Scotland Recomendations

Here are recommendations of the places we went in Scotland and Northern England:

Roman Army Museum
and Hadrian's Wall - I liked this. It had lots of Roman Artifacts. They had a "Eagle Eye" video that showed videos of what the Wall would have looked like. I liked that movie.

Vindolanda - This had a museum to. It had some old tablets that were interesting. I also liked the recreated tower. It was neat to see what it would have looked like.

Chester's Roman Fort - This was a real fort on the wall. Daddy really like the Bath House. There was a building with lots of alters. There a a couple of free exhibits at Hadrian's wall, but we did not go to them.

Warwick Castle - It looked good from the outside! Also in Warwick is the second largest used bookstore in Great Britain. Daddy is still upset that we didn't go there.

Dunstanburg Castle - It has a long an (when it just rained) muddy trail through a golf course, but it is a fairly impressive castle. We enjoyed it.

Jedburgh Abbey - It had an audio tour that got pretty monotonous. This was the least ruined abbey that we went to, but was not our favorite.

Melrose Abbey - This abbey was my second favorite. I liked it because it looked nice, and the heart of Robert Bruce is buried there.

Dryburgh Abbey - This was my favorite abbey because it looked nice, it had an intact chapter house. It cost ten pence to go to the bathroom. There was a little tower we went up, but at the top it was ruined and the steps were about 3 inches wide!

Smailholm Tower - I liked this one very much. It had a good view of the countryside, and was just like a tower in the G. A. Henty books! At the top there was a small landing on either side. I went out there with the rest of the family, and then they went back and I could not open the door! I was scared until after a few minutes Daddy came.

Stirling Castle - I enjoyed this a lot. It was interesting, and I liked the walls and gates, but it had a little too many buildings inside.

Wallace Monument - This was good, but the climb took a long time, and the displays were not very interesting, but Daddy enjoyed the statues and audio of some of the great men of Scotland on one of the levels.

Doune Castle - Doune Castle was one of my favorite castles. It had a neat keep and walls.

Falkirk Battlefield - This battlefield only has a monument and is a little park in a neighborhood. It is not remembered very much by the Scots and does not have a visitor center like Culloden and Bannockburn. Even though there are no interpretive exhibits, it was neat to see where the battle happened.

Dunbarton Castle - This castle was fairly modern, but it had some good views, and I liked it also because it had so many cannons, and because it had a nice setup and good views. It was built on volcanic rock.

Glasgow Cathedral - This cathedral was very large and beautiful, but they were having weddings and services so you can not stay there very long. I did not like it very well.

Glasgow Necropolis - We went here mainly to see the monument of John Knox. It was interesting and had some good inscriptions, but we were not very interested in the other graves.

Bothwell Castle - This castle was not our favorite, but it was fairly interesting.

Argyll's Lodging - Rachel and Mommy enjoyed seeing how some of the court officials lived. There were some interesting maps, construction details, furniture, and dressed mannequins.

Old Town Jail
- This jail was interesting, but we did not agree with some of the stuff that they said there. One thing it said was that the prisoners should not be made to work, and Daddy thinks that they should. Other than things like that, it was fine. I liked it fairly well.

Bannockburn - I enjoyed this battlefield and visitor center very much. It would have been better if you could go on more of the battlefield, but it was covered with people's houses. The visitor center explained the history of the battle and had colorful statues.

Castle Campbell - This was a pretty castle, every though we could not go inside it because it was closed until spring. The hike was not too hard, and it went around and over a stream (which I always like) and was a good trail.

Edinburgh Castle - All the guide books say that this castle is great, but we didn't like it very well because it was too big and there were so many people there. We enjoyed the highlander museum.

St. Andrew's Castle - This was a very good castle. It was large, and had some walls preserved. I especially like the mine and counter-mine. It was interesting that the mine was much bigger than the counter-mine, because the mine was built by the ones who were attacking, so they could take as long as they want, but the ones inside had to dig as quickly as they could to try to reach the mine before it broke through. There was a very small hole where the mines hit, because once there is a hole big enough for a man to get it, they would be killed if they tried to make it bigger. There was also a bottle dungeon.

