Tag Archives: History

Westray, Orkney: Lady Kirk, Pierowall

Lady Kirk 1 by David Gadient, 2016

Pierowall’s Lady Kirk is the shoreside ruin of a 17th century church built on the foundations of a 13th century church.

An impressive aerial view and other details can be seen here:
Westray, Pierowall, Lady Kirk: ScotlandsPlaces

In the far back of some of these photos, you may see a clear case protecting something from the elements; within it are several gravestones dating back to 1657. Sadly, we don’t have a good shot of those to share, but there are photos of them―pre-case―at the ScotlandsPlaces site too.

Lady Kirk 4 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 2 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 5 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk 3 by David Gadient, 2016

Lady Kirk is a beautiful place, resting near the green grass and blue sea.

Lady Kirk 6 by David Gadient, 2016

Another pair of David’s photos (he’s the one who’s taken most of the photos for these Scotland posts). I particularly like the through-the-window one.

One more set of photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1
Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

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Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Orkney, Photography, Religion, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Westray, Orkney: Noltland Castle

Noltland Castle Approach by David Gadient, 2016

While in Westray, David took some photos during our visit to Noltland Castle, the castle built by Gilbert Balfour back in the 16th century. On approach, it seems like an possibly-welcoming Scottish tower house… but then you discover it’s speckled with dozens of gun-holes, has a massively thick wall, and is pretty much a fortress. Now in ruins, it’s welcoming enough and open to all guests.

For the intriguing tale behind Noltland Castle, click here. We were lucky to get the background told to us by Graham of Westraak as we explored the property.

Noltland Castle Exterior by David Gadient, 2016

Quite a few gun-holes, aye. Every approach to the castle is covered. 71 gun-holes, supposedly―more than any other Scottish castle.

Noltland Castle Walls by David Gadient, 2016

The upper level is a hall that remains unfinished. The stonework is fascinating and the color of the stone is quite lovely with bits of yellow and green.

Noltland Castle Interior by David Gadient, 2016

Noltland Castle Interior View by David Gadient, 2016

There are bars to keep you from falling as you wander the castle.

Noltland Castle Newl by David Gadient, 2016

The newel post that greets you at the top of the staircase.

Noltland Castle Courtyard by David Gadient, 2016

The courtyard is a relaxing place, especially on a clear day.

I’ll share more photos from Westray soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae
Standing Stones in Orkney
Westray, Orkney: Part 1

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Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Life, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Standing Stones in Orkney

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

While we have many impressive stones and rocks here in Arizona, I’d never seen anything like the ancient standing stones in the United Kingdom. In fact, I admit I didn’t know much about them until we visited the sites in Orkney.

The Ring of Brodgar is the largest stone circle in Scotland. It’s thought to have once had sixty stones, but now has less than thirty standing (although it appears there are a number of partial stones still in position). They stand out in the landscape; I believe one or two were once struck by lightning. The stones very in height, but the tallest is about fifteen feet.

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

Ring of Brodgar by David Gadient, 2016

One of the stones is off on its own a few hundred feet from the others, and it caught David’s eye before I noticed it. We hiked out to take a look, and I found out later that it’s called the Comet Stone.

Comet Stone by David Gadient, 2016

Lichen is also one of those things I’d never noticed here in Arizona―although it appears that ASU has a lichen herbarium, go figure―but lichen was all over the place in Scotland, as well as on the stones in the Ring of Brodgar.

Lichen by David Gadient, 2016

About a mile from the Ring of Brodgar are the Standing Stones of Stenness, which are much taller but fewer in number.

Standing Stones of Stenness by David Gadient, 2016

Standing Stones of Stenness by Karen Gadient, 2016

There is such a feeling of mystery and history at these sites. I hear Stonehenge is impressive too, but I don’t believe you can touch the stones. Here in Orkney, you can quite nearly touch time. During the windy day we went, we had missed the tourist crowd and had little company beyond the stones; it really was wonderful.

