Tantallon Castle-A Formidable Fortress

Tantallon Castle in a word: Badass.

Seriously. Mr. C and I didn’t realize just how imposing a structure Tantallon was until we had parked the car and made the walk toward the castle grounds. The closer we got, the more Tantallon grew. And grew. And grew! By the time we had reached the building, it’s safe to say we were both quite dumbfounded by the formidable fortress staring back at us.

Tantallon Castle in Scotland.
That little black line is me standing in front of Tantallon Castle’s Mid Tower and massive curtain wall. The ruined tower on the left is the Douglas Tower. Originally seven stories high, it served as the earl’s private residence. The East Tower sits to the far right and served as lodging for household staff and guests.
Castle signage.
Tantallon Castle and a doocot.
Though a large, open space today, the area in front of the castle would have been a place of much activity. There would have been all manner of structures essential to life in the castle, such as bakehouses, brewhouses, workshops, and stables.
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Bass Rock-A Tiny Scottish Island With a Giant Personality

Hello, my friends. How are you guys today? I’ve missed you. I have been away on holiday with Mr. C and his parents, off the grid, and making memories. I’m excited to catch up on all the things you’ve been up to and eager to share some of the best moments from our trip. For today, though, I’d like to show you a tiny island located in the outer part of Scotland’s Firth of Forth. This island is called Bass Rock, and it is a beast of a thing!

A white lighthouse sitting on Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth.
A Google Maps image of the Firth of Forth off Scotland's coast.

Rising to a height of more than 300 ft., the rocky island is a steep-sided volcanic plug that dates to the Carboniferous Age – arising a whopping 300+ million years ago. From a distance, the rock surface can appear white, almost as if covered in a dusting of snow. That is because of the presence of the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets. In fact, in the peak of their nesting season, it is estimated that more than 150,000 of these sea birds call Bass Rock home!

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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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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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Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland-Part 1

Hi, friends. How would you like to join me today for a stroll around the grounds of one of the prettiest castles in Scotland? Oh good, I’m so pleased! I promise that you are going to love it. Today we are in Edinburgh at the oh-so-lovely Lauriston Castle.

First, a quick history of the castle: Sir Archibald Napier built Lauriston’s tower house (front left) sometime around 1593, and the pretty Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827. Over the centuries, Lauriston Castle passed through many hands until it came into the possession of its final owners – William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid’s death in 1926.

Because the couple had no children, they left Lauriston to the city of Edinburgh under the condition that it be preserved unchanged. And so the promise was kept. The castle with the remarkable Edwardian interior, filled to the brim with their fine furniture and artwork, is now a museum maintained by the city. For a nominal fee, you can take a guided tour of this home, which remains exactly as it was in the couple’s day. The manicured grounds, with views over the Firth of Forth and a stunning Japanese garden, are a real bargain – free! Lauriston Castle is a true gem.

Front of Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The tower house (left of door) was built sometime around 1593. The Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827.

The photos that follow were taken in the month of May. The weather that day was MAGNIFICENT. I think you will see that with scenery like this, it was impossible not to fall crazy in love with the place.

Let’s go for that stroll.

The castle…

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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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Newark Castle Ruin in Fife, Scotland

Mr. C has always been fascinated with castles. And though I thought they were impressive, I could never quite grasp what all the fuss was about.

Until I went to Scotland.

Most tourists only ever visit Scotland’s “biggies”- Dunnottar, Stirling, Eileen Donan, etc. And trust me, if you are lucky enough to set your feet on Scottish soil, you will want to see those. There are probably ten to fifteen castles throughout the country that are extremely popular with tourists, and for good reason – they are stinkin’ awesome! But I must confess. As much as I love and appreciate the castles that are well-trodden, I am a huge sucker for the ruins. The quiet, melancholy ones that time has all but forgotten.

Meet Newark Castle.

Newark Castle on the Firth of Forth.
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