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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:02 AM
Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:38 AM
Nay, no need for rock, paper, scissors. I AM your Tennessee Volunteer!! I would love to drive and have PammieJ riding shotgun with the map! Although you may have to remind me of the speed limits. I would love to drive on the Autobahn someday, if that tells you anything.
I am loving this tour. Thank you, Nay!
BTW, I too sensed the quiet reverence as we passed through Rabbie Burns country, and your need for a break from behind the wheel.
OK, Gals, whenever you're ready, we're ready!!!!!!
PammieJ (I like that!)
Edited by pamelajane, 15 July 2008 - 07:42 AM.
Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:44 PM
Oh yes, the speed limit is 60mph on single lane and we must all wear seatbelts. Fine for this Aussie but y'all have to wear them too.
So where are we off to from Dumfries? Are we still heading west towards Aryshire or the Isle of Arran? Huh, huh, huh ...
Will we see anything like this at the seaside?
Edited by Nay, 15 July 2008 - 12:51 PM.
Posted 15 July 2008 - 12:47 PM
Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:38 PM
Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:16 AM
PJ wanted seaside and seaside she shall have ... we're off to the bustling town of Ayr (pop: 46 000) with its long sandy beach. There are many fine Georgian and Victorian style buildings here but some are showing signs of disrepair. We visit St John's Tower where parliament was held a year after the victory at Bannockburn and where Mary Queen of Scots also stayed a night in 1563.
Burns was born in Alloway in 1759. At school there, he showed an aptitude for literature and folk songs. Burns composed more than 28 000 lines of verse in 22 short years but died of rheumatic fever at the age of 37. The connection in southern Scotland is very strong and, as a result, Burns' tourism is a primary drawcard.
Red-faced, asthmatic and hobble-footed, the girls lurched back to Ayr for a gelato at Pumpernickel. We made Katie pay big-time for that torture! Nanna-naps awaited at 26 The Crescent.
Then it was time for the beach - splashing, splishing, sploshing and frolicking. However, this did not happen without incident. The Coast Guard was inadvertently called at one stage to account for the vicious white 'glare' coming from the beach (ie. the pale-skinned, sunbathing foreigners) but after much shame and embarrassment, apologies were made and pride was settled. Copious amounts of cocktails helped to smooth it also.
The following morning, the girls forged their way northward along the coastline to Ardrossan and caught the ferry to the Isle of Arran (pop: 4800). This wee' island is a jewel in Scotland's crown. It can be described as 'scotland in miniature' and there is much to see and do.
The girls slept well that night as they knew there was a long day's drive awaiting to Perthshire, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
"Is that close to Gerrywood?" pipes up someone from behind the driver's wheel.
"Oh shite!!!" was the reply.
Edited by Nay, 16 July 2008 - 03:16 AM.
Posted 16 July 2008 - 06:21 AM
You'll hear no more
nagging from me.
For I have happily
seen the sea!
Edited by pamelajane, 16 July 2008 - 06:23 AM.
Posted 16 July 2008 - 09:03 AM
They to stop at Greenock's cemetery to visit the monument dedicated to Robert Burns' "Highland Mary".
Mary Campbell (Highland Mary) was born in a straw thatched cottage on Auchnamore farm, near Dunoon. Her father Archie Campbell was a seaman. In 1773 the family moved to Campbeltown when he became part owner of a sloop which carried coal between Ardrossan, Campbeltown & Troon . At the age of fourteen Mary went to work as an “under nursemaid”. At first she was employed near her home but she later moved to work on Arran with the family of David Campbell, a Catechist who was related to her mother. She then moved to work in Ayrshire. Being a Gaelic speaker she spoke 'English' with a Highland lilt and hence the nickname Highland Mary.
She eventually moved to serve with the Eglinton family and settled in the Castle of Montgomery, near Tarbolton, Ayrshire. Robert Bums spotted Mary in church at Tarbolton, when his family were settled in the nearby farm of Lochlea. They fell in love and Mary eventually went to work for Gavin Hamilton, a friend of Bums.
At this time Burns was known to be involved with Jean Armour. In March 1786 Jean became pregnant. In order to avoid the disgrace, the Armours sent Jean to live in Paisley with her uncle.
To satisfy the Scots marriage laws it was necessary to have a statement signed before a witness. Jean Armour and Robert Burns 'appear' to have 'married', but their certificate was destroyed by her father. This though did not actually invalidate the 'marriage'.
Mary, perhaps influenced by the rumours of Burns and Jean had decided to leave her work in Ayrshire in the early summer of 1786 and move on. Burns was in financial difficulties and contemplating emigrating to the West Indies to work as a bookkeeper, for which he would have received £30 per annum.
