GeoTopoi

Places and photographs

Rock Cannon, Pont-y-Pair, Betws-y-Coed

leave a comment »

Pont-y-Pair Rock Cannon on the banks of the Afon LLugwy

Pont-y-Pair Rock Cannon on the banks of the Afon LLugwy

Date

6 September 2014
Location

Pont-y-Pair, Betws-y-Coed

SH 79122 56748; 53.09419°N, 3.80659°W

Information

The rock cannon in Betws-y-Coed was drilled into the bedrock on the banks of the Afon Llugwy by the side of Pont-y-Pair (Bridge of the Cauldron). The 15th century bridge carries the B5106 Llanwrst road over the river. It was originally built for pack horses and later enlarged. It was also used for a time by coaches on the London to Holyhead route until Telford’s A5 road opened through the town.

Further Reading

Rock Cannon — history and method of operation; Other rock-cannon posts

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

September 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Miners’ Bridge, Betws-y-Coed

with 16 comments

Miners' Bridge over the Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Miners’ Bridge over the Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Date

6 September 2014
Location

Betws-y-Coed

SH 77984 56933; 53.09560°N, 3.82365°W

Information

Local miners used to cross the Afon Llugwy via a wooden ladder at this point when commuting to and from the lead mines in the Gwydyr Forest.

Further Reading

Photograph of Miners’ Bridge (Roger Fenton) c. 1855 (People’s Collection Wales);
Photograph of Miners’ Bridge (George Love Dafnis) c. 1900s (Bath in Time)

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

September 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

Old Town Cemetery, Stirling

with 8 comments

The Wigtown Martyrs Monument

Martyrs’ Monument. The marble statue was created by Alexander Handyside Ritchie in 1859 and the encasing glazed cast-iron structure was added in 1867 by architect John Thomas Rochead, designer of the National Wallace Monument.

Date

28 August 2014
Location

Stirling

NS 79079 93839; 56.12190°N, 3.94663°W

Information

The hollow, known as The Valley, situated between Stirling’s castle esplanade and the Church of the Holy Rude, was used as an event ground during the Stuart era. It served as a venue for gatherings such as jousting tournaments, horse fairs and markets. The site is now occupied by the Old Town Cemeteries, a complex comprising the old kirkyard, Valley Cemetery, Mars Wark Garden, Drummond Pleasure Ground, and the later Snowdon Cemetery. By the mid 19th century Holy Rude’s kirkyard had become desperately overcrowded and the adjoining Valley Cemetery and Mars Wark Garden were therefore created in 1857-59. The adjacent Drummond Pleasure Ground, with its Star Pyramid – a monument to Scottish civil and religious martyrs – was completed in 1863. The complex was designed not only as a graveyard, but also as a recreational and educational public park aimed at the increasing numbers of tourists arriving in Stirling since the railway had reached the town in 1849.

The central area of Valley Cemetery features statues by sculptor Alexander Handyside Ritchie (1804-1870), who was born in Musselburgh and studied in Edinburgh and Rome, of three pivotal figures in the history of the Reformed Church in Scotland – John Knox (c 1514-1572), Andrew Melville (1545-1622) and Alexander Henderson (c 1583-1646).

Also prominent in the cemetery is the Martyrs’ Monument, another work by Ritchie. This marble statue was created in 1859 and commemorates the Wigtown Martyrs – Margaret Wilson, 18, and Margaret McLachlan, 75 – who, clinging to their Covenanter principles, refused to recognise James VII as head of the Church and were executed for treason by drowning in the Solway Firth. The Covenanters were members of a religious movement committed to preserving the changes of the 1560 Scottish Reformation (where the Church broke with the Papacy) and to maintaining the Presbyterian system, where the Church was governed by a session of representatives, rather than by bishops appointed by the crown. After the restoration of the monarchy, the Covenanters were persecuted and attending their open-air gatherings became a capital offence.

