Tag Archives: Scotland

Pictish stones and sacred wells – the secrets of Scotland’s Black Isle

The Black Isle is neither an island nor black.  The peninsula lies 10 miles north of Inverness, with the waters of the Cromarty Firth to one side and the Moray Firth to the other.  For a small, sparsely populated place it is … Continue reading

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The real Westeros – Scotland’s Secrets #12

Wester Ross is the informal name for that part of Scotland where the Highlands meet the west coast.  Its borders are not precisely defined, running from somewhere close to Skye to the vast expanse of rock and moorland north of Ullapool.  It … Continue reading

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Surrounded by stones – Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

First, the facts.  At 104 metres in diameter the Ring of Brodgar is the third largest circle of its kind in Great Britain.  It is so large that it is hard to fit all of the 27 surviving stones in … Continue reading

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Ancient Orkney – Skara Brae, Broch of Gurness and Maeshowe

Before construction of the pyramids began on the plains of Giza, before the first monolith was raised at Stonehenge, a small community of people were living in an interconnected series of stone walled buildings on a spit of land overlooking the … Continue reading

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St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney – Scotland’s Viking Church

Orkney is truly remote.  A flight from Edinburgh or Glasgow takes an hour, the ferry from Aberdeen six hours.  The shortest crossings are by ferry from Gills Bay or Scrabster on the far north coast of the mainland, an hour … Continue reading

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Scotland’s Secrets #8 – The underwater treasures of Caithness

Travel as far north and as far east as you can in Scotland and you will find yourself in the county of Caithness, famous for John O’Groats, the geographic opposite of Land’s End in Cornwall and home to the embarkation point … Continue reading

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Scotland’s Secrets #7 – The Bealach na Ba

The Bealach na Ba, Gaelic for the Pass of the Cattle, is the steepest road in the United Kingdom.  It is only three miles long but the climb, from sea level to the summit, is a rise of 2053 feet or more … Continue reading

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Over the sea to Skye – Scotland’s Secrets #6

Despite the famous song, most visitors to Skye arrive not by boat but by road, crossing the bridge constructed in the early 1990s between the island and Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland.  Skye is the largest island in the … Continue reading

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Touching the past on