There is a theory, that Mary returned to her family in the summer of 1786 in order to prepare to emigrate with Burns to Jamaica. Perhaps this is based on his writing ...........
“Will ye go to the Indies. my Mary.
And leave auld Scotia’s shore?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary.
Across th’ Atlantic’s roar?
Burns’s Kilmarnock edition resulted in his receiving patronage in the autumn of 1786. Emigration was therefore postponed, and finally forgotten as his finances recovered due to the popularity of his work
Burns and Jean were “married” by Scots law, and this required only a statement signed before a witness. However this document was declared null and void. On 14th May she had her final meeting with Burns on the banks of the Fail, a tributary of the Ayr. They washed their hands in the water before exchanging Bibles and plighting their troth. This second 'marriage' poses the question whether or not Burns was a bigamist under Scots law.
In the song 'The Highland Lassie O' Burns wrote .............
'She has my heart, she has my hand,
By secret troth and honour’s band,
‘Till the mortal stroke shall lay me low,
I’m thine, my Highland Lassie O!'
....... this certainly suggests that some type of “marriage” had taken place.
There is no trace, of the bible which Mary gave to Burns. The two volume Bible which Mary received was handed down through the Campbell family to Mary’s nephew, William Anderson. He emigrated to Canada in 1834, and sold the Bible to a group of Burns enthusiasts who were resident in Montreal. They in turn loaned it to the Provost of Ayr, and it is now on display at the Alloway Monument. Although the inscriptions are smudged, sufficient letters remain to read Mary in Volume One and Robert in Volume Two.
Shortly after the 'marriage' Mary left her work in Ayrshire, came to Greenock and then sailed to Campbeltown. In October Mary sailed back from to Greenock with her father for a celebration to honour her brother Robert who was an apprentice carpenter at Scott’s Shipyard, and had just completed his indenture. They both lodged with their cousin Peter MacPherson at 31 Upper Charles Street in the centre of the town.
Robert became ill with typhus, which was prevalent in the Greenock area. While nursing him Mary caught the disease and died on 20th or 21st October 1786. She was buried in the MacPherson's lair at the Old West Kirk yard. Her romance with Burns caused great interest for years, and in 1842 a monument was erected by public subscription over Mary’s grave in the Old West Kirk yard.
The girls also stop by the port, which was built in 1701. Shipping has been a major part of the economy of this city and trade, especially the importation and commerce of sugar, made it very prosperous. It can be seen throughout the city and the girls spent much time taking pictures.
Nay comments to the others that the port seems familiar to her. Greeneyes answers back that this is where some scenes of Dear Frankie were filmed.
The group gets back on the road towards Perthshire.
Edited by GreenEyes, 16 July 2008 - 09:04 AM.
Posted 17 July 2008 - 02:29 AM
The Stirling area is sprinkled with historical landmarks, battlefields and tales of legendary heros. Stirling, the city, (pop: 45 000) lies at one of Scotland's most strategic sites. It was often the stage for some of Scotland's bloody battles against the English. It has one of the finest castles in Scotland and the old town is certainly atmospheric. Stirling is also central to Bannockburn and the area was once home to the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor.
The Old Church, St Fillans.
Here is a taste of things to come ...
Edited by Nay, 20 July 2008 - 02:52 AM.
Posted 17 July 2008 - 06:14 AM
And, ah, to Loch Lomond, as well. But what was so special about that is when we all got out of the car and softly sang "Loch Lomond". It gave me goose bumps. Nay, this is such a lovely journey.
Posted 17 July 2008 - 10:51 PM
With St Fillans as home base for the next few days, the ladies decide to settle into short daytrips into the surrounding countryside. Over a hearty breakfast it was decided that, as yesterday had been such a long day, today would involve a short jaunt into nearby Balquhidder, Callander, Doune and Crieff.
Appropriately, this is a beautiful spot in a deep glen in big-sky country. At the local church are the ruins of an older church within which we find the gravesite of the legendary Rob Roy. It is here that he was interred at the ripe old age of 63. His wife and two of his sons are buried alongside him. There are some other interesting headstones here and a plaque on the wall helps unravel the mysteries. We take our time gazing at the green, orange and blue vistas of the glen and absorb the uniqueness of this pasisonately fought-for land.
Some reading for us on 'The MacGregor'.
The first Gregor in Scotland was said to have been a son of King Kenneth MacAlpin in the 8th century and the clan motto, in Gaelic, means "My race is royal". The clan MacGregor is reputed to be one of the oldest in Scotland and became established in Argyll and Perthshire, in Glenorchy, Glenstrae and Glenlochy. But Robert the Bruce granted a substantial part of the MacGregor lands to his close friend and supporter Neil Campbell. Over the centuries, the expansionist Campbells and the MacGregors were in frequent conflict and as the Campbell's very often had the ear of the monarch, the MacGregors were often the losers. Over the years, the MacGregors gradually lost title to their lands and became tenants of the more powerful Campbells.
In order to survive, the MacGregors, like many other clans, often had to resort to raids on neighbouring land, stealing cattle and anything else worth taking. Since the MacGregor lands were on the edge of the Highlands, there were often soft targets in the richer lands of the Central Lowlands to the south, in Stirlingshire. But they were not averse to raiding other clan lands - in 1558 many MacLarens, including their chief, were murdered during a MacGregor raid.
In 1590, the Clan Chief was held responsible for the murder of John Drummond, the King's forester (who in turn had hanged some MacGregors for poaching) - even though the chief was not involved in the killings. However, he was pardoned by King James VI in 1596. But in 1602, two MacGregors were refused hospitality by Sir Alex Colquhoun at Luss, on the banks of Loch Lomond. This may have been related to an incident in 1592 when the MacGregors fired an arrow which killed Sir Humphrey Colquhoun. But the insult of being refused hospitality had to be revenged and the MacGregors attacked Rossdhu Castle, killed two men and removed a few hundred cows and other livestock. The Colquhoun Chief took the matter to the King. Matters were not helped when the two clans met soon after in a battle at Glen Fruin and 800 Colquhouns were badly beaten by a MacGregor band of half that number. The matter was again reported to the Privy Council in Edinburgh and in April 1603 the name of MacGregor was banned. Anyone continuing to use it could be sentenced to death and the Clan Chief was hanged in Edinburgh.
It was against this background that Rob Roy MacGregor was born in 1671 in a cottage on the banks of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs area of Stirlingshire. He was the third son of Donald Glas of Glengyle and Margaret Campbell. Rob Roy would later use his mother's surname when the banning of the MacGregor name was reinforced. As the son of a senior member of the clan, he was well educated, not just in reading and writing but in the crafts of fighting and swordsmanship. While Gaelic was his native tounge, he spoke (and wrote) in English also. Rob obtained land on the east side of Loch Lomond near Inversnaid but augmented his meagre living there with both cattle rustling and cattle droving. Cattle owners who paid "black rent" or "black meal" (the origin of the word blackmail) would have their cattle protected by Rob and his fellow MacGregors. Since they were often the cattle rustlers, paying to have them protect your cattle could be beneficial.
The MacGregors, including Rob Roy, continued to support the deposed King James VII against William of Orange and Queen Mary. When John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, raised an army in support of James (and his Jacobite cause), the MacGregors joined him. Rob Roy and his father fought at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July, 1689 and although both sides lost many men, Rob and Donald Glas survived. During the following winter, however, Donald Glas was captured on a cattle raid and imprisoned. To eke out their low income, the MacGregors formed the "Lennox Watch" to protect cattle and on one occasion Rob restored cattle which had been stolen (by the MacRaes) to their rightful owner, the Campbell Earl of Breadalbane. This raised Rob's status and he was called on to protect a number of other estates.
With the Jacobite cause getting nowhere, the Secretary of State agreed in 1691 that there would be an armistice - if the Clan Chiefs agreed to sign an Oath of Allegiance. Initially, Donald Glas refused to sign but did so after the death of his wife. But after signing, the Privy Council demanded that he pay the cost of his imprisonment. To help pay the money, Rob undertook a raid to steal some cattle from around the village of Kippen. The men from there resisted and one was killed in the ensuing fight.
Rob was married to Helen Mary McGregor on 1 January 1693 at Corryarklet, between Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond. The designated MacGregor chief died the following month without legitimate heir. He had been somewhat weak and had been chief in name only - Donald Glas, Rob's father, had been the real leader. During a visit to Glasgow in December 1695, Rob was arrested for an earlier misdemeanour and was sentenced to be sent to Flanders. But he escaped and returned home. Despite hard times, he managed to prosper and at least five sons survived to manhood. During this time his reputation as a swordsman was enhanced by winning a number of duels - his long arms were said to give him an advantage.
As a cattle dealer, Rob was making money buying stock in Scotland and selling them at a profit after taking them to England. But after a number of years of success, in 1712 he borrowed £1,000 from the Duke of Montrose to finance a deal. His chief drover, however, appears to have run off with the money. But Montrose believed that Rob was involved in the loss and although he offered to pay back as much as possible immediately, he was taken to court and declared a bankrupt and a thief. Rather than face imprisonment, Rob headed north. Montrose demanded the seizure of Rob's property. Rob remained at large in the Highlands, evading capture and eventually the Campbell Earl of Breadalbane (an enemy of Montrose) gave him land in Glen Dochart. Rob returned to his previous mixture of lawful "protection" and raids (paying particular attention to the lands of Montrose). During this time he earned a reputation for helping poor people who had financial problems with Montrose - earning him a "Robin Hood" reputation.
