I don't know if this is really off the beaten path but regardless it is a beautiful town to visit. From the train station, just outside of Glasgow, we stopped on our way from Dundee, take a taxi up the steep hill to Stirling Castle. There is a bus but we didn't know where to catch it and didn't know about it until we were at the Castle. From here the views are wonderful and you can wander back down through the entire town. Completely downhill and a real treat, architecture, interesting shops, and the absolutely best pizza I have ever had outside of NYC. The name is NY Slice, tell Chris the owner that Fred from Sicily sent you.
Be sure to check your train schedule. The trains to certain locations, like Dundee, run infrequently after about 4 PM.
A behind the scenes tour of the collections unit gives you the chance to see some of the weird and wonderful items in Dundee museums collection. Find out how items are stored and prepared for exhibition. Discover the story behind the items in storage. Check out the dundee city council website for details of when these tours are running.
If you cross the Kincardine Bridge and head towards Stirling on the A905 you will come across a National Trust sign for The Pineapple in Airth. It is a little way off the road but to stop and look at the unusual building and garden - it is worth a few minutes detour.
it was built in 1761 as a garden retreat. IThe building was on the estate of the 4th earl of Dunmore, John Murray. At the time it was built the pineapple was a rare delicacy and also a symbol of wealth. The pineapple is 23 metres high and delicately carved. There is a walled garden with an orchard of crab-apples. you can also walk through the woodland that surrounds the pineapple. There is also a path from the car park that takes you to a pond with a viewing platform.... in the pond are rare great crested newts (we did not see them).
St Andrews has a special place in Scotland’s history, as it takes its name from the Apostle whose relics, according to legend, were brought to the town by St Rule. Scotland later adopted St Andrew as her patron saint and took his saltire cross for her flag.
It is thought that this area of Scotland was first inhabited about 8,000 years ago, so there are lots of very ancient sites dating from the Bronze Age and even earlier in the area. From 1500 to 500 BC the first farms were established and from this age early graves and cremation urns have been found around St. Andrews. The Romans arrived in Fife around 82 AD and set up camps in the area. There was one near Cupar and one at Newburgh. The Romans main enemy were the Picti (the painted men – today known as the Picts). By the third century AD the Roman power in Scotland had declined. ST Columba came to Scotland in about 565 AD from Ireland and they settled on Iona. The earliest holy men that arrived in St Andrews were the Culdee; they were basically non- celibate clergy members of the Roman church. They had a church built for them in St Andrews. It is thought that the first church was on the Lady’s Craig Rock at the end of the present day pier. A storm forced the Culdees to build rebuild on the headland above and it is these ruins of the Blessed Mary of the Rock that can at today’s Kirkhill. The cathedral dates from around 1160 and it was consecrated in the presence of Robert the Bruce in July 1318. It was destroyed during the Reformation by a mob that had been aroused by John Knox.
Visit the lovely Queen's View - great places around it for a picnic or walking. It is near Pitlochry. While there Pitlochry is also worth a short visit, there a several good places to eat or have a coffee. It is a tourist centre so it can get very busy though.
The parking area is private property and there is a pound parking fee for a day ticket.
I just love standing stones and the feeling of mystery they inspire. The standing stones of Aberlemno are wonderful. There are some in the church yard and some a little way along the road.
Aberlemno is a little village, which is famous for its large standing stones, which date from the 7th and 8th centuries. The stones are in the church yard and there are more along the B9134 road (the Brechin - Forfar road) During the spring –autumn the stones are open and can be seen but in the winter they are covered by wooden boxes to prevent frost damage.
The best known Pictish stone is the Serpent stone which shows a serpent symbol on the top. It is thought that this stone was re-used by the Picts and is actually a much earlier megalith.
Glamis Castle - the childhood hone of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is beautiful.
This is the childhood home of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother at Glamis near Forfar. The wonderful and fairytale like castle with the long drive up to it was once (in the 11th century) a hunting lodge. It was extensively recontraucted in the 17th century. Many of the rooms are open to the public but it is still a family home and in use as such. Duncans Hall is the oldest room in the castle and is said to be the setting for Shakespeare's setting for the king's murder in his play Macbeth. Some of the gardens are open to the public and the Italian garden is wonderful
Dunfermline Palace is next to Dunfermline Abbey Church and it is next to a gorge. When King Malcolm and Queen Margaret married in Dunfermline Abbey church she fell so much in love with the place that she decided to start a Benedictine order there. During her life the order was a small community but after 1128 her son David turned it into an Abbey. The heart of this abbey was the church, which later became the Royal Palace. Queen Margaret was buried at Dunfermline and her son wanted a fitting tribute to her.