St. Andrew's Cathedral - This cathedral was ruined, so I did not like it very well. But there was a tower called St. Rules tower which you could climb up. It had very good views from the top.

The Discovery - The Discovery was a very interesting ship. I liked it very much because I had just read the book Endurance about another expedition to the Antarctic. This ship was coming to rescue the crew members because it was built for ice. This ship was recreated to look like it did then.

Killiecrankie - The visitor center was closed, but I liked the battlefield. We hiked down a trail to a bridge that crossed the stream.

Glencoe - We did not like it because it was all about environmentalism and very little about the history. They had a computer game where you got points for picking up trash while hiking up the mountain, and there were not any trashcans in the restrooms.

Dunstaffnage Castle - I liked this castle because it was well preserved, but we did not get to spend much time there.

Glenfinnan Monument - This monument was pretty and there was nice scenery around there.

Culloden Battlefield - I liked this battlefield and visitor center very much. There was a display in the visitor's center about weapons, which I liked. There was also a recreated highlander house. I liked being able to see where the troops were.

Fort George - This fort was nice because you could see what the fort looked like, and I liked the walls, barracks and there were lots of cannons! There were several rooms set up like they were earlier.t

Urquhart Castle - This castle was very big and was right on Loch Ness. There was also a visitor's center with a good movie about the history of the castle. We liked it.

Lock Ness 2000 Exhibit - The exhibit was very well done, but Daddy said it was a little pricey.

Ruthven Barrack
- This barrack did not have a visitor center, a place to pay or anything. It was free. It only had a few signs, so it did not tell you a whole lot about the barracks.

Here is Mommy's favorite picture, taken at Killiecrankie:

One of Daddy's favorite pictures, taken at Glenfinnian Monument:

My (Joshua's) favorite pictures (both taken at Stirling Castle)

Oh, and we can't forget the round-abouts! There were a lot of them (This is a picture of one from Stirling Castle) :

Overall, we enjoyed out trip to Scotland very much. If you plan to drive there, we highly recommend a vehicle with a GPS. It helped us find our way to everything, including the nearest petrol station. When we got back to the condo at night, Daddy would type in the first place we were going the next day so we knew how long it should take us to get there, and could plan what time to get up in the morning. The GPS even told us which exit to take on a roundabout (one of Mommy's favorite features.)

Scotland - Day 14

Yesterday we left from Ruthven Barracks, and drove to Glasgow and got a hotel there. We spent the night and then went to the airport to fly back to the USA. Our plane flight left about 10:30 a.m. Then we flew to Iceland, because our plane flight was on Iceland Air. We could have gone on a tour, because we had to wait for a long time, but we did not schedule it ahead. Then we took off to go to Baltimore. On the plane, Stephen was bored so he took pictures of himself with his camera. Here are a FEW (he took about 15 that he didn't delete. Some of them are of out the window.) He even took one of his cheek, which came out bright orange. He finally fell asleep right before the plane started descending (it was about midnight in Glasgow) and it was hard to wake him up when we had to get off the plane.

Here is a picture of Iceland (from the plane as well)
We really enjoyed our trip to Scotland.

Scotland - Day 13

On day 13 in Scotland we went to Urquhart Castle, the Loch Ness exhibit, and Ruthven Barracks. First we went to Urquhart Castle. Urquhart Castle is a castle on the southern end of Loch Ness. Urquhart Castle was a significant place and before it was destroyed, it was the largest castle in Scotland. For 2,000 years or more, Urquhart castle was of strategical importance to anyone who wanted to control it. The castle was known in ancient times as "the spine of Britain." Urquhart Castle was given to the Durward family in the 1230s. The castle was given to Sir James Grant in 1509. This is a picture of the castle.

In front of the castle was a trebuchet. This is a picture of Stephen next to it.

Stephen did a speech about Nessy, also known as the Loch Ness monster. This is a picture of Stephen giving his speech.