Rob Roy played a part in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715 - although he and his men arrived too late for the main battle of the campaign at Sheriffmuir which, marginally, the Jacobites won. But hesitation on the part of the Jacobite leaders and the late arrival of James VIII from France led to the withering of the Uprising. Rob Roy was named in the list of those accused of treason for their part in the Uprising but an amnesty was offered to all if they surrendered. In 1720 Rob Roy moved back near Balquhidder (both Montrose and Atholl had given up trying to capture him by this time) and resumed his previous life. In 1723, Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) was in Scotland as an English Government spy and he wrote an embellished account of Rob's adventures entitled "Highland Rogue". This, like the later novel by Sir Walter Scott, helped to enhance his reputation.
The last ten years of his life were relatively peaceful. In 1730 he was converted to Catholicism - he had not been a particularly enthusiastic Protestant and his belief in the Jacobite cause may have influenced his decision. Rob died on 28 December 1734 after a short illness. He died as a piper was playing "I shall return no more" for a departing visitor. Rob Roy was buried on New Year's Day, 1735 at Balquhidder in a funeral attended by many clansmen. His wife and two of his sons were later buried in the same grave. His gravestone has a sword carved on it. The gravestone with "MacGregor Despite Them" was added in the 1920s.
By now, 'tis early evening and the ladies are thirsting for a sit-down and hungry for some refreshments and they find it at Bank, a fine, award-winning restaurant in Crieff offering creative, quality meals with local produce in an intimate setting.
Another glorious day ends and more will come on the morrow ...
Edited by Nay, 18 July 2008 - 03:08 PM.
Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:50 AM
Posted 18 July 2008 - 08:56 AM
Posted 18 July 2008 - 09:06 AM
Posted 18 July 2008 - 12:08 PM
Posted 18 July 2008 - 03:08 PM
Posted 18 July 2008 - 04:29 PM
I must say I'm enjoying the ability to make a cup of tea with toast in the gorgeous kitchen at The Old Church. Have a look at those photos, ladies!
Today we travel to Stirling.
"Hold Stirling and you control the country".We're aiming to see Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument all in one day.
So we begin our circular, 67 metre climb on narrow steps inside the monument, armed with headphones and audio-guide. Here is a taste of the mighty man:
Sir William Wallace (c. 1272-76 – 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight, landowner, and patriot who is known for leading a resistance during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Along with Andrew Moray, he defeated an English army at Stirling, and became Guardian of Scotland, serving until his defeat at the Battle of Falkirk.
The Scotland that William Wallace was raised in during the late 1200's was a wealthy country far removed from the beggarly picture of a nation which English propagandists were to paint.
To set the scene - At the time of Wallace's birth, King Alexander III had reigned for over 20 years. His rule had seen a period of peace and economic stability and he had successfully fended off continuing English claims to sovereignty. In 1286, Alexander died after falling from his horse. None of his children survived him. The Scottish lords declared Alexander's four-year-old granddaughter, Margaret (called "the Maid of Norway"), Queen. Due to her young age, the Scottish lords set up an interim government to administer Scotland until Margaret came of age. King Edward I of England ("Longshanks") took advantage of the instability by arranging the Treaty of Birgham with the lords, betrothing Margaret to his son, Edward, on the understanding that Scotland would preserve its status as a separate kingdom. Margaret, however, fell ill and died at only seven years of age (1290) on her way from her native Norway to Scotland. A number of claimants to the Scottish throne came forward almost immediately.
With Scotland threatening to descend into a dynastic war, the "leading men" of the realm invited Edward's arbitration. Before the process could begin, he insisted that all of the contenders recognize him as Lord Paramount of Scotland. After some initial resistance, all, including John Balliol and Robert Bruce, the chief contenders, accepted this precondition. Finally, in early November 1292, at a great feudal court held in the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, judgement was given in favour of John Balliol having the strongest claim in law. Formal announcement of the judgement was given by Edward on November 17.
Edward then proceeded to use the political concessions he had gained to undermine the independence of Scotland and to make King John's position difficult. Balliol broke his promise and renounced his homage in March 1296 and by the end of the month Edward stormed Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking the then-Scottish border town. In April, the Scots were defeated at the Battle of Dunbar (1296) in Lothian and by July, Edward had forced Balliol to abdicate. Edward then instructed his officers to receive formal homage from some 1800 Scottish nobles, having previously removed the Stone of Destiny, the Scottish coronation stone, from Scone Palace, and taken it to London. Nice chap, that Edward!
