A Travellerspoint blog

The United Kingdom

Sterling and Invarary

all seasons in one day 52 °F

After breakfast, we departed Edinburgh for the other famous castle at Sterling. This was magnificent. You can easily imagine living there in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification in the region from the earliest times. Most of the principal buildings of the castle date from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A few structures of the fourteenth century remain, while the outer defences fronting the town date from the early eighteenth century. Before the union with England, Stirling Castle was also one of the most used of the many Scottish royal residences, very much a palace as well as a fortress. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542, and others were born or died there. There have been at least eight sieges of Stirling Castle, including several during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with the last being in 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tried to take the castle. Stirling Castle is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is now a tourist attraction managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

DSC_9001.jpglarge_DSC_9046.jpglarge_DSC_9012.jpglarge_DSC_9061.jpglarge_DSC_9019.jpglarge_DSC_9016.jpglarge_DSC_9014.jpglarge_DSC_9026.jpglarge_DSC_9002.jpglarge_DSC_9004.jpg

From Stirling we took the back country roads past Loch Lomon and Loch Long to Fyne Loch for the night.

DSC_9068.jpglarge_DSC_9074.jpg

Posted by rpickett 10:44 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged stirling Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Edinburgh

all seasons in one day 54 °F

Yesterday we made the 237 mile trek from Chester to Edinburgh. All but the last 40 miles were on one of the main motorways, which are better than most US interstates. As we entered Scotland we came in to standard Scottish weather - rain and mist....but you don't come to Scotland for the weather!

large_DSC_8950.jpg

This morning we took a 2 hour van tour around Edinburgh. This was a great way to get the feel of the old and new city. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland. The city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences and engineering. It is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom (after London) and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

large_DSC_8955.jpglarge_DSC_8965.jpglarge_DSC_8962.jpg

This afternoon we made the trip to the fabulous Edinburgh Castle. A true wonder of the world, still in use today. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".
large_DSC_8971.jpg
large_DSC_8977.jpglarge_DSC_8980.jpglarge_DSC_8981.jpglarge_DSC_8988.jpglarge_DSC_8985.jpglarge_DSC_8995.jpglarge_DSC_8993.jpg

Posted by rpickett 08:46 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged edinburgh Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Salisbury to Chester and Llandudno Wales

sunny 56 °F

Yesterday the project was to drive the 235 mile trek from Salisbury to Chester, where we will spend two nights and make a visit to Llandudno, Wales; my first visit to that great country.

On the way to Chester we drove through the college town of Oxford. Like most college towns there was no parking anywhere so we just did the drive through. The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. The university is made up of 38 constituent colleges, and a range of academic departments which are organised into four divisions. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities.It does not have a main campus, and its buildings and facilities are scattered throughout the city centre. Undergraduate teaching at Oxford is organised around weekly tutorials at the colleges and halls, supported by classes, lectures, seminars, and laboratory work provided by university faculties and departments; some postgraduate teaching includes tutorials organised by faculties and departments. It operates the world's oldest university museum, as well as the largest university press in the world and the largest academic library system nationwide. The university is consistently cited as among the world's best. Oxford has educated many notable alumni, including 29 Nobel laureates, 27 prime ministers of the United Kingdom and many heads of state and government around the world. As of 2017, 69 Nobel Prize winners members of the University.

The town of Llandudno developed from Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements over many hundreds of years on the slopes of the limestone headland, known to seafarers as the Great Orme and to landsmen as the Creuddyn Peninsula. The origins in recorded history are with the Manor of Gogarth conveyed by King Edward I to Annan, Bishop of Bangor in 1284. The manor comprised three townships, Y Gogarth in the south-west, Y Cyngreawdr in the north (with the parish church of St Tudno) and Yr Wyddfid in the south-east.

Our sightseeing involved taking the Great Orme Tramway. The Great Orme Tramway is Britain’s only cable-hauled public road tramway and has been delighting visitors from near and far since it opened on July 31st 1902. The Tramway climbs a mile (1500m) high up the Great Orme Country Park and Nature Reserve with the unique journey beginning at Victoria Station then climbing to the Halfway Station exhibition, where you can discover the history of the fascinating funicular and view the Victoria engineering.

