Kilmartin Grave Slabs

Kilmartin Grave Slabs

Date

23 August 2018

Location

Kilmartin, Argyll and Bute
NR 83445 98841; 56.13297°N, 5.48649°W

Information

Kilmartin Stones are a collection of decoratively carved grave-cover slabs dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries. 23 slabs are on view in a shelter in the churchyard of Kilmartin Parish Church. Such grave covers were something of a status symbol for the local West Highland warrior class, with common themes for the carvings being swords and effigies. Other common motifs include hunting scenes, shears and fabulous animals.

The stones were moved inside a shelter in 1956 to protect them from the weather. This lapidarium was originally a mausoleum and was built in 1627 for Neil Campbell, Bishop of Argyll, and his wife Christine, daughter of John Carswell, who built Carnasserie Castle.

The collection is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

Further Reading

Kilmartin Stones (Historic Environment Scotland)

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Inveraray

Loch Fyne, Inveraray

Date

23 August 2018

Location

Inveraray, Argyll and Bute
NN 09537 08329; 56.22923°N, 5.07414°W

Information

Inveraray is the traditional county town of Argyll and the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Campbell, the Duke of Argyll. In the late 18th century the 5th Duke engaged the Scottish architects John Adam (1721-1792) and Robert Mylne (1733-1811) to rebuild the town.

The shores of Loch Fyne at Inveraray were used to train around 250,000 troops in amphibious landings in preparation for the D-Day landings of World War II.

Further Reading

Inveraray Castle;
Loch Fyne

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Carnasserie Castle

Carnasserie Castle, Kilmartin

Date

23 August 2018

Location

Carnasserie, Kilmartin, Argyll and Bute
NM 83901 00834; 56.15105°N, 5.48078°W

Information

Carnasserie Castle was in its day one of Argyll’s finest Renaissance mansions. The five-storey tower with adjoining three-storey hall was built in the 1560s by John Carswell (c 1522 – 1572), first Protestant Bishop of the Isles (1565 – 1572). The property was entrusted to Carswell by his patron Archibald Campbell (1537 – 1573), 5th Earl of Argyll. Carswell’s main legacy was his publication in Edinburgh in 1567 of the first book ever printed in Gaelic (Irish or Scottish) – this was a translation of John Knox’s Book of Common Order.

The castle was badly damaged in 1685 by Royalist forces in an uprising by Archibald Campbell (c 1629 – 1685), 9th Earl of Aryll, against James VII, in which Campbell was captured and executed. The castle thereafter lay disused and was purchased in the 19th century by the Malcolms of Poltalloch. Today it is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

Further Reading

Carnasserie Castle (Historic Environment Scotland)

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Connel Bridge

Connel Bridge

Date

22 August 2018

Location

Connel, Argyll and Bute
NM 90936 34330; 56.45460°N, 5.39431°W

Information

Connel Bridge carries the A828 road over Loch Etive and links the villages of Connel and North Connel. The crossing is at the narrowest point of the sea loch at the tidal rapids The Falls of Lora, five miles from Oban. The bridge span between its piers is 160 m.

The Category B listed steel cantilever bridge was designed by English civil engineer John Wolf Barry (1836 – 1918) and was built by Glasgow contractors Arrol’s Bridge & Roof Company, who also constructed the Forth Bridge.

The bridge opened in 1903 to carry the Ballachulish branch line of the Callander and Oban Railway. A roadway was added next to the railway line in 1914 and when the branch line closed in 1966 the bridge was converted for pedestrian and road vehicle use only via a single-track roadway with traffic lights.

Transport Scotland is currently considering options for refurbishment of the structure over the next five years.

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Machrihanish Beach

Machrihanish Beach

Date

21 August 2018

Location

Machrihanish, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
NR 64172 20931; 55.42533°N, 5.72852°W

Information

The village of Machrihanish is located on the coast near Campbeltown in the Kintyre peninsula and its bay has three miles of sandy beach. The village is known for its world-class, championship golf course situated on the shore.

Close to the village is Campbeltown Airport, originally RAF Machrihanish, whose 3 km runway is one of the longest in Europe. Built in 1918, it served as a NATO base from 1960 to 1995. The site was acquired in 2012 by the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company and was shortlisted as a possible location for a future UK spaceport.

Further Reading

Machrihanish (Undiscovered Scotland)

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Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown

Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown

Date

21 August 2018

Location

Longrow, Campbeltown, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
NR 71695 20484; 55.42488°N, 5.60953°W

Information

Springbank Distillery is located in Campbeltown, once Scotland’s whisky capital with 34 distilleries having been established there. Springbank was established in 1828 on the site of an earlier illicit still. Having been in the hands of the Mitchell family for five generations, Springbank is Scotland’s oldest independent, family-owned distillery. It is also the only one to carry out all stages of production – from malting the barley to final bottling – in house on a single site.

The distillery produces three distinct single malts: Springbank, a lightly peated malt produced since 1828; Longrow, a heavily peated, smoky, Islay-style whisky produced since 1973; and Hazelburn, a subtle, non-peated variety produced since 1997.

Further Reading

Campbeltown

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Fri Skien

Fri Skien

Date

21 August 2018

Location

Campbeltown, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
NR 72150 20344; 55.42384°N, 5.60224°W

Information

Fri Skien is a general-cargo ship operated by Norwegian shipping company Høyergruppen AS. Constructed in the Netherlands in 2000, the vessel is 89m long with a beam of 13m. Its hold has a capacity of 5,669 cubic metres and its maximum deadweight (the weight it can carry) is 3,792 tonnes. Pictured here on 21 August 2018, she arrived in Campbeltown on the 19th and her next port of call was Rostock, Germany, arriving there on the 26th.

Further Reading

Campbeltown

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Campbeltown

Campbeltown

Date

21 August 2018

Location

Campbeltown, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
NR 72150 20344; 55.42384°N, 5.60224°W

Information

With a population of c. 5,000, Campbeltown is the most southerly main settlement in the Kintyre peninsula. It also lays claim to being the westernmost town in mainland Great Britain. Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran, the town was renamed in the 17th century after Archibald Campbell (1629-1685), 9th Earl of Argyll and Chief of Clan Campbell.

Campbeltown’s importance grew as its industries of fishing, shipbuilding and whisky production thrived. 34 whisky distilleries have been established in the town, with 25 in concurrent operation in its heyday in the mid 19th century, and its fishing fleet numbered more than 600 vessels. Today, shipbuilding has disappeared, fishing activity has vastly reduced, and there are at present three whisky distilleries in operation in the town.

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Luss Parish Church

Luss Parish Church

Date

20 August 2018

Location

Luss, Argyll and Bute
NS 36109 92861; 56.10031°N, 4.63650°W

Information

Luss Parish Church was built in 1875 by Sir James Colquhoun (1844-1907), 5th Baronet Colquhoun of Luss, as a memorial to his father who drowned in Loch Lomond in 1873 on the way back from a hunting trip.

Further Reading

Loch Lomond, Luss

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Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond, Luss

Date

20 August 2018

Location

Luss, Argyll and Bute
NS 36077 93038; 56.10188°N, 4.63713°W

Information

With an area of 27 square miles, the 24-mile-long Loch Lomond is the largest inland loch/lake in Great Britain (the largest in the UK being Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland). The loch forms part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, which was created in 2002. There are several islands in the loch, one of which has been home to a colony of wallabies since the 1940s.

The picturesque village of Luss lies on the shore of Loch Lomond and is a very popular tourist destination. The settlement probably dates back to the 1300s and much of the village was rebuilt in the 1800s by the Colquhouns of Rossdhu Castle to provide housing for the workers in their nearby slate quarries.

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Loch Fyne I

Loch Fyne

Date

20 August 2018

Location

Furnace, Argyll and Bute
NS 02135 99906; 56.15064°N, 5.18707°W

Information

At 40 miles long, Loch Fyne, in Argyll and Bute, is Scotland’s longest sea loch.

The name of the village of Furnace (formerly Inverleacainn) hints at its industrial heritage. In 1755 an iron furnace, which operated until 1815, was built there, with the local forest providing a ready supply of the charcoal required by the smelting process.

The local charcoal was later used in the manufacture of gunpowder at the Loch Fyne Powderworks in Furnace from 1841. This came to an end with an explosion in 1883.

A pink-granite quarry on the lower slopes of Dun Leacainn also opened in Furnace in 1841 and is still in operation today.

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Inveraray Castle

The entrance porch was designed in 1871 by English architect Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820-1877)

Date

20 August 2018

Location

Inveraray, Argyll and Bute
NN 09555 09313; 56.23806°N, 5.07455°W

Information

The Category A listed Inveraray Castle is set in 6.5 hectares of gardens with the overall estate covering an area of 24,000 hectares. The mansion replaced an earlier 15th-century castle and was designed in 1746 by English architect Roger Morris (1695-1749). The property is located on the shore of Scotland’s longest sea loch, Loch Fyne, and in the 1770s the village of Inveraray was moved in order to secure a more secluded position for the castle.

Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll, the chiefs of Clan Campbell. The dukedom was created in 1701 in the Peerage of Scotland and in 1892 the 8th Duke was also created Duke of Argyll in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.

Parts of the castle are open to the public with private apartments being occupied by Torquhil Ian Campbell (b 1968), the 13th and 6th Duke of Argyll, and his family. Campbell is also captain of Scotland’s national elephant polo team.

The castle featured as the fictional Duneagle Castle in the 2012 Christmas special episode of the television series Downton Abbey.

Further Reading

Inveraray Castle

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Scotch Whisky Experience

Gaelic coffee

Date

19 August 2018

Location

Royal Mile, Edinburgh
NT 25421 73524; 55.94891°N, 3.19579°W

Information

The Scotch Whisky Experience opened in 1988 as The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre in a joint venture by 19 different Scotch whisky companies. The visitor attraction changed its name to the present one in 2006 and in 2008 it became home to the Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection – a collection of over 3,000 bottles built up over 35 years by Brazilian whisky enthusiast Claive Vidiz. The centre offers tours and whisky tutoring and features a shop and the Amber Restaurant & Whisky Bar.

Further Reading

The Scotch Whisky Experience

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Harry Potter Shop (Diagon House)

Harry Potter Shop

Date

19 August 2018

Location

Victoria Street, Edinburgh
NT 25508 73472; 55.94846°N, 3.19439°W

Information

Victoria Street in the Edinburgh is said to be JK Rowling’s inspiration for the magical shopping zone Diagon Alley. And Diagon House is a Harry Potter-themed merchandising outlet located in Victoria Street. The building was occupied by Robert Cresser’s Brush Shop from 1873 to 2004, with the ground floor serving as the shop, the first floor as a brush-making workshop and the second floor as the family’s private accommodation.

Further Reading

Diagon House

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Ashgrove House

Toppled sundial plinth (c. 1755). This listed structure is virtually all that remains in one piece.

Date

29 October 2017

Location

Loanhead, Midlothian
NT 27852 66410; 55.88539°N, 3.15497°W

Information

In April 2012 the derelict Ashgrove House in Loanhead was featured here in this blog. It was mentioned then that the listed 18th-century villa was at the heart of an area of former green-belt land that was the subject of a planning application for a housing development.

Things have moved on since then. In November 2014 there was a major fire at the property, which was brought under control by 39 firefighters. In August 2015 Midlothian Council granted planning permission to Straiton Park Limited for the demolition of the ‘dwelling and bothy’ at Ashgrove.

The first phase of the ‘Mayburn Park’ housing development by CALA Homes is now complete, with continued construction currently moving towards the grounds of the former Ashgrove House from the northwest and Taylor Wimpey’s new ‘Ashgrove Fields’ housing estate lies immediately to the southeast. A planning application for the ‘erection of 92 dwellinghouses’ on the land of the former villa was lodged with the Council in December 2015, but was withdrawn in August 2016.

Further Reading

Ashgrove House (GeoTopoi, 2012)

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