William Wallace grew up to become a powerful and sturdy young man, with a height of 6 foot 7 inches and a physique to match. In order for a man to become a leader and be successful in battle he either had to have been born into the rank, or like Wallace, earn the rank by feats of battle. In an era where strength, stamina, endurance, courage and, above all, skill in handling the sword and dagger were of paramount importance in the emergence of leaders - when warlike renown depended so essentially on a personal deeds of daring - it would be impossible for him to be anything less than what he was.
The situation in Scotland was building into civil war. Infighting between rival families and rival towns was heating up, as well as the fight against English occupation. Brawling turned to riots, riots turned to ambush and sporadic battles. Sir Malcolm Wallace was back in the south with his son Malcolm when one of these ambush type battles in 1291 at Loudoun Hill in Irvine saw the death of William's father. This was the start of William's personal resentment of the English which would later develop into utter hatred.
In 1296/97, he was allegedly involved in an event which would later come to be known as Wallace's Larder. He is said to have lured the English occupiers of Ardrossan Castle out of their holding and into the town whereupon he set upon them one at a time. After successfully retaking the castle, Wallace had the bodies of the English thrown into a tunnel which can still be seen today.
Supporters of the growing revolt suffered a major blow when Scottish nobles were forced to come to terms with the English at Irvine in July. In August, Wallace left Selkirk Forest with his followers to join Andrew Moray at Stirling. Moray began another uprising and their forces combined at Stirling where they prepared to meet the English in battle. These hit and run tactics eventually led King Edward to address the problem by executing most of the Council of Barons in the Barns of Ayr (June 1297). This sent Wallace into action, killing the entire English garrison in Ayr, locking the doors as the garrison slept and firing the structures. Wallace and his men retired to Selkirk Forest for safety.
As Wallace's ranks swelled, information prompted Wallace to move his force from Selkirk Forest to the Highlands, though there is no historical evidence to suggest that Wallace ever left the Lowland areas of Scotland other than his visit to France and his trip to the scaffold in London.
On 11 September 1297, Wallace won the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Although vastly outnumbered, the Scottish forces led by Wallace and Andrew Moray routed the English army. The Earl of Surrey's professional army of 3,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry met disaster as they crossed over to the north side of the river. The narrowness of the bridge prevented many soldiers from crossing together (possibly as few as three men abreast), so while the English soldiers crossed, the Scots held back until half of them had passed and then killed the English as quickly as they could cross. A pivotal charge, led by one of Wallace's captains, caused some of the English soldiers to retreat as others pushed forward, and under the overwhelming weight, the bridge collapsed and many English soldiers drowned. The Scots won a significant victory which boosted the confidence of their army. Hugh Cressingham, Edward's treasurer in Scotland, died in the fighting. Cressingham's skin was allegedly tanned and used to make trophy belts and sporrans by the Scots. William Crawford led 400 Scottish heavy cavalry to complete the action by running the English out of Scotland. It is widely believed that Andrew Moray (Wallace’s closest ally) died of wounds suffered on the battlefield sometime in the winter of 1297, but an inquisition into the affairs of his uncle, Sir William Moray of Bothwell, held at Berwick in late November 1300, records he was "slain at Stirling against the king."
Upon his return from the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Wallace was knighted along with his second-in-command John Graham and his third-in-command William Crawford, possibly by Robert the Bruce, and Wallace was named "Guardian of Scotland and Leader of its armies".
In the six months following Stirling Bridge, Wallace led a raid into northern England. His intent was to take the battle to English soil to demonstrate to Edward that Scotland also had the power to inflict the same sort of damage south of the border. Edward was infuriated but he refused to be intimidated. A year later, Wallace lost the Battle of Falkirk. On 1 April 1298, the English invaded Scotland at Roxburgh. They plundered Lothian and regained some castles, but had failed to bring Wallace to combat. The Scots adopted a scorched-earth policy in their own country, and English quartermasters' failure to prepare for the expedition left morale and food low, but Edward's search for Wallace would not end at Falkirk.
By September 1298, Wallace had decided to resign as Guardian of Scotland in favour of Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and John Comyn of Badenoch, ex-King John Balliol's brother-in-law. Bruce became reconciled with King Edward in 1302, while Wallace spurned such moves towards peace. Wallace left with William Crawford in late 1298 on a mission to the court of Philip le Bel King of France to plead the case for assistance in the Scottish struggle for independence. Modern tradition asserts that he served with the Garde Écossaise in France - despite the fact that the Guards would not be formed for more than 100 years - in two battles with the English which history has not recorded and made a side trip to Rome to plead for Scotland, which, similarly, was never recorded.