You can see from the photos that the weather shifted around a bit in the few hours that we walked amongst the stones. However, it never rained while we were in Orkney, nor during the previous week when we were in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In fact, we only got rain on the drive to the airport as we headed home―which was nice, since we get so little rain in Phoenix.

I’ll share more photos from Orkney soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral
Skara Brae

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Filed under History, Holiday, Landscape, Life, Nature, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Skara Brae

Skara Brae 7 by David Gadient, 2016

As we’ve been out of town, it’s taken a while to post more photos from our time in Orkney. But here are some from our visit to the Neolithic village of Skara Brae, which is on the Bay of Skaill, west of Kirkwall.

Uncovered by a storm in 1850, Skara Brae gives a remarkable picture of life 5,000 years ago. The site is older than Stonehenge, and has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” because of its excellent preservation.

Right next to the shoreline―some of the village has already been lost to the sea―there are eight stone houses, clustered together and connected by stone paths. Researchers believe it was home to 50 to 100 people.

Skara Brae 1 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 5 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 3 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 4 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 2 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 6 by David Gadient, 2016

Skara Brae 8 by David Gadient, 2016

If you visit Orkney, Skara Brae is truly a place not to be missed.

I’ll share more photos from Orkney soon!

Links to previous related posts:

Our First Day in Glasgow
Glasgow Botanic Gardens
Our Day in Edinburgh
Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay
On a Ferry to Orkney
Orkney Wanderings
St Magnus Cathedral

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Filed under History, Holiday, Journal, Orkney, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Our Day in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Pano by David Gadient, 2016

The first photo is a panorama of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle. It was a bit of climb to get there, but we’d already been walking miles that day, due to hiking from Waverley station to The Auld Hoose first. It was our plan for lunch, because: ‘Home of Edinburgh’s Largest Nachos’. Vegan nachos, in our case. Utterly epic nachos, the size of your head, loaded with guacamole, beans, and jalapeños. You’d think, living in Arizona, that we could get something like that here. Nope. And certainly not with local Scottish beer. So, it was worth a hike from the station, even if there’d be a hike to Edinburgh Castle from there.

Edinburgh Streets by David Gadient, 2016

We walked many residential side streets, but also the Royal Mile. It was a Sunday and crawling with tourists, but that made it all the more interesting. Weather was perfect, despite a bit of drizzle when we’d first arrived.

Edinburgh Castle by David Gadient, 2016

Edinburgh Castle is as impressive as they say. We spent many hours there, all the way up to when they kicked us out (we were actually the very last visitors that day). Although David had seen castles in Europe many years ago, this was the first castle I’d ever been to―well, other than Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley―and that’s not quite the same. Edinburgh Castle is a glorious place.

Royal Dragoon by David Gadient, 2016

A group of German tourists were happy to take our photo in trade for taking their photo… so finally, a photo of both David and I greets the online world!

Karen and David Gadient, 2016

The evening brought our true plans. Aye, many folk go to Edinburgh for the sights, but we went primarily for the beer. Specifically, to indulge in our love for Innis & Gunn. We trekked another mile and spent the remainder of our day in Edinburgh at The Beer Kitchen by Innis & Gunn.

Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen by Karen Gadient, 2016

Innis & Gunn makes our favorite beer. Back home in Phoenix, we have to drive hours to Las Vegas to fill our car with bottles just to keep our fridge stocked. And we do, when we can. But it’s not a wide selection, so we were thrilled to sample all the beer we’ve never tried, including limited edition, seasonal (Espresso Barley Wine, how I miss you), and test series brews.

Of course, we got glasses and t-shirts; we couldn’t figure out how to bring a cask head home. Being vegan, the food menu was all sides dishes for us, but we had no complaints because we were given enough tasty chips to keep us upright and get us back to the station. Well, actually, our server pointed us to a taxi, which was lovely after such a long day of walking and beer-sipping.

Edinburgh Waverley by David Gadient, 2016

So, there you have it. That’s how we experienced Edinburgh. You’ll find that our travels might be different than most, but that’s really what travel should be: personal and meaningful to the traveler. Happy travels!

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Filed under Family, Food, History, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation