Tag Archives: blair castle

Historic St. Andrews and Medieval Edinburgh Scotland

We end our trip to Scotland by stopping off at Culloden, then to a picturesque Blair Castle in Pitlochry, historic St. Andrews and medieval Edinburgh. Here is the path we took on our trip:

culloden-to-edinburgh

Culloden

The battle of Culloden in 1745 was the last battle between the Scottish and English. You may remember from my earlier blog that King Henry 8th started the protestant movement after the pope refused to allow him to have a divorce from his first wife. This was in 1521 and during the time between 1521 and 1745, Britan’s aim was to spread Protestantism throughout the UK and to convert Catholics to Protestants.

Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart was a Catholic and a Jacobite (loyal to King James) and wanted the Catholics to regain the British throne. Prince Charles was Scottish and he found backing from a long-standing Scottish alley: France. After years of fund-raising and planning for a rebellion, the battle was short. It took less than an hour for the Jacobite rebellion to be over and Culloden was the battlefield.  Almost 2,000 Jacobites were killed in the brief yet bloody battle.

We visited the Culloden battlefield during our visit to Scotland. Not much remains but an open field and a few headstones that mark the clans that participated in the rebellion.

culloden-battlefield fraser-clan-culloden

During our visit to Scotland, I learned a lot of British and Scottish history. One of the travellers in our group mentioned a Starz TV series called Outlander. After returning from our trip, we began to watch the TV series and really enjoyed it.

It begins in 1945 when a British combat nurse witnesses a witch ceremony that transports her back to 1743, just 2 years prior to the battle of Culloden. She falls in love with a Jacobite Scottish warrior who is part of the planning of the rebellion. Being from 1945, she knew the fate of the rebellion and works to try to prevent it. It is a really cool concept for a show.

Blair Castle in Pitlochry

Our next stop was Blair Castle, a castle occupied by several Jacobites including Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart twice.

blair-castle

The castle is quite a spectacle surrounded by beautiful gardens.

blair-castle-cannon

blair-castle-gardens

Historic St. Andrews

Making our way towards Edinborough, we stopped off at St. Andrews Cathedral, a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1158, long before King Henry 8th tried to put Catholicism behind the British empire.

st-andrews-cathedral

As you can see, it sits in ruins today because in 1559, the new Protestants stripped the cathedral of its altars and images. By 1561, it was abandoned and fell into ruin.

st-andrews-ruins

Just steps from the cathedral is the University of St. Andrews, the college where Prince William and Kate met. They pointed out the coffee shop where they met as we made our way to the cathedral.

Our next stop was at the St. Andrews Golf Course, the iconic Scottish golf course that’s known to most as the “home of golf” because golf was first played there in the 15th century.

st-andrews-old-course

The Old Course is the home of The Open Championship and has hosted this major 29 times since 1873, most recently in 2015.

st-andrews-old-course-2

Medieval Edinburgh Scotland

Our final stop in Scotland was the Medieval city of Edinburgh. It is also the capital of Scotland and the 2nd most populous city. Notice the castle at the top right of the picture below, it is the Edinburgh Castle.

edinburgh-scotland-2

The castle is heavily fortified with cannons.

edingburgh-castle-2 edingburgh-castle

From the top of the castle, you can see the entire city.

edinburgh-scotland-1

Our guide was a stoutly Scottish fellow with a bit of disdane for the Brits. As he told us about the history of the castle, he intermingled British jabs along the way.

edinburgh-tour-guide

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, Edinburgh will feel very at home to you. JK Rowling lived here while she wrote the Harry Potter series. She wrote a lot of the script in a coffee shot on Potter street and was influenced by the medieval look of Edinburgh. The owner of that coffee shop was named Harry. Howarts was influenced by this Edinburgh building:

hogwarts-edinburgh-scotland

During our stay in Edinburgh, we were lucky that the 2016 Royal Military Tatoo was being held. It was an incredible parade of military bands, music, dance and theater. It is held at the base of the Edinburgh castle at the beginning of nightfall. They shine images on the walls of the castle that are in time with the playing of the band. It’s really not possible to fully appreciate this event unless you see it yourself. One of the more moving parts of the show was a lone bagpipe man playing atop the castle.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed following along with our trip to Ireland and Scotland. In case you missed any of the other blog posts, here is a full journey of our trip:

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