Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Travel Tuesday

A beautiful day in Brisbane - so I thought I would share some thoughts about my last trip to Scotland in 2008. Unfortunately I had not confirmed the location of my Cameron ancestors, apart from the fact they came from Argyll, when I journeyed there.

Rhododendrons at Rosslyn 
I had attended a conference in Edinburgh and drove south towards the border with a friend to visit Rosslyn Chapel, 8 miles from Edinburgh, (just had to visit) and Melrose Abbey. It was a beautiful summer's day (July) and fortunately there was not a big crowd at Rosslyn. The chapel choir was rehearsing for a ceremony while we visited so we were able to sit for a while and take in the atmosphere of the Chapel. Sitting there it was entirely probable that the Knights Templar had hidden secrets there, as per Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

Pillar - with Green Man in centre
Carvings in the Chapel are amazing, how those early stonemasons managed the designs and execution of the patterns. Everywhere we looked there were more intricate and different carvings.

After Rosslyn we drove south to the ruins of Melrose Abbey, 48 miles from Edinburgh, about an hour's drive. The day was still beautiful, blue sky and a gentle breeze. We stopped for lunch at Melrose and sat on an old tombstone in the garden to enjoy the sunshine before exploring the Abbey.

Foxgloves at Melrose
St Mary's Abbey, Melrose is a partly ruined monastery of the Cistercian order  in the Scottish Borders. It was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks on the request of King David I of Scotland, and was the chief house of that order in the country until the Reformation. (Wikipedia).
Window - Melrose Abbey

Somehow when I am in the Northern Hemisphere I cannot resist photographing flowers. I don't seem to notice them so much at home, perhaps they are different of perhaps I have more time when I am travelling. 

A considerable part of the Abbey is now in ruins, but enough remains to get a good impression of the life of the monks. The abbey is also thought to be the burial place of Robert the Bruce's heart, it is marked with a  stone plaque within the grounds.

The most endearing part of the visit was the wonderful reception given by the learned members of the Historic Scotland staff whose welcome could not be warmer. They were just as friendly at the exit putting a smile on everyone's face as we made our way in to town. All this in an historic town sitting, as does in the shadow of the graceful Eildon Hills so named by the Roman solders as Trimontium meaning three hills. Melrose really is a wonderful town with so much to see but the great Abbey of St. Mary is, without doubt, the jewel in the crown.

After Melrose we drove across to Berwick-on-Tweed on the east coast via St Boswell, Coldstream and Norham. By then it was growing dull and threatening rain but we stopped for ice cream (as you do on the coast) and travelled back to Edinburgh via the A697 and A68. Exhausted but happy and ready for a gin and tonic, with ice please.

Edinburgh - Rosslyn Chapel - Melrose Abbey

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