Laggan Free Church-A Ruin in Scotland’s Cairngorms

Like The White Bridge that I wrote about last week, today’s post features another amazing, serendipitous find.  Scotland certainly does seem to be full of those.

One afternoon a few weeks ago, Mr. C and I were driving through the southwest portion of the Cairngorms National Park near the village of Laggan. 

A stormy sky over a green field and a tree stump.
A stormy sky moving in over the Scottish Highlands.

We had just turned onto General Wade’s Military Road from the A86 when we spotted the fantastic ruins of a church to our left.  Naturally, we pulled over to check it out.

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The White Bridge and General Wade’s Military Road

I never thought I’d be the type to geek out over a bridge. Or old military transit roads. Good gracious. Who AM I?! Someone, please send help.

While heading southwest one morning on the B862, Mr. C and I came upon this interesting bridge over the River Fechlin in the tiny community of Whitebridge, Scotland.

The White Bridge over the River Fechlin in Scotland.

Intrigued, we parked our car and, with cameras in hand, crossed the road to get a better look.

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Farr Farr Away-Two Weeks in Farr, Scotland

Well, friends, another Scottish adventure has come to a close. I’m home.

It’s 4:45 in the morning as I begin to write this. My body, however, thinks it’s 9:45 and that Mr. C and I should be loading up the car for a day of exploration. With our tummy’s full of Scottish bacon, eggs, and coffee, we would have been all fueled up for a long day of hikes, history, and miles upon miles of some of the most breathtaking scenery on God’s earth.

Scottish Highlands.

Being home is bittersweet. I missed my dogs terribly and there is something to be said for getting back into the “regular” routine of things, I guess. But oh how my heart hurt when those airplane wheels began to roll.

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Croft Moraig Stone Circle-A Prehistoric Mystery

Greetings to you this beautiful day. Today I would like to take you guys into the beautiful Scottish Highlands to Croft Moraig Stone Circle. Our destination is located about four miles southwest of Aberfeldy, right off of A827. It occupies a portion of a farmer’s field, so you may want to grab your wellies just in case it’s muddy. Ready? Great, then let’s be off!

Don’t fret that the site sits on private property. Scotland’s laws allow individuals “freedom to roam.” Just be respectful and be sure to close the farmer’s gate.

A woman wearing yellow rain boots.

Most people probably think of Stonehenge when they think of a stone circle. It is one of Britain’s most iconic sites – and of course, the location of one of the Griswold Family’s hilarious misadventures.

A silver and yellow car parked in front of Stonehenge.

If you are a fan of the “Outlander” series, then you might imagine Craigh na Dun, the fictional standing stones that transported Claire from the Scottish Highlands in 1946 to the year 1743…and ultimately led her to the man who would become the great love of her life.

Oh Jamie, you beautiful, beautiful man…

Oops, sorry, lost myself there for a second.

Outlander DVD jacket.

While Croft Moraig Stone Circle isn’t quite as impressive as Stonehenge or as captivating as the fictional Craigh na Dun, but it is still pretty amazing. Especially when you take the time to consider the mysterious purposes for which this circular rock structure was built.

Croft Moraig Stone Circle.
Croft Moraig Stone Circle.

Alternately spelled ‘Croftmoraig,’ this recumbent, horseshoe-shaped stone circle dates from the Neolithic through the Bronze Ages. Shards of Neolithic pottery were discovered on the site and dated to around 3,000 B.C. Guys, that’s a few thousand years ago! I can hardly comprehend it. Croft Moraig is one of several ancient sites in the Tay River Valley. Historians point to this as an indication of how important the area was as a home and transport route for ancient peoples.

“They [recumbent stone circles] get their name because one large stone in the circle is laid on its side, or is ‘recumbent’. We think ancient peoples might have used these circles to record the seasons or the passage of the sun and moon. They may have hosted funerary pyres or ceremonial bonfires. Whatever their purpose, they have fascinated people for generations.”  –Forestry Commission Scotland

Croft Moraig Stone Circle.

Croft Moraig was excavated in 1965 by Stuart Piggott and Derek Simpson. It is a complex double-stone circle, and it was determined that it had been built in three separate phases of construction. A thousand years or more may have separated each stage of its development.

A standing stone at Croft Moraig Stone Circle.

Archaeologists and historians may never truly understand the purposes for which stone circles were constructed, but some probable theories include:

*a place for worship and/or sacrifice

*burial grounds (human bone has been found at Stonehenge, for example)

*a place for healing

*a calendar

*a cosmic observatory of sorts – stones aligned to astronomical events

Or, as Mr. C suggested, maybe the ancient peoples just needed a place to sit around the campfire while they ate their hotdogs and s’mores! Silly Mr. C.

Croft Moraig Stone Circle.

Whatever the reasons, stone circles are mysterious, fascinating, and definitely stir the imagination.  I hope you enjoyed our little adventure.

Thanks so much for coming along with me today.  I’ll see you next time when I attempt to make Scotch eggs!  Yikes!  Have a great rest of the week, friends.

Cheers,

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*Photo of rain boots courtesy of Pexels

The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland

Hello, friends. What’s shakin’? Not much around here this weekend. I attempted to write this blog outside but good grief – the humidity! I see it’s a balmy 65 degrees in Edinburgh right now. What I wouldn’t give!

Today I’d like to show you a beautiful area in the Scottish Highlands that I visited on my last trip. Located on the River Dochart in the pretty village of Killin in Stirlingshire, are the spectacular Falls of Dochart.

View of the rocks and bridge at the Falls of Dochart with snow capped mountains behind.
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What a Gem! Scottish Jewelry by Heathergems

Hi Friends!  One of my favorite discoveries from our Scottish adventures is a unique company called Heathergems.  The only manufacturer of its kind, the Heathergem company produces beautiful jewelry and other gift items from the stems of the heather plant.

Heather plant.

I first saw these interesting creations at the James Pringle Shopping Outlet in Leith, Scotland (a decent place to look for a few souvenirs, if not a tad bit on the kitschy side – I did once find a very cute hat!). Since I was last in Scotland, I have seen Heathergems for sale at the Celtic shop near my hometown here in the States.

Aside from the Scottish thistle, perhaps no other flower epitomizes Scotland the way that the heather plant does.  It makes me think of the 1954 MGM musical Brigadoon – Gene Kelley singing to the beautiful Cyd Charisse about the heather on the hill and the pair falling in love as they glide effortlessly over the moor. Sigh…

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Loch Tay-Central Scottish Highlands

Hey, friends. Today we are heading into the Scottish Highlands to beautiful Loch Tay. Trust me, you are going to want your camera!

Snow covered hills reflected in still water.

Loch Tay lies in a scenic valley that stretches between the villages of Killin (in Stirling) and Kenmore (in Perthshire) in the central Scottish Highlands. The loch is around fifteen miles long and 508 feet deep, making it one of the deepest bodies of water in the country.

Snow capped hills around Loch Tay.

It was thrilling to see the loch in March before the winter snow had completely melted. It was gorgeous!

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