Friday, June 26, 2009

Central Scotland, UK: Summer 2009

This is an area of enormous beauty and variation. It is accessible too, with most major centres within easy reach and yet it feels miles away from the rat race, offering quick and convenient option for washing away urban grit.

Bridge of Allan, Stirling Region

This was almost the first warm sunny day since we arrived at Scotland. We went picnic at this laid-back former spa town.

The river was very clean, but most parts were a bit too shallow to swim. There were midges all around as well.


When i told my brother-in-law that we moved to Scotland, he said, oh, "Braveheart". The movie by Mel Gibson, about the scottish patriot, William Wallace.
This impressive Victorian monument is dedicated to William Wallace, who was hung, drawn and quartered by the English.

St Andrews, Fife

This golf town (it's the location of the world's most famous golf course, the Old Course) has a surprisingly intact medieval layout and dramatic ruins.

The ruins of St Andrews Castle with dramatic coastline views.

St Andrews is nestled into the wide and sweeping bay. St Andrews University was the first university founded in Scotland.

Besides from the beautiful coastline views, i like the most this striking ruins of St Andrews Cathedral.

Falkirk Region

Falkirk Wheel, the world's first rotating boat lift: Raising vessels plus ~300 tonnes of water, 35m in one steel caisson, while descending boats are carried down in the second caisson on the opposite side of the wheel.

Northeast Scotland and West Highlands, UK: Summer 2009

Northeast Scotland

Except 2 of Scotland's 4 largest cities - Dundee and Aberdeen, the countryside of this areas is also a place to meditate the mystery and to relish the royal heritage.

Glamis Castle, the birthplace of the late Princess Margaret (the Queen's sister) and was the legendary setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

The mysterious pictish (a warrior tribes who inhabited here 2000 years ago)symbol stones is thought to be set up to record Pictish lineages and alliances, but no-one is sure exactly how the system worked.
We 'hunted' these stone (they were scattered around) at Aberlemno in the rainy day.
An American woman who was on the mission as us told us that, the Z rod and double discs symbolised sun, the double omega shaped symbol at the top left side symbolised soul and the mirror liked symbol at the bottom right side symbolised wisdom.

The Brechin Cathedral round tower is one of the only three that survive in Scotland. It is of a type often seen in Ireland.

West Highlands

This part of the country is an adventure playground for outdoor sport enthusiasts. The mountains draw hordes of hill walkers and rock climbers in summer, and skiers, snowboarders and ice climbers in winter.

We passed by this loch on the way to Glen Coe. There were many people picnic and camping, but none really swam. We decided to join the crowd. When we got into the water, we knew why nobody was swimming. Eventhough the weather was warm, but at the deeper part of the loch, the water was still icy cold. Real real cold...

My friends said, this scene with a bridge like this, looked like one of the scenes in Harry Potter, which the train took the students to the school.

Glen Coe is Scotland's most famous glen and also one of the grandest. It is also one of Scotland's five ski resorts.
We suspected the whitish 'chunk' that we saw on the top of the glen was snow, which haven't melt down since winter.

The West Highlands areas meet exactly my expectations towards Scotland. Mountains, lakes and greens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK: 24 May 2009

Gorgeous Edinburgh

i totally agree that, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and the most beautiful one i have ever visited in UK. The city is big, but not as massive as in London. Every where within the city centre is just within the walking distance. i would say that, i feel lucky to had my wedding pictures taken here. :)

Edinburgh Old Town Street stretches along a ridge to the east of the castle. It is a jagged and jumbled maze of masonry riddled with alleys and narrow lane, stairs and vaults. The renovated Old Town today is crammed with cafes, restaurants, bars, backpakers and souvenir shops.

There are quite a number of "Ghost Tour" to explore the tunnels or churches in the Old Town.

The street performers at the Royal Mile. The mile-long street earned its regal nickname in the 16th century when it was used by the king to travel beteen the castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

St Giles Cathedral was named after the patron saint of cripples and beggars. The interior lacks grandeuar but is rich in history: It was at the heart of Scottish reformation.

Edinburgh Castle from Elephant House cafe. The cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter before she became famous.

The panorama view of Edinburgh from Calton Hill.

Glasgow, Scotland, UK: 16 May 2009

Party Glasgow

i like the people in Glasgow, i think even in a big city like this, people are still the friendly Scottish. However i do not really enjoy the famous pub scenes here, likely to because of we are non-drinker. There are just one pub every ten steps in the city centre and people started to drink and get drunk since mid-day.

The pedestrians walking street is one of the heavens for shopaholic in Glasgow. Glasgow is said to be the UK's largest retail contingency outside London.

Gallery of Modern Art have its focal point in the social issues. It can be interesting to see some thought-provoking artistic interpretations of the more marginalised people in today's society.

George Square and the beautiful historical city council.

We get the impression that, after Merchant City, the East end of the city is kind of more run-down.

The Barras, Glasgow's flea market. It closes around mid-day. We were there a bit too late. What we saw was just the empty street full with rubbish, some drunk men and a few patrol policemen. We don't feel particular safe here.

Glasgow Green, near to the rejuvenated River Clyde.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, Scotland: Summer 2009

Water, Forest, Cold ...


It rained continuously for 6 days on/off when we just moved to Scotland. It was cold and wet all the time. Somehow, we were lucky to find a flat by ourselves for short term, near to Stirling, below the Orchil Hills, in a small peaceful village called Tillicoultry.

This is our neighbourhood. We could just hike up to the hills as we want. The foot path to go up is 5 minutes from our house.

There are hills and of course there is a river!
The river is just right beside of the road after the first left/right turns to our house.

The small park just below of the hills.
This place is so quiet that, there is even no wireless internet around the areas.
If i switch on my macbook in Cardiff or Brighton, it can detect at least 10 wireless networks.
Overhere, we are the only house where there is internet connection.

Callander, Scotland: 10 May 2008

When KY and KL came to visit us, they told us that, their tour guide said, Callander is a place for old people. May be that is true. The town is of medium size, with mountains for easy hike and water falls / rivers to chill out.

From the small village that we stay, we drove by Bridge of Allan and Doune to go to Callander. It took around 1 hour. On the way, there is a wind field. It seems like there are quite a few wind fields around Scotland. We normally see it along the highway.

Unlike the other part of UK, there is forest in Scotland. It was so pleasant to just walk in the fresh cold air in the forest. The walk was straight forward and easy.

We arrived at Bracklinn falls with our swimming wears in the beg, wanted to brave the cold water at this time. However, there were no way to go down to the falls. The hike stopped above at the falls where we could only look and not able to touch the water at all.

A pool which could be just nice to swim, but couldn't go down there! We ended up just picnic.