There were several bonny sections of gorse, as pictured, near where we started, at Flotterstone. This is about 7 miles/11km south from the centre of Edinburgh.
There is a small visitor centre here, with basic maps, and a pub, the Flotterstone Inn. This is an old rural inn, though I am sure the farmers of 100 years ago would have choked on their pints at £15 for a main course in the bar. Pleasant enough for a pint though, with a beer garden. About ten draught beers, including Theakstons and hand-pumped IPA.
The second picture is at the west side of the park, near Balerno. There is another ranger and visitor centre here (Harlaw). You can have a fair walk around here, taking in the Harlaw and Threipmuir Reservoirs, and the Bavelaw Marsh, without venturing onto the hills.
Having read a lot about Rosslyn Chapel, and then all the hype resulting from Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code", I decided I'd better satisfy my curiosity and pay a visit. The chapel from the outside was a disappointment as it was shrouded in scaffolding. The queue to get tickets was long, and inside was packed, so actually being able to examine and photograph the interesting carvings was hard.
However, I am glad I made the effort, but would like to have gone before it had become so famous.
The chapel belongs to the St Clair family who have links with the Templars and the Merovingian Kings. There is a graveyard round the chapel, and more burial grounds justdown the road.
Entering the town of Culross is like finding yourself in a 16th century time capsule. It seems to be frozen in time. Thanks to being bypassed by modern times and having received close attention from the National Trust for Scotland, Culross gives the visitor a unique experience of what it was like many generations ago. This is no Hollywood or Disneyesque recreation; it's the real thing. If you are at all interested in architecture, history, village life, or simply could benefit from an afternoon in a leisure paced town away from the crowds, make Culross a destination.
12 miles west of the Forth Road Bridge away from Edinbugh.
One of the rooms of Blair Castle. Inside the castle there are around 30 rooms which the public can view. They are furnished with fine paintings, beautiful antique furniture, china and costumes along with the arms and armour. A lot of them are quite unique.
Perthshire is lush in undulating farmland and lovely little market towns to the south and harsh Highland landscape to the north. The countryside is attractive in its small towns as well as the pretty glens. It is indeed a lovely part of the world to spend a day or a week in search of the great outdoors.
Blair Castle is located in Perthshire in the centre of the village of Blair Atholl.
Open daily from 1 April to 30 October 10am - 6pm (last entry is at 5pm). The 32 rooms are open to the public. You can also walk around the grounds.
St Andrews Golf Course is probably the most famous course in the world. The new course (Par 72) is set aside the original course where golf was first played around 1400AD. The new course (Par 71) opened in 1895.
By Road, take the A90 out of Edinburgh heading towards the Forth Road Bridge. Once on the other side continue on the M90 to Junction 8 and you will see it sign posted to St Andrews. Take the A91 on to Cupar and St Andrews.
Sitting side by side the two bridges give a stark contrast of the engineering feats of two different centuries:
The Forth Rail Bridge was the world’s first major steel bridge. It was begun in 1883 and completed on 4 March 1890.
The Forth Road Bridge was opened on 4 September 1964 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It was the largest suspension bridge in Europe.
These two bridges are in Fife, not far from Edinburgh. From Waverley Train Station it's very easy. You have to take the Fife Cirle Line.
The base itself originally dates from 1916, when it was a coastal defence station, with torpedo bombers, and airships. I hadn't known the airships had much role, but apparently they guarded North Sea convoys and overflew the German coast. A German airship also flew up the Forth to bomb Rosyth (but missed, and bombed Edinburgh). It was decommissioned, but brought back as a bomber airfield (used for training) in 1939.
One hanger, with pictures here, has a range of civilian and military planes, ranging from pre 1939 to near-modern times. Also a lot of information on the planes, the history of the site, and Scottish aviation. Amongst the planes is a USAF Phantom (but my picture of that is too poor to show).
Another hanger has several planes which are 'works in progress' : growing the collection is a gradual progress, and some of them need quite a bit of work.
The plane in the third picture is an oddity: as you would guess that propeller would not move it. It was rocket propelled, basically a flying bomb: luckily it never made it to full deployment. When I was in the Science Museum in London, I found they had a short film about this.
The Museum of flight is part of the National Museums of Scotland, situated at the former East Fortune Airfield about 20 miles east of Edinburgh.
It has four hangers and sundry other buildings, plus a RAF Vulcan and a Comet charter jet outside, with a collection of military and civil aircraft from the early days, right up to a Concorde. Yes, a real Concorde, codesign Alpha Alpha, BAs very first Concorde.
The Vulcan was part of the UK nuclear 'deterrent', equipped to fly to the Arctic and bomb the Soviet Union; the bombs are also on display, decommisioned, of course.
Generally, you won't find anything flying, apart from microlights from a nearby airstrip, except on special events. I last went on a WW2 weekend, when they has a Spitfire, a Messerschmidt, a Catalina and sundry other planes flying. There is also an annual airshow... except the 2005 was cancelled due to the G8 summit.
To visit, it would take from about ninety minutes for a quick skim, to all day if you are hardcore plane enthusiast. Well worth a visit if at all interested in planes.
Open 1000-1700 16 Mar-30 Oct, weekends only rest of year.
Admission: £5 Adults, £4 Concessions; Child 12 and under free.
Additional £3/£2 to board Concorde.
From Edinburgh, take the A1, following directions for Berwick-upon-Tweed, museum is signposted.
There are numerous trails for walking, from flat (or flattish) roads by the reservoirs , to more testing tracks across the muirs or up the hills. The Highlands it isn't, but there are still some steep sections. The highest hills are around 600m. Many tracks are also useable by bikes and by horses, though the trails over the peaks are generally out of bounds for these - you would have to be a nutter to want to try these on a bike anyway.
I hadn't actually walked in the Pentlands before last weekend, but ended up covering about 26 km (about 5.5 hours). Apart from the first part over a couple of the peaks, none of it was hard going at all. Normal Scottish weather warnings apply, and note that much of the area is muir (moorland), very exposed with little or no shelter.
Stopped for lunch around where the picture is - blue skies, sunny and warm: yes, even in Scotland, in May.
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