Friday, 5 June 2015
In the tourist propaganda, you see Arbroath called the birthplace of Scotland. This abbey was founded in 1178 by monks from Kelso, one in the Roxburgh border-abbey cluster. It took decades to build and the soft sandstone used for carved stone detail has become greatly eroded. Arbroath Abbey became the wealthiest in Scotland, and that was probably partly why it hosted a gathering in 1320 that composed the Declaration of Arbroath, which set forth Scotland’s independence from England, and finally was signed by Edward III of England in 1328. This was very early in his long reign, which lasted from 1327 to 1377. Of course, by the 1330s, Edward was invading Scotland…ah, the conflicts have gone on and on between these two groups….
We enjoyed the town of St. Andrews more than we expected…. We looked at the castle from afar, admiring its “corner lot” above the sea. The tide was out…and this huge rectangular pond revealed…we never figured it out…. In the 1300s the castle was controlled alternately by Scotland and England, and in the 1400s it was held by Scotland. The later history…rather brutal….
We wandered among the ruins of the cathedral, another one with bodies and headstones planted where the building used to be…. This was the east end of the church, looking at the inside of the wall behind the altar. I was surprised how stable this huge section looked, even without the side walls it used to have.
If I remember correctly, this was the back wall of one side of the monastery’s courtyard. I loved the row of benches anchoring it in the present.
Speaking of the present, we found this fellow doing sign-maintenance on a high ladder at a main corner in old-town, near the University.
Also, JCB spotted this rooftop humor…. That is one UGLY rat…it is a rat, isn’t it? Not two cats?
St. Andrews was not our only stop…we also climbed into nearly every accessible nook and cranny of this nearly-unchanged-since-Medieval-days castle, which you may recognize if you’re a Starz Outlander fan…. The real world calls it Doune Castle, and most of the construction we see dates to the late 1300s. Movie-makers have visited here with their cameras for decades…including for the Elizabeth Taylor version of Ivanhoe (released in 1952); Monty Python and the Holy Grail, shot in 1974; and the Game of Thrones TV series….
The title does NOT refer to the Guru and me…in either order….