A truly bizarre building.
It is difficult to know where to place this tip as the location in question is pretty much in the middle of nowhere in Central Scotland. I have decided on Falkirk as it is situated in that Council area.
A friend had told me about a really strange place called the Pineapple in Central Scotland. A pineapple in the Scottish climate? That surprised me. When it was explained to me that the Pineapple in question was actually a building, that amazed me. I simply had to see that for myself. We approached up a tiny little country lane and parked in the place indicated. No sign of the pineapple but a pleasant country location. I was intrigued by now. Walking a short distance we walked through an entrance in the hight wall to be greeted by a vista of an extensive garden and then, there it was. The totally bizarre sight of a building that looked for all the world like a pineapple. I kid you not. Again, apologies for the image quality on a very overcast day with a fairly basic compact camera but they probably explain better than I can the completely bizarre appearance of this building in the middle of the Scottish countryside.
What on Earth is all this about? Well, in the 18th century buying a pineapple was a sign of extreme wealth as they were so rare. In 1761 the 4th Earl of Dunmore created this as a summer house presumably to show off how rich he was and impress friends. It may also be a reference to his time in the Americas where the pineapple is a sign of welcome. Sadly we have no evidence as to the architect although architectural evidence indicates that the pineapple was probably a later addition to the lower pavilion and local legend has it that Italian masons were involved in the building.
It certainly is impressive, with wonderful views over the lovely walled garden and down to an expanse of water that is now a haven for wildlife. I have explained the weather and undoubtedly did not see the place at it's best, I really would like a wander round here in the summer.
Should you want to, there are several walks in the local area of varying lengths beginning at a gentle 1 kilometre. If you fancy a longer stay, and somewhere extremely unusual to spend a night or two, the Pineapple is administered by the Landmark Trust and is fully fitted out inside with one double and one twin room. Full details on renting are on the attached website. It really would be something different.
If you just want to go and see a 37 foot tall stone pineapple, well, I can think of nowhere else you would want to be!
The official address is The Pineapple, Near Airth, Falkirk, Central, FK2 8LU but more practically for the travellers purpose it is seven miles East of Stirling. It is off A905, then off B9124 and is signposted.
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boat carrying gondola
Due to the fact that vessels displace their own weight in water, the gondolas which carry vessels up and down weigh no more when full of boats than when they are empty, thus, in a perfectly balanced structure, little force is required to operate it.
I believe it costs less to operate than two bars of an electric fire
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watching boats climb
Falkirk would seem an unlikely place to find what is fast becoming a major tourist attraction, but tourist attraction there is.
Scotlands' network of canals, that once linked edinburgh and Glasgow, rivers Clyde and Forth and provided a route inland for the delivery of goods from around the world as well as providing a fast route from the atlantic to the north sea had fallen into disuse, become silted up or just covered over.
Trains and trucks had replaced pleasure steamers and cargo boats.
British waterways, in association with other bodies have begun a process of renovation and modernisation of these neglected watery arteries and with the introduction of the falkirk wheel are turning derelict and dangerous stagnant areas into fresh and pleasing recreational areas throughout the central belt of scotland
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