaned my head against my seat and decided to focus my mind on the wonderful memories of the previous two weeks.

Still ascending, our pilot banked a left turn. Mr. C quickly turned my attention to the window where I caught sight of the massive Forth bridges rising out of the water below. The floodgates opened as the realization set in that I was no longer in Scotland.

Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge.

I stink when it comes to goodbyes. It makes no difference if the thing I’m goodbye-ing is a person or a place. My eyes will inevitably leak. And, of course, my cry is never a dainty, pretty cry. It’s quite the opposite. As someone who usually keeps her emotions in check, this snotty outburst always renders me red, puffy, and embarrassed. My tears on the flight that day were no exception.

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