Then we went to the Loch Ness exhibit. Some people think Nessy real and some people do not. Some people think you just can not know. Some stories of Nessy are very old, and are stories of Nessy attacking ships. Nessy could have been alive before and then gotten killed when she attacked a ship. Nessy could just be an optical illusion, which is thinking you see things when you really don't. There are so many different sightings of Nessy that you could not choose what Nessy looks like if you said he was real. Also, a great sea monster would probably need more waters to find food in than just Loch Ness. There are some "fakes" of Nessy that people have thought were true. This is a picture of an imitation Loch Ness floating in a small pond in front of the museum. The exhibit was very well done, but Daddy said it was a little pricey. Then we went to Ruthven Barracks. There was nothing at Ruthven Barracks but ruins of the Barracks. Ruthven Barracks was first a castle that over looked an important ford over the River Spey. It was fought over in the civil wars of Scotland. The first castle was destroyed in 1451, but rebuilt in 1459 as a much grander fortification. It was greatly damaged by Viscount Dundee and the Jacobites in the first Jacobite uprising.

After the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, the government decided to strengthen its grip in the highlands by building a barrack house there. All of the remains of the old castle were destroyed. The Barracks took longer to build than expected, but they were finally finished in 1721. The Barracks were split into two barrack blocks, each designed to fit 60 troops. To the east of the barracks there is a stable. The stable is designed to fit 28 dragoon horses.

In 1745 about 200 Jacobites tried to capture Ruthven Barracks. A force of just 12 redcoats, commanded by Sergeant Molloy, fought them off with the loss of just one man. By 1746 Sergeant Molloy had been promoted to lieutenant, and was still in command when a larger force of Jacobites arrived, this time equipped with artillery. Then the garrison surrendered. This is a picture of Daddy at one of the watch holes (look for the snowflakes against his coat.)

This is a picture of one of the walls from the outside of the Barracks.

This is a picture of one of the walls from the inside of the Barracks.

Scotland - Day 12

Today we went to Culloden and Fort George. The battle of Culloden was part of the 2nd Jacobite Rebellion. That rebellion occurred in 1745. Price Charles Edward Stuart, also called Bonnie Prince Charlie, was in the family of Stuarts. He wished to become king, and was trying to convince the French that they should help him. They sent him with a fleet of ships to England in 1744, but it was scattered by a storm. If that fleet had landed in England, they would probably have took over England and Scotland.

The next year he left for Scotland with only two ships, one of which was attacked and forced to return home on the way. He landed in Scotland and raised his standard at Glenfinnian on April 19, 1745. He moved south and his forces grew to 3,000 men. He began a march to take over the capital, London. His army came within 125 miles of London, but the generals decided to return to Scotland.

They fought the 2nd battle of Falkirk Nairn on April 14, 1746. The Scots planned a night attack, which failed. The English came out on the 19th of April, 1746. Their army was about 9,000, and the Scot's was about 5,400. The Scots formed 2 lines, and the English 3. There was a short exchange of artillery, and then some of the Scottish clans decided to charge. Charles gave the order, but the McDonalds on the left refused to move because they were not positioned on the right. Those who did charge were forced to avoid some boggy areas, and were defeated when they hit the English. The Scots lost about 1,250 killed, 1,000 wounded, 558 captured and the English only 52 killed, 259 wounded. After the battle the English killed all Scots that they could find.

A flag Jacobite at Culloden.

This is the Battlefield looking towards the Scottish line.

This is what the soldiers would have looked like: British (left) and Highlander (right).

This was the last Jacobite Rebellion. After Joshua told us about the battle at Culloden and we walked to all the corners of the battlefield, which took about 3 hours, we left and went to Fort George. The building of Fort George was started in 1748 by William Skinner, who was the king's military engineer of North Britain. By 1757 the main defences were completed and the internal buildings were starting to emerge.

A cannon at Fort George.

The whole fort was completed in 1769, well behind schedule. Fort George was made to have all the provisions of a small town. Fort George is very large, 42 acres. Joshua enjoyed it very much.
The walls are very thick:Fort George is still in use today. We saw some snow flurries even though it was very sunny, but it was cold and windy. We spent about 2 1/2 hours at Fort George, then we went back to the condo.

