Islay Day 1 – Boat and Port Wemyss

Last weekend Terry and I headed over to Kennacraig to catch the ferry to Islay. We had planned to take our car but earlier in the week CalMac decided to put one of it’s ferries into dry dock for repair. This meant there was only one ferry to Islay. We were booked on the ferry crossing that was cancelled. Instead of waiting on CalMac sorting out alternatives I organised a car hire on Islay and we would be foot passengers – I got my money back on my car booking from CalMac. So early – 7.30am- on Friday morning we set off for Kennacraig.

We made good time and decided to stop at Lomond Shores for a coffee. No luck it does not  open until 10am so it was back in the car. We then stopped at Luss. As Terry was trying to park the car, tourists were just wandering in front of us or even worse stopping in the middle of the car park unaware of the car. We parked and paid for 45 minutes parking – yes you have to pay to park in Luss plus it costs to go to the toilet! A coffee and wander down to the loch shore before heading off.

We got to Kennacraig in plenty of time for the ferry. After a quick bite to eat I got outside to take some photos.

Once we landed we collected our hire car and drove to our accommodation for the next few days Kentraw Farmhouse.

After a quick coffee and a snack we headed out for a drive. We stopped at Port Wemyss. What caught our eye was the lighthouse – Rinns of Islay Lighthouse. The lighthouse is situated on the small Island of Orsay off the south coast of Islay. Rinn is the Gaelic for point.

We walked along the shore and came across a seal on the rocks.


Dinner on our first night was at Yans Kitchen in Port Charlotte.



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New Calton Burial Ground

On Sunday Terry I had a wander round the New Calton Burial Ground.

The New Calton Burial Ground was built as an overspill and replacement to the Old Calton Burial Ground and lies on the south-east slopes of Calton Hill. It has views to Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament Building and Arthur’s Seat.

The burial ground is full of interesting graves.

As we walked up the hill I spotted the grave of Andrew Skene. He was born in Aberdeen on 28th February 1784 and died in Edinburgh 2nd April 1835, aged 51. He was elected Solicitor General for Scotland in 1834. The marble monument was sculpted by Patric Park.

In the far left corner as we walked up the hill there is an imposing watchtower which was built to protect against grave robbing.

The tower was certainly occupied as a house for most of its history. Despite being tiny (around 5m diameter internally) it is said to have accommodated a family of ten at one time: parents sleeping on the central floor (the livingroom), daughters on the top floor, sons on the lower floor. Adjacent empty plots were utilised as garden ground to grow vegetables. The remnant rhubarb patch was still extant until the mid 1980s. Source – New Calton Burial Ground

Just up from the watch tower is the grave of William F Townsend. I haven’t found out anything about him but looking at his grave he must have been an artist or musician.

2016-07-24 19.31.28Another grave we saw was that of Scottish Poet, William Knox. He is known for writing Abraham Lincoln’s favourite poem, Mortality, which Lincoln would recite from memory.

Knox farmed unsuccessfully before becoming a writer. He was supported by Christopher North and Sir Walter Scott.

Knox died aged 36.




The burial ground has many tombs and other interesting gravestones.



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Crichton Castle

On Friday afternoon Terry and I decided to go for a walk at Crichton Castle.

Crichton Castle is a  large and sophisticated castle with a spectacular facade of faceted stonework in an Italian style added, following a visit to Italy, by the Earl of Bothwell between 1581 and 1591.

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The Pineapple

After visiting Doune Castle and Castle Drummond Gardens – check out my other blog Outlander adventures – I decided to visit The Pineapple just outside Airth. After a missed turn I found it.

The bizarre structure was build in 1761 as a folly to enjoy the fantastic views. Today the National Trust for Scotland and Landmark Trust manage the property. It is possible to stay in The Pineapple but only the grounds are open for viewing.

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On a bright sunny Monday afternoon I went for a walk with my camera at Prestongrange.

Prestongrange is a free open-air museum. With both indoor and outdoor areas it is a great place to visit no matter the weather.

For centuries Prestongrange was a place of intense industrial activity.  A harbour, glass works, pottery, colliery and brickworks have all left their marks on the landscape.  Cradled by woodland with views out over the Forth the site is now a haven for wildlife where you are free to roam and explore monumental relics of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

Discover giant machines such as the pit head winding gear and a Cornish beam engine, fantastic structures like the powerhouse and a vast brick kiln as well as coal wagons, a steam crane and much more besides. Source – Prestongrange

Hoffman Kiln.

Cornish Beam Engine and Power house.

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Fisherrow Harbour

Tonight we went for a walk round Fisherrow Harbour. The photos were taken about 7-8pm.

Some information on the harbour – Fisherrow Harbour

A fishing harbour existed at Fisherrow by 1592. On Adair’s map of 1703 the east pier only is marked. The harbour was rebuilt from 1743 and ‘lately built’ by 1753. Numerous repairs and alterations took place to 1843, when the west pier was built new on old foundations to a plan by Robert Stevenson & Sons by W. Kinghorn of Leith for £1685. This was about 460 ft long and a round head was added in 1939. An experiment to clear the harbour of silt and sand was tried in 1835 when an arched opening was constructed in the east pier to allow tidal currents to scour the harbour bottom. This was not sufficiently successful and the opening was closed in 1838. The masonry comprises mainly random red sandstone blocks, rather better-dressed on the west pier.

The tide was out. Boats in the harbour.

View from the harbour.

Fishing pots.

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Graveyard at the end of Princes Street

Before meeting Terry for lunch I went for a brief walk through the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s at the end of Princes Street.

For much of its existence St Cuthbert’s was a country kirk, outwith the city wall and in the county of Lothian and Tweeddale. In the reign of King David I of Scotland (1124 – 1153), Edinburgh was clustered on the ridge which runs eastwards from the Castle. All along the foot of the northern slope of the Castle rock was a morass or marsh and from there northwards it was all countryside until one came to Newhaven and Leith on the coast.

The Kirk below the Castle of Edinburgh has a claim to great, but imprecise, antiquity. One theory about its origins is that St Cuthbert journeyed from Melrose and stayed awhile in the sheltered hollow below the Castle rock. Another view is that the Church came into being only fifty years before the 1127 Charter. Simeon of Durham, in 1130, wrote of a church in Edwin’s Burgh in 854 but whilst some believe it was St Cuthbert’s others think St Giles.

Visitors to the large and extensive churchyard can ask a church representative to locate someone – perhaps a distant ancestor – whose grave they would like to visit. The grave number is in the index books and referred to on the churchyard map.

The land lying immediately around the Church has been a place of Christian burial for a thousand years.Only one stone, however, that of Rev Robert Pont, who died in 1606, remains from earlier days. Except in unusual circumstances, interments ceased at the end of the 19th century.

There is a record of over 1000 graves and this was the work of John Smith:

“Monumental Inscriptions in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard, Edinburgh, compiled by John Smith, edited by Sir James Balfour Paul, CVO, LLD 1915”.

The work came too late to record many of the inscriptions but enough remain visible to reward the scrutiny of the interested visitor.  Source – St Cuthbert’s Kirk

While I wandered I took some photos.

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