29 October 2017
20 December 2015
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.)
25 August 2016
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.
24 August 2016
“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
24 August 2016
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.
24 August 2016
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.
23 August 2016
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.
23 August 2016
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.
22 August 2016
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.
24 December 2015
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.
25 December 2015
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.
26 December 2015
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.
26 August 2015
“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
24 August 2015
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.
25 August 2015
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:
Duke of Wellington
and the British Army
VI Marquis of Lothian
and his tenantry
dedicate this monument
XXX June MDCCCXV