In 1303, Squire Guthrie was sent to France to ask Wallace and his men to return to Scotland, which they did that same year. They slipped in under the cover of darkness to recover on the farm of William Crawford, near Elcho Wood. Having heard rumours of Wallace's appearance in the area, the English moved in on the farm. A chase ensued and the band of men slipped away after being surrounded in Elcho Wood. Here, Wallace took the life of one of his men that he suspected of disloyalty, in order to divert the English from the trail.
Wallace evaded capture by the English until 5 August 1305 when John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, turned Wallace over to English soldiers at Robroyston near Glasgow. Wallace was transported to London and tried for treason and the execution of civilians and prisoners at Westminster Hall where he was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest that he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, "I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject." With this, Wallace asserted that the absent John Balliol was officially his king. Wallace was declared guilty.
Following the trial, on 23 August 1305, Wallace was taken from the hall, stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging but released while still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of his brothers, John, and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling, and Aberdeen.
The Wallace Sword, which supposedly belonged to Wallace, although some parts are at least 160 years later in origin, was held for many years in Loudoun Castle and is now in the Wallace National Monument near Stirling.
Edited by Nay, 07 September 2008 - 12:55 AM.
Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:01 PM
I wanted to comment about Burns and his Mary. I love a song that was made of his poem Flow Gently Sweet Afton, and I found this information about it, and then the poem:
The music is by Alexander Hume. The poem was presented by Robert Burns to Mrs. General Stewart of Slair in 1791 and appeared in the Scots Musical Museum in 1792. It was inspired by her home Afton Lodge in Ayeshire on the banks of the Afton River. The Mary probably refers to Mary Campbell, whom Burns courted in 1786, the year the song was written.
The Christmas carol, Away in in a Manager is often sung to this tune.
Flow gently, sweet Afton,
amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee
a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep
by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton,
disturb not her dream.
Thou stock dove whose echo
resounds thro' the glen,
Ye wild whistly blackbirds
in yon thorny den,
Thou green crested lapwing
thy screaming forbear,
I charge you, disturb not
my slumbering fair.
How lofty, sweet Afton,
thy neighboring hills,
Far mark'd with the courses
of clear winding rills;
There daily I wander
as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary's
sweet cot in my eye.
How pleasant thy banks
and green valleys below,
Where, wild in the woodlands,
the primroses blow;
There oft, as mild evening
weeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades
my Mary and me.
Thy crystal stream, Afton,
how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where
my Mary resides;
How wanton thy waters
her snowy feet lave,
As, gathering sweet flowerets,
she stems thy clear wave.
Flow gently, sweet Afton,
amang thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river,
the theme of my lays;
My Mary's asleep
by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton,
disturb not her dream.
Posted 19 July 2008 - 10:27 AM
Edited by pamelajane, 19 July 2008 - 10:27 AM.
Posted 19 July 2008 - 02:07 PM
Forgive me for not providing you with a photograph of our trusty vehicle. Will this Jaguar do?
Back to the Wallace Monument ...
Pause and behold ...
Time is spent simply soaking it all in.
But more awaits and so we slowly make our way down through the monument and back to our vehicle. Onwards we push to the mighty and legendary Bannockburn - the site of the greatest victory in the history of Scotland's battle for independence.
The Battle of Bannockburn (Blàr Allt a' Bhonnaich in Gaelic) (June 24, 1314) was the decisive battle in the First War of Scottish Independence.
Around Lent of 1314, Edward Bruce, brother of the Scottish king, began the siege of Stirling Castle, which was commanded by Sir Philip Mowbray. Unable to make any headway, Bruce agreed to a pact with Mowbray - if no relief came by midsummer 1314, the castle would surrender to Bruce. By this arrangement, Bruce may have believed that he had bought a cheap victory; it was now two years since an English army had come to Scotland, and King Edward II of England had recently been on the verge of war with his barons after the murder of Piers Gaveston in the summer of 1312.
Stirling was of vital strategic importance and its loss would be a serious embarrassment to the English. The time allowed in the Bruce-Mowbray pact was ample for Edward to gather a powerful army. According to the historian and poet John Barbour, King Robert Bruce rebuked the folly of his brother, even though Dundee had probably fallen to the Scots through a similar arrangement in 1312. Mowbray had a breathing space and looked forward to the summer of 1314. In England, Edward and his barons reached an uneasy peace and made ready.
Edward came to Scotland in the high summer of 1314 with the notional aim of relieving Stirling Castle: the real purpose, of course, was to find and destroy the Scottish army in the field, and thus end the war. England, for once, was largely united in this ambition but sent the minimum number of troops they were required to by feudal law. Even so, the force that left Berwick-upon-Tweed on 17 June 1314 was impressive: it comprised between two and three thousand horse (likely closer to two thousand) and sixteen thousand foot, at least two or three times the size of the army Bruce had been able to gather. Edward was accompanied by many of the seasoned campaigners of the Scottish wars, headed by the Earl of Pembroke, and veterans like Henry de Beaumont and Robert Clifford.
The most irreconcilable of Bruce's Scottish enemies also came: Ingram de Umfraville, a former Guardian, and his kinsman the Earl of Angus, as well as others of the MacDougalls, MacCanns and Comyns. Most poignant of all came Sir John Comyn of Badenoch, the only son of the Red Comyn, who was born and raised in England and was now returning to Scotland to avenge his father. This was a grand feudal army, one of the last of its kind to leave England in the Middle Ages. King Robert awaited its arrival south of Stirling near the Bannock Burn in Scotland.
The English army marched rapidly towards Stirling to be there before Mowbray's agreement expired on June 24. Bruce's army had been assembling in the ancient forest known as Tor Wood, an area providing good natural cover, from the middle of May. On Saturday June 22, with his troops now organised into their respective commands, Bruce moved his army slightly to the north to the New Park, a more heavily wooded area, where his movements could be concealed and which, if the occasion demanded, would provide cover for a withdrawal.
Bruce's army, like William Wallace's before him, was chiefly composed of infantry armed with long spears. It was probably divided into three main formations. The army might have numbered as many as 9,000 men in all, but probably more of the order of 6,000-7,000. It was gathered from the whole of Scotland: knights and nobles, freemen and tenants, town dwellers and traders: men who could afford the arms and armour required.
Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, commanded the vanguard, which was stationed about a mile to the south of Stirling, near the Church of St. Ninians, while the king commanded the rearguard at the entrance to the New Park. His brother, Edward, led the third division. Bruce also had a cavalry force of some 500 men-at-arms under Sir Robert Keith, which was to play a small but crucial role in the coming battle.
Since his landing at Ayrshire in 1307, King Robert had demonstrated time and time again that he was willing to take risks; but these were always measured and calculated. He had no intention of chancing all on the outcome of a day, as William Wallace had at the Battle of Falkirk. Almost to the last minute he was prepared to withdraw. He was persuaded to remain by news of the poor state of morale in the English army. But undoubtedly the most important factor in convincing him to make a stand was the ground which lay before him.
The Bannock Burn, over which the English army had to cross on the way to Stirling, and its sister streams flowed over the Carse of Stirling. A carse is an area which is wet in winter, but hard in summer, and most of it was used for growing wheat, oats, and barley.
With the trees of the New Park covering Bruce's army to the west, the only approach apart from the Pows to the east was directly over the old road from Falkirk. If this route, virtually the only solid ground on which heavy cavalry could deploy freely, were to be denied to the English, they would have no choice but to wheel right to the north-east, on to the Carse.
To force Edward to take this route Bruce adopted tactics similar to those he had used at the Battle of Loudon Hill: both sides of the road were peppered with small pits or 'pots', each three feet deep and covered with brush, which would force the enemy to bunch towards the centre of a dangerously constricted front. Once on the Carse the English army would be caught in a kind of natural vice, as the main action on 24 June was to show, with waterways to the north, east, and south.
There is some confusion over the exact site of the Battle of Bannockburn, although most modern historians agree that the traditional site, where a visitor centre and statue have been erected, is not the correct one. Although a large number of possible alternatives have been proposed, most can be dismissed and two serious contenders can be considered:
• the area of peaty ground known as the Dryfield outside the village of Balquhiderock, about three-quarters of a mile to the east of the traditional site], and
• the Carse of Balquhiderock, about a mile and a half north-east of the traditional site, accepted by the National Trust as the most likely candidate.
It was on the old road that the preliminary actions of the Battle of Bannockburn took place on Sunday 23 June.
http://www.allposters.com/-sp/LIFE-Bannockburn-Battlefield-Site-of-1314-Battle-between-the-English-and-the-Scots-1955-Posters_i1257510_.htmFor the English, things started to go wrong before the first blow had been struck. Sir Philip Mowbray, the commander of Stirling Castle, who had observed Bruce's preparations on the road, appeared in Edward's camp early in the morning and warned of the dangers of approaching the Scots directly through the New Park.
Mowbray also pointed out that there was no need to force a battle, as Edward was now close enough to the castle to constitute a technical relief in terms of the agreement with Edward Bruce. But even if the king was disposed to act on Mowbray's advice, it was already too late; for he was showing signs of losing control of his formidable but unwieldy host.
The vanguard under the earls of Gloucester and Hereford, appointed to joint command by Edward after a quarrel about who would take the lead - a compromise that satisfied no one - were already closing in on the Scots from the south, advancing in the same reckless manner that had almost brought disaster at Falkirk. Following the line of the Roman road, they crossed the ford over the Bannock Burn towards King Robert's division at the opening of the New Park.
