National Museum of Scotland

Amida Buddha.

Amida Buddha.

Bronze cast, Japan, 18th to 19th century

“This Japanese Buddha sits in meditation with a mandorla – a form of halo – behind his head. The mandorla, symbolizing light and blessedness, is a symbol in eastern and western art. The Amida Buddha embodies the ideals of wisdom, compassion and enlightenment. This form of Buddhism reached Japan via Korea in the 6th century.”

Date

20 December 2016

Location

Chambers Street, Edinburgh
NT 25824 73343; 55.94736°N, 3.18928°W

Information

National Museum of Scotland

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XT-Craft Midget Submarine Wrecks, Aberlady

The northerly wreck

The northerly wreck

Date

20 December 2015

Location

Gullane Sands, Aberlady Bay, East Lothian
NT 45184 81436; 56.02266°N, 2.88099°W

Information

In Aberlady Bay – which, incidentally, was designated in 1952 as the UK’s first Local Nature Reserve – rest the wrecks of two World War II midget submarines 1 km out from the Mean High Water line on the intertidal flats of Gullane Sands. In May 1946 these two XT-Craft – training versions of the X-Craft submarine – were moored one each 100 paces to the north and to the south of a set of five concrete anti-tank blocks (four forming a base with the fifth placed on top) positioned close to the low tide mark. Two aircraft – a Supermarine Seafire (the folding-wing, aircraft-carrier version of the Spitfire) and a de Havilland Mosquito then used the mini submarines floating at high tide as targets in a trial on the effects on X-Craft hulls of 20mm cannon shells. The wrecks of the two vessels were subsequently left abandoned in situ.

Built by Vickers-Armstrong, the X-Craft submarine was 15 metres long and was manned by a crew of four. The midget submarine was designed specifically for use in the 1943 attacks, codenamed Operation Source, on the German fleet in Norwegian fjords. The German Bismarck-class battleship Tirpitz was put out of action for at least six months after sustaining damage from demolition charges placed below her by two X-Craft. (The Tirpitz finally met her end the following year when she took two direct hits from Lancaster bombers.)

Further Reading

X-craft: Aberlady Bay, Firth Of Forth (Historic Environment Scotland);
Operation Source (Wikipedia)

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Abernethy Round Tower

Abernethy Round Tower.  The tapering tower is approximately 22 metres high and 5 metres in diameter.

Abernethy Round Tower. The tapering tower is approximately 22 metres high and 5 metres in diameter.

Date

25 August 2016

Location

School Wynd, Abernethy, Perth and Kinross
NO 19003 16372; 56.33274°N, 3.31158°W

Information

The 22-metre-high, freestanding round tower in Abernethy is one of only two of the Irish Celtic type in Scotland, the other one being in Brechin, Angus. Abernethy’s tower is thought to have been built in the 11th century. Although its original purpose is unclear, the tower has been used as a bell tower for the adjacent church, a purpose that it continues to serve. The tower’s bell is dated 1782 and the clock dates from 1868.

Irish round towers served primarily as bell towers and it is thought that around 100 were built in Ireland from the 10th to the 13th century, of which around 10 still survive intact. Outside of Ireland only three are known of – the two in Scotland plus a third one on the Isle of Man

The tower is a Category A listed building and is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland.

Further Reading

Abernethy Round Tower (Historic Environment Scotland);
Abernethy Round Tower (Undiscovered Scotland)

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Arria

Arria.  The sculpture overlooks the M80 motorway from which it can be seen between junctions 5 and 6.

Arria. The sculpture overlooks the M80 motorway from which it can be seen between junctions 5 and 6.

Date

24 August 2016

Location

Cumbernauld Community Park
NS 75353 75246; 55.95400°N, 3.99787°W

Information

 

“ARRIA

“The sculpture Arria stands 10 metres tall and faces towards the town of Cumbernauld. Commissioned by Campsies Centre Cumbernauld Ltd, she is a cultural landmark that enhances the town centre and its environs for visitors and residents.

“She was designed and created by renowned Scottish sculptor Andy Scott at his studio in Glasgow, and took 18 months to design and fabricate.

“Arria is made in 13 sections which are bolted together, and weighs 7 tonnes. She is a welded steel fabrication, and was galvanised by Highland Colour Coaters in Cumbernauld. Her production involved a host of specialists and professionals, including lighting designers, structural engineers, project managers, haulage and crane contractors as well as the artist and his team.

“The name Arria was selected through a competition and was suggested by Bethany and Louise Reid.

“The sculpture also includes the poem”Watershed” written for the sculpture by Scottish poet Jim Carruth.

“Arria was inaugurated by HRH The Princess Royal in January 2011.”