A £1.7m restoration of the Old Town Cemeteries was completed in 2009 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stirling Council, Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Further Reading

Old Town Cemetery Stirling;
Margaret Wilson (Scottish martyr) (Wikipedia)

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

September 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Stirling Castle

with 7 comments

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

Date

28 August 2014
Location

Stirling

NS 79123 93971; 56.12309°N, 3.94599°W

Information

One of Scotland’s most important military fortresses, Stirling Castle’s recorded history dates back to the 12th century with most of the present structure having been built in the 15th and 16th centuries. Several Scottish monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots, were coronated in Stirling and the castle played a key role in the 13th- and 14th-century Wars of Scottish Independence. Stirling Castle is a popular tourist attraction and is in the care of Historic Scotland.

Further Reading

Stirling Castle (official website);
Stirling Castle (Wikipedia)

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

September 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

Cairnie Fruit Farm

with 4 comments

Cairnie Fruit Farm

Cairnie Fruit Farm

Date

26 August 2014
Location

Cupar, Fife

NO 37349 16672; 56.33822°N, 3.01500°W

Information

Cairnie Fruit Farm

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

September 4, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Forth Road Bridge

with 21 comments

Forth Road Bridge from the south

Forth Road Bridge from the south. The main span is 1006 m long and the towers are 155 m high.

Date

26 August 2014
Location

Queensferry, Firth of Forth

NT 12534 78112; 55.98795°N, 3.40357°W

Information

Since the 11th century a ferry crossing over the Firth of Forth had served to link Edinburgh with Fife, which led to the growth of the two ports Queensferry and North Queensferry.

In 1883 construction of a railway connection started and the Forth Bridge opened in 1890. This Victorian bridge, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, was Britain’s first major steel structure and was until 1917 the world’s longest cantilever span.

Construction of the Forth Road Bridge alongside the rail bridge started in 1958 and it opened in 1964. The main span of the suspension bridge is 1006 m long and its total length is 2513 m. It was at the time the fourth longest span in the world and the longest in Europe. The Forth ferry service was discontinued when the road bridge opened. Tolls to cross the bridge were abolished by the Scottish Government in 2008.

The bridge was designed for 11 million vehicles per year. However, by 2006 the actual usage was 23 million. A structural survey in 2005 revealed a 10% loss in strength of the suspension cables due to corrosion. In light of the ensuing concerns over its long-term future, the decision to proceed with a replacement bridge, proposals for which had been put forward in the 1990s, was made in 2007 and construction of a cable-stayed bridge to the west of the Forth Road Bridge commenced in 2011. The new bridge, to be known as the Queensferry Crossing, is scheduled for completion in 2016, after which the existing road bridge will remain in use only for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

Further Reading

Forth Road Bridge (Bridge Authority);
Forth Road Bridge (Wikipedia);
Forth Replacement Crossing (Transport Scotland)

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

August 31, 2014 at 7:00 am

Portmeirion

with 12 comments

Portmeirion

Amis Reunis stone boat on the Quayside in front of the Hotel Portmeirion

Date

20 August 2014
Location

Portmeirion, Penrhyndeudraeth

SH 59051 37200; 52.91367°N, 4.09760°W

Information

Aber Iâ was a modest estate on the Penrhyndeudraeth peninsula, on Traeth Bach, the tidal estuary of the rivers Afon Glaslyn and Aber Dwyryd, 2 miles south east of Porthmadog. Its Victorian country house was built around 1840.

The estate was purchased in 1925 by architect Clough Williams-Ellis (1883 – 1978) from his uncle Sir Arthur Osmond Williams. Williams-Ellis renamed the site Portmeirion and embarked upon what was to become a 50-year project to create a compact coastal resort village 5 miles south west of his Plas Brondanw family home. The former Aber Iâ mansion was renovated and opened as a hotel in 1926. Development of the village, inspired by the Italian riviera, took place in two phases: from 1925 to 1939 and then from 1954 to 1976. 28 hectares of forest, known as Y Gwyllt, around the village were purchased in 1940.

Made famous by the 1967 Patrick McGoohan cult television series The Prisoner, Portmeirion is owned by the Clough Williams-Ellis Foundation charity and its cottages, which are all Grade II listed buildings, serve as hotel and self-catering accommodation. The village itself is also open to the public for day visits.

Further Reading

Portmeirion (Wikipedia);
Portmeirion Village (Official Site)

 

SEE MORE →

Written by Graham Stephen

August 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 337 other followers