The day was perfect and the scenery wonderful!

large_DSC_8909.jpglarge_DSC_8936.jpglarge_DSC_8904.jpglarge_DSC_8923.jpglarge_DSC_8922.jpglarge_DSC_8920.jpglarge_DSC_8906.jpglarge_DSC_8900.jpglarge_DSC_8946.jpglarge_DSC_8945.jpglarge_DSC_8948.jpglarge_DSC_8926.jpg

Posted by rpickett 09:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged llandudno Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Salisbury

rain 60 °F

Although cloudy and a little drizzly, today was special! In the morning we made the 8 mile drive to Stonehenge, one of the more remarkable wonders of the neolithic age. Stonehenge consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC. Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.

large_DSC_8834.jpglarge_DSC_8831.jpglarge_DSC_8820.jpglarge_DSC_8827.jpglarge_DSC_8836.jpglarge_DSC_8839.jpglarge_DSC_8841.jpg

After lunch in the hotel, and a nap, we headed to the Salisbury Cathedral, truly magnificent, which houses the best preserved of the four copies of the Magna Carta that are known to exist. Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, England, and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture. The main body of the cathedral was completed in 38 years, from 1220 to 1258. Since 1549, the cathedral has had the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom, at 404 feet (123 m). The cathedral also has the largest cloister and the largest cathedral close in Britain at 80 acres (32 ha).[2] It contains a clock which is among the oldest working clocks in the world, and has the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta, written in Medieval Latin. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration. The cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese of Salisbury and is the seat of the Bishop of Salisbury, currently Nick Holtam. Among those buried in the church is Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford (1539–1621), nephew of queen-consort Jane Seymour.

large_DSC_8860.jpglarge_DSC_8864.jpg=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/482847/large_DSC_8883.jpg]large_DSC_8884.jpglarge_DSC_8867.jpglarge_DSC_8872.jpglarge_DSC_8893.jpg

Posted by rpickett 09:50 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged salisbury Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Greenwich

sunny 65 °F

Today, we visited the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian; and the Cutty Sark before making the two hour drive to the Medieval city of Salisbury, England in preparation for visiting Stonehenge tomorrow.

The observatory was commissioned in 1675 by King Charles II, with the foundation stone being laid on 10 August. The site was chosen by Sir Christopher Wren. At that time the king also created the position of Astronomer Royal, to serve as the director of the observatory and to "apply himself with the most exact care and diligence to the rectifying of the tables of the motions of the heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired longitude of places for the perfecting of the art of navigation." He appointed John Flamsteed as the first Astronomer Royal. The building was completed in the summer of 1676. The building was often called "Flamsteed House", in reference to its first occupant.

large_DSC_8793.jpglarge_DSC_8801.jpglarge_DSC_8803.jpglarge_DSC_8800.jpglarge_DSC_8802.jpg

It was then down to the river to visit the Cutty Sark. Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built on the River Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, she was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest, coming at the end of a long period of design development, which halted as sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion.

The opening of the Suez Canal (also in 1869) meant that steamships now enjoyed a much shorter route to China, so Cutty Sark spent only a few years on the tea trade before turning to the trade in wool from Australia, where she held the record time to Britain for ten years. Improvements in steam technology meant that gradually steamships also came to dominate the longer sailing route to Australia, and the ship was sold to the Portuguese company Ferreira and Co. in 1895 and renamed Ferreira. She continued as a cargo ship until purchased in 1922 by retired sea captain Wilfred Dowman, who used her as a training ship operating from Falmouth, Cornwall. After his death, Cutty Sark was transferred to the Thames Nautical Training College, Greenhithe in 1938 where she became an auxiliary cadet training ship alongside HMS Worcester. By 1954, she had ceased to be useful as a cadet ship and was transferred to permanent dry dock at Greenwich, London, for public display.

large_DSC_8807.jpglarge_DSC_8808.jpglarge_DSC_8810.jpg

Posted by rpickett 09:19 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged greenwich Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 289) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 .. »