There now occurred one of the most memorable episodes in Scottish history. Sir Henry de Bohun, nephew of the Earl of Hereford, was riding ahead of his companions when he caught sight of the Scottish king himself. De Bohun lowered his lance and began a charge that carried him out of history and into legend.
King Robert was mounted on a small palfrey and armed only with a battle-axe. He had no armour on. As de Bohun's great war-horse thundered towards him he stood his ground, watched with mounting anxiety by his own army. With the Englishman only feet away Bruce turned aside, stood in his stirrups and hit the knight so hard with his axe that he split his helmet and head in two. This small incident became in a larger sense a symbol of the war itself: the one side heavily armed but lacking agility; the other highly mobile and open to opportunity.
Rebuked by his commanders for the enormous risk he had taken, the King only expressed regret that he had broken the shaft of his axe. Cheered by this heroic encounter Bruce's division rushed forward to engage the main enemy force.
For the English, , this was the beginning of their troubles. After some fierce fighting, in which the Earl of Gloucester was knocked off his horse, the knights of the vanguard were forced to retreat back to the Tor Wood. The Scots, eager to pursue, were held back by the command of the king.
In the meantime, another English cavalry force under Robert Clifford and Henry de Beaumont skirted the Scottish position to the east and rode towards Stirling, advancing as far as St. Ninians. Bruce spotted the manoeuvre and ordered Randolph's schiltron to intercept.
Randolph's action was to be a sampler of the main contest the following day: unsupported by archers, the horsemen were unable to make any impression on the Scots spearmen, precisely what happened in the opening stages of Falkirk. But the difference now was that the schiltrons had learnt mobility and how to keep formation at the same time. The English squadron was broken, some seeking refuge in the nearby castle, others fleeing back to the army.
The English army was still approaching Stirling from the south. Bruce's preparations had made the direct approach to Stirling too hazardous. Edward made the worst decision of all: he ordered the army to cross the Bannock Burn to the east of the New Park. Not long after daybreak on June 24, the Scots spearmen began to move towards the English. Edward was most surprised of all to see Robert's army emerge from the cover of the woods. As Bruce's army drew nearer they paused and knelt in prayer. Edward is supposed to have said in surprise "They pray for mercy!" "For mercy, yes," one of his attendants replied, "But from God, not you. These men will conquer or die."
One of the English earls, Gloucester, asked the king to hold back - but the king accused him of cowardice. Angered, the earl mounted his horse and led the vanguard on a charge against the leading Scots spearmen, commanded by Edward Bruce. Gloucester, who according to some accounts had not bothered to don his surcoat, was killed in the forest of Scottish spears, along with some of the other knights. The very size and strength of the great army was beginning to work against the King, as his army could not move quickly and lost a lot of time in getting into position.
Bruce then committed his whole Scots army to an inexorable bloody push into the disorganized English mass, fighting side by side across a single front. A small force of archers added to the misery in Edward's army, which was now so tightly packed that if a man fell he risked being immediately crushed underfoot or suffocated. The knights began to escape back across the Bannock Burn.
With the English formations beginning to break, a great shout went up from the Scots, "Lay on! Lay on! Lay on! They fail!" This cry was heard by Bruce's camp followers, who promptly gathered weapons and banners and charged forward. To the English army, close to exhaustion, this appeared like a fresh reserve and they lost all hope. The English forces north of the Bannock Burn broke into flight. Some tried to cross the River Forth where most drowned in the attempt.
The end had come and Edward fled with his personal bodyguard. Edward's flight ended the remaining order in the army; panic spread and defeat turned into a rout. He arrived eventually at Dunbar Castle, from here he took ship to England. From the carnage of Bannockburn the rest of the army tried escape to the safety of the English Border, ninety miles to the south. Many were killed by the pursuing Scottish army or by the inhabitants of the countryside that they passed through. Out of 16,000 infantrymen, this would give a total of about 11,000 killed. The English chronicler Thomas Walsingham gave the number of English men-at-arms who were killed as 700 while 500 more men-at-arms were spared for ransom. The Scottish losses appear to have been comparatively light, with only two knights among those killed.
The Scottish victory was complete and, although full English recognition of Scottish independence was not achieved until more than ten years later, Robert Bruce's position as king was greatly strengthened by the events at Bannockburn.
Our day is nearly over ... but we have time for one more stop.
"Anyone for a whisky?" CLICK IT!Famous Grouse
Edited by Nay, 20 July 2008 - 02:27 AM.
Posted 20 July 2008 - 02:57 AM
And on the seventh day, God said there should be rest ... or water sports.
Be back soon!
Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:39 AM
Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:42 AM
Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:47 AM
Well, at least we can rest today. No water sports for me! Just peace and quiet and soaking in the Scottish view! Isn't it lovely?
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