Scotland - Day 11

March 20 was our first day touring in the Highlands, which is the north of Scotland. The first place we went was a valley called Killiecrankie. This valley was a battlefield in the First Jacobite rising, which occurred in 1689. The Jacobites were Englishmen (mostly Scottish) who wanted to restore the house of Stuart to the throne of England and Scotland. The leader of this rebellion was John Graham of Claverhouse, 1st Viscount of Dundee, also called Bonnie Dundee. He raised the standard of the Stuarts on the 16th of April, with only 50 men to support him. He raised an army and fought the English army commanded by Hugh Mackay of about 3500 with his own of 2500. His men took their position on the top of the valley down which the English would march. Here is the battlefield:

The Scots were positioned on the top of the hill on the left. When the English marched down the valley, they saw the Scots, halted and opened fire with their muskets. The Scots waited until the sun had gone below the opposite side, because otherwise the sun would be in their eyes. When it had, they charged down on the English. The English were broken and the Scots won the victory, but their general Dundee had fallen. He died afterwards, and that is why the first Jacobite Rebellion failed.
This is me doing my speach.

Then we went to Glencoe, which was where a massacre of the Scots occurred. We went to the visitor center there, but we didn't take any pictures because it was all about environmentalism and evolution. Then we went to Dunstaffnage Castle, which was nearby. We got there right before it was going to close, and the lady there made us hurry through because she wanted to leave early. Here are pictures of it.
Here is the courtyard:
The castle was built mostly in the 13th century. In 1309 Robert the Bruce captured it. The gate-house is from the 1800s and not open the the public.
Then we went to Glenfinnian Memorial, which is where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in the third Jacobite uprising. I will tell more about that later. Here is the monument:
Here is the highlander on top:
I did a speech on the landing and then we went back to the condo.

Scotland -- Day 11

Today was Sunday so we did not go to any historical sights because it was the sabbath. We went hiking in the mountains near Loch Murdoch. Here is a picture we took:
Here is Mommy and Daddy:
Here is Stephen:
The hike was pretty cold and we had some snow flurries.

Scotland - Day 10

This day we went to St. Andrew's Castle and Cathedral and the Discovery, which is a ship that was built in Scotland and then went from there to Antarctica to explore. First we went to St. Andrew's Castle.
This is a sketch of St. Andrew's Castle.

A castle was at St. Andrew's at least in 1189, and maybe before. The castle was taken by the English in 1296, but then recaptured by the Scots in 1314. The castle was once more taken by the English in the 1330's. The English were strengthening the castle around 1336, and then Sir Andrew of Moray recaptured it after a three-week siege. The castle probably remained in ruins and deserted until Bishop Walter Trail started rebuilding it.

This is a picture of the Castle from the Cathedral.

The castle was completed about1400. Bishop Trail died there in 1401. There was a mine and counter mine built there when the castle was being sieged between 1546-7.

A picture of the mine in St. Andrew's castle.

We spent about 1 1\2 hours there and then we left and went to St. Andrew's Cathedral. St. Andrew's was first built as St. Rile's church, and was very small. The church was claimed by the Augustinians, and soon they decided it was too small for what the bishops desired. They started making it bigger and ended up building Scotland's largest cathedral. The work actually took 150 years to complete. Shortly after the cathedral was completed, half of it was blown down by a gale. When John Knox preached a sermon there the people got so angry they started destroying the furniture. Later the cathedral was destroyed by siege.

This is a sketch of what the cathedral might have looked like.

After we had been at the cathedral for 1 1/2 hours we left to go to the Discovery. The Discovery was built in Dundee in 1901. Captain Robert Falcon Scott took Wilson and Shackleton with him. They headed for Antarctica and reached it in 1902. The Discovery was frozen in ice until 2 rescue ships went out there to rescue them. We spent about 1/2 an hour there since they were about to close.

Captain Joshua trying to sail the ship

I really liked the Discovery because it was like the real ship, and because you could actually go on it. We ate dinner at a hotel on our way to the condo outside of Inverness in Aviermore in the Highlands of Scotland.