In 1303 during the Wars of Independence English troops of King Edward I destroyed the abbeys domestic buildings but did not damage the Abbey church. This could be because of the link between Queen Margaret (now a saint) and the Benedictine Order of Canterbury.
The palace was rebuilt in 1500 by James IV and was the favourite residence of several kings and queens of Scotland. The last monarch to occupy the palace was Charles II – he stayed at Dunfermline before the Battle of Pitreavie in 1650. Soon afterwards the palace was abandoned. The roof was removed in 1708 and today all that is left is the south wall and the kitchen.
As a child Andrew Carnegie was barred from entering this beautiful park. So when he was rich he bought the grounds and threw open the park to the cities 'toiling masses.' It is a lovely picnic to wander through and I remember my grandmother 'stealing' little bit is of plants and rooting them for her garden. The park is a lovely quiet place to wander through or to sit and relax.
The Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum.
The millionaire benefactor Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline in 1835.
In this cottage in the shadow of Dunfermline Abbey and close to the lovely Pittencrieff Park is this small but wonderfully interesting museum which tells the rags-to-riches story of the cities famous son.
The family were weavers and immigrated to the States.
The musuem shows how Andrew worked his way up in life. From bobbin boy, telegragh operator and railroad developer to Steel King of America. the empire he forged in the steel furnaces of Pittsburgh was sold in 1901 for $400 million and he retired the richest man in the world.
Dunfermline ('the forified tower on the winding stream') is more than a thousand years old. It was part of the kingdom of the Picts, and one of the early settlements of the Celtic or Culdee Church. It was also a favourite stronghold of the the warrior King Malcolm Canmore.
When King Malcolm married the saintly Queen margaret in 1070 the little settlement gained international status. Under the Queen's influence the new European monastic Order of St Benedict was established and a Priory was established.
When the Queen died her pious son King David built a great Bendictine Abbey on the site of the little church she had had built. In 1250 Margaret was proclaimed a saint, and Dunfermline became a pilgrimage centre of Europe.
The tomb of Robert the Bruce is here. NO the head in my photo is not Koos after our holiday because of bad food in Scotland.... it is the plaster cast of the skull of King Robert the Bruce and it can be found in Dunfermline Abbey Church. Research has shown that the king probably had leprosy.
The Angus glens are known for their beautiful views. From Clova, there is a good afternoon walk with some great views of the glen. Good shoes are a must, and be prepared for some moderately steep climbs along the paths.
Even if it was not the the site of a famous Jacobite battle this area would still be very worth visiting - it is lovely. The green wooden glen of the River Garry is a great place for walking.
It is in fact the place where the Highlands and Lowlands meet and the site of the great jacobite victory in the battle of Killecrankie on 27th of july 1689. Then General John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee engaged the Government army (some 4,000 men)of General Hugh Mackay of Scone. The difficult terrain of the gorge of the river Garry gave General Mackay great problems and soon 'Bonnie Dundee' led his men to victory - a short but bloody battle.
It was while on the retreat that a government soldier came to his only way of escape .... and it was a 18 feet leap across the fast-flowing river Garry. He really had no choice and leapt to freedom and into the history books as the man who made the famous Soldier's Leap. The detour in the walk along the river to see the rock is worthwhile.
Just north of Pitlochry.
Perth 20 odd miles up the road (and not a good road, but getting better). The Gateway to the Highands. Easy reach of Pitlochry and the Highlands. The main route to Inverness (also Not a good road, but getting better). A Nice conservative town with an interesting art gallery and a cafe area in St Johns square, Not much compared to European ones but we are trying.
The Angus Glens, being on the edge of the Grampian Mountains, offers visitors a unique proposition - hillwalking and mountain tracks within just a few miles of 'civilisation'. You can fall out of bed and be in spectacular hill country within quarter of an hour! Alternatively, there are some great places to stay right in the heart of it all. Or just pack your tent and camp out. There are a number of glens to discover, each holding its own secrets.