– Information plaque

Further Reading

Andy Scott;
Cumbernauld Community Park

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The Hill House, Helensburgh

The Hill House

The Hill House

Date

24 August 2016

Location

Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh
NS 30044 83893; 56.01770°N, 4.72818°W

Information

The Hill House was designed in 1902 by artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) for Glasgow publisher Walter Blackie (1860-1953). Mackintosh was also responsible for the interior design of the residence, which the Blackie family moved into in 1904. The house is a Category A listed building and was donated to the National Trust for Scotland in 1982.

Further Reading

The Hill House (National Trust for Scotland);
The Hill House (Wikipedia)

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Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle. 5,500 years ago Dumbarton Rock, which is a plug of volcanic basalt, was an island. As glacial ice disappeared the land rose up and when settled by humans the land around the rock was reclaimed and protected from the sea.

Date

24 August 2016

Location

Dumbarton
NS 39981 74409; 55.93600°N, 4.56332°W

Information

With a strategic position overlooking the Clyde, Dumbarton Rock has been home to fortifications of the Britons, Vikings and Scots for over 1500 years.

Dumbarton Castle is a Category A listed building and is in the care of Historical Environment Scotland.

Further Reading

Dumbarton Castle (Historical Environment Scotland);
Dumbarton Castle (Wikipedia)

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Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

Date

23 August 2016

Location

Bridge Lane, Perth
NO 11972 23814; 56.39833°N, 3.42776°W

Information

With its roots dating back to the founding of the Antiquarian Society of Perth in 1784, Perth Museum and Art Gallery is one of the oldest museums in the UK. The museum owns a collection of more than half a million items. The museum building, originally known as The Monument, was designed by amateur architect David Morison (c1792-1855), who was Secretary of the Perth’s Literary and Antiquarian Society. The building opened in 1824 and was donated by the Society to the city of Perth in 1915 on the condition that it remained in use as a public museum or library. An extension, designed by Perth architects Smart Stewart Mitchell, to the original building was completed in 1935.

Further Reading

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

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Perth Concert Hall

Perth Concert Hall

Perth Concert Hall

Date

23 August 2016

Location

Horse Cross, Perth
NO 11901 23750; 56.39773°N, 3.42887°W

Information

Perth Concert Hall was designed by architects BDP Glasgow and opened in 2005. Construction of the £12.5 million arts and conference venue started in 2003 and the facility is operated by Horsecross Arts Ltd. The main auditorium seats 1,200 and the glass-fronted foyer houses the Glassrooms café-bar and restaurant.

Further Reading

Perth Concert Hall

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Weeping Window, Perth

Weeping Window, Black Watch Castle and Museum

Weeping Window, Black Watch Castle and Museum

Date

22 August 2016

Location

The Black Watch Castle and Museum, Perth
NO 11438 24358; 56.40311°N, 3.43659°W

Information

The ceramic-poppy art installation Weeping Window, created by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper as part of the 2014 Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London, was on display at The Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth from 30 June until 25 September 2016.

The Black Watch was formed as an infantry regiment in 1881 and since 2006 has been a battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. During the First World War almost 9,000 soldiers of the Black watch lost their lives and a further 20,000 were wounded.

Perth’s Balhousie Castle, which dates back to the 12th century, became the home of the Black Watch’s regimental headquarters and museum during a re-organisation of the Army in the 1960s. An appeal was launched in 2008 to purchase and develop the castle as a permanent home for the museum and redevelopment started in 2012 with the museum re-opening in 2013.

Further Reading

Weeping Window… by day (Liverpool);
Weeping Window… by night (Liverpool);
The Black Watch Castle and Museum

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The Kelpies

The Kelpies

The Kelpies

Date

24 December 2015

Location

Helix Park, Falkirk
NS 90621 82170; 56.01990°N, 3.75630°W

Information

The Kelpies are a pair of 30-metre-high, 300-tonne steel horse-head sculptures standing at the entrance to the Forth and Clyde Canal in Helix Park, Falkirk next to the M9 motorway.

The work was designed by Glasgow-based sculptor Andy Scott (b 1964), who specialises in public art, and it opened to the public in April 2014. The name, which refers to the Scottish folkloric malevolent shape-shifting water spirit often taking the appearance of a horse, was chosen by Scottish Canals at the outset of the project in 2005. Scott, however, developed the theme as a tribute to the heavy draft animals that played such a prominent role in the industrial history of the area. He modelled his 1:10 scale, hand-welded maquettes for the sculptures on two Clydesdale horses, Duke and Baron, who made a guest appearance at the official ‘topping out’ ceremony at the end of construction in November 2013.

The three-metre-high maquettes were laser scanned in order to fabricate the corresponding full-scale steel components. These were manufactured by Yorkshire-based SH Structures Ltd, who also erected the sculptures on site in 90 days. The sculptures stand by the new ‘Kelpies Hub’ turning basin and extension to the canal linking it to the North Sea, both of which opened for boating at the same time as the sculptures opened to the public. The Kelpies cost £5 million and were funded by the National Lottery, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.

The £1.8 million visitor centre was designed by Dundee architects Nicol Russell Studios and opened to the public in October 2015.

On 1 April 2015 The Scotsman newspaper ran an April Fool’s story stating that £2 million of remedial work, which would involved closing the attraction for up to a year, would be necessary to repair rust damage to the foundations of the sculptures. The problem was first discovered, so the story claimed, when American tourist Flora Pilo (an anagram of April Fool!) noticed the horses’ heads sinking downwards in a ten-minute time-lapse video she had recorded on a visit to the site.

Further Reading

The Kelpies (The Helix)

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Cockpen Churchyard

Cockpen Churchyard

Cockpen Churchyard

Date

25 December 2015

Location

Cockpen, Bonnyrigg
NT 31906 64223; 55.86633°N, 3.08963°W

Information

Cockpen Parish Church, situated to the south of the town of Bonnyrigg, was designed in 1816 by Scottish architect Richard Crichton (c 1771-1817), who had trained under John and Robert Adam and was a burgess of the city of Edinburgh. Following his death, however, the church was built between 1817 and 1820 by his former apprentices the brothers Richard and Robert Dickson, who took over his practice and completed a number of other unfinished projects.

In 1975 the nearby parish of Carrington, whose church building was later converted for commercial use, was merged with Cockpen. Cockpen Church is owned by The Church of Scotland and is still in use, although the position of Minister is currently vacant. The church is a Category A listed building.

Further Reading

Cockpen and Carrington Parish Church (Wikipedia)

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Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015

Edinburgh's Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh’s Christmas 2015, Princes Street Gardens

Date

26 December 2015

Location

Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh
NT 25411 73849; 55.95184°N, 3.19604°W

St Andrew’s Square, Edinburgh
NT 25571 74115; 55.95425°N, 3.19355°W

Information

Edinburgh’s Christmas is a programme of events and activities taking place in a number of sites in the city centre from 20 November 2015 until 4 January 2016. St Andrew’s Square hosts the Scottish Market, an ice rink and a show venue The Spiegeltent. Located in East Princes Street Gardens are various funfair attractions – including a Ferris wheel, helter skelter and ice rink – together with a traditional European Christmas market.

Further Reading

Edinburgh’s Christmas

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Fatlips Castle

Fatlips Castle

Fatlips Castle

Date

26 August 2015

Location

Minto Craigs, Scottish Borders
NT 58201 20870; 55.47982°N, 2.66288°W

Information

 

Fatlips Castle

“The original pele tower was built by the Turnbulls of Bedrule in the early 16th century, before being effectively destroyed by the Earl of Hertford in 1545. Very little remained.

“The castle was re-built in its current format in 1857 by the Elliots of Minto. It was modified to designs by the famous architect, Sir Robert Lorimer, in 1897 for the 4th Earl of Minto and was used as a museum until the late 1960s when it was closed and secured.

“The origin of the name is uncertain, but one idea is that it derives from the look of Turnbull of Barnhills. There are other stories, including that of a goat on the dunion which warned of the approaching English, or that gentlemen were traditionally allowed to kiss one of the ladies on entering.

“In 2011 Tweed Forum, with funding from Historic Scotland, the Elliots of Minto and Scottish Borders Council, commenced consolidation caused by major vandalism. The work was completed in March 2013 to the original Lorimer design.”

— Information plaque

Further Reading

Fatlips Castle
(Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland)
;
Fatlips Castle (Wikipedia)

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Born in the Borders Brewery

Born in the Borders Brewery

Born in the Borders Brewery

Date

24 August 2015

Location

Lanton Mill, Scottish Borders
NT 61181 22262; 55.49257°N, 2.61594°W

Information

Born in the Borders is a real-ale microbrewery founded in 2011 as the Scottish Borders Brewery. It is located in a £500,000 visitor centre, which was built in 2014 from converted farm buildings and which also features two shops and a café/restaurant. The brewery is owned by John Henderson, who also owns the Cross Keys Inn in the nearby village of Ancrum. Local water is used in the production of the ales and the barley used comes from the surrounding fields.

Further Reading

Born in the Borders Brewery

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Waterloo Monument, Peniel Heugh

Waterloo Monument, Peniel Heugh

Waterloo Monument, Peniel Heugh

Date

25 August 2015

Location

Peniel Heugh, Teviotdale
NT 65378 26305; 55.52922°N, 2.55002°W

Information

Peniel Heugh is a 237 metre high hill to the north of the River Teviot close to the village of Ancrum. At its summit stands a notable landmark visible from miles around – the 45 metre tower was erected by William Kerr (1763-1824), 6th Marquess of Lothian, to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. The original tower was designed by William Burn and collapsed during construction in 1815. The replacement structure was designed by Ancrum-born architect Archibald Elliot (1761-1823). The base of the monument bears a plaque with the following inscription:

To the
Duke of Wellington
and the British Army
William Kerr
VI Marquis of Lothian
and his tenantry
dedicate this monument
XXX June MDCCCXV

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