Scotland - Day 9

On day 9 of Scotland we went to Bannockburn, Falkirk, Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, St. Guiles Church, and Holyrood Palace. We went to Bannockburn and Falkirk for refilming because we did not know how to use our video camera. We did not do anything but refilm Joshua's and Daddy's speeches. Then we went to Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle is very old. The Castle was called "The Stronghold of Edyn", until the invading Angles came in AD 638, and they renamed it Castle Edinburgh. The Castle did not become the Capital of Scotland until after 1745. Here is a picture of the gate.
There is a big cannon in Edinburgh called the Mons Meg. Here is a picture of the cannon.Here is a picture of the ammunition the cannon fired.Here is a picture of Rachel and my father walking along the wall.Here is a picture of Edinburgh (the city) from Edinburgh castle.Edinburgh Castle was at one end of the Royal Mile so we decided to walk along the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile was a mile of restaurants, stores, and historical places. On the way we stopped at St. Guiles Cathedral. St. Guiles Cathedral is where Mary Queen of Scots would hear John Knox speak and would want to kill him, but she did not kill him because if she did Parliament would stop giving her money. At St. Guiles Cathedral there were different statues and memorials. One of the statues was of John Knox preaching to Mary Queen of Scots and the Parliament. After we went to St. Guiles Cathedral we went to Holyrood Palace. Holyrood Palace was where the king actually lived. Edinburgh Castle was where the king went when there was trouble. We did not get to go into Holyrood Palace because it closed right before we got there.

Scotland - Day 8

One more thing happened for the last day's post. At night we tried to view the videos of the speeches that Daddy and I had done. And then we found out that we got mixed up as to what as stop and what was go on the video camera (who would have thought red means "on" and green means "pause")! All we had was videos of the floors of castles. So we decided to go back to the places that we had messed up. So on the eighth day Daddy and I went back to Stirling Castle to film and Rachel, Stephen and Mommy went to a house near by, Argyl's Lodging. It was built for a nobleman and is within walking distance from the castle. We filmed and then came to meet up with the rest of them. Then we walked past the Church of the Holy Rude, where it was snowing a little bit, to the Old Town Jail. You can see some snowflakes in the picture of the church tower.
The Old Town Jail was built about 150 years ago. Here is a picture of the door to a cell:
This is Daddy in the office of the head of the prison:
There was a machine for the prisoners to use called the crank that they put sand in for the prisoners to do meaningless work. Here is Stephen using it without sand:
They gave us audio tours to listen to. They had them at most of the places we visited. Then we left and walked while Daddy went to get the car. We saw this statue of Rob Roy MacGregor:
Then we went to Bannockburn, the site of another battle. We went to the visitor center. Here are some pictures:
That is supposed to be William Wallace.
Stephen trying on a helmet.
That is the statue of Bruce on the battlefield.

This is what the statue says:
"For God and St. Andrew Robert Bruce King of Scots Planted his Standard Near this Spot When the Scottish patriots under his command vanquished the Army of Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn 24th June 1314"

The quote below is from a covenant that the Scots signed later in 1320 called the Declaration of Arbroath Abbey. It says

"For as long as a hundred of us remain, we will yield in no least way the in English dominion. We fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor for honor, but for freedom, for that and that alone, which no honest man surrenders but with his life."

The Battle of Bannockburn occurred on June 23 and 24, 1314. It was between Robert Bruce of Scotland and Edward II of England. The Scots had about 8000 men and the English 20,000 trained soldiers. There was a small battle the first day, and then the second day they Scots moved out to attack the English, who were still in their camp.

When the Scots knelt in prayer Edward said, "They pray for mercy!" "For mercy, yes," one of his attendants replied, "But from God, not you. These men will conquer or die."
The Scots ended up destroying the English army, which resulted in Scotland claiming it's independence.

While we were video taping, the camera battery died, so we had to come back the next day.
Then we went to Castle Campbell in Dollar Glen and took a hike because the castle was closed until spring. My feet got tired because it was a very long trail. Here is a picture of Castle Campbell. We hiked up to it, and then down the stream which is in the left side of the picture, then to the bottom of the Glen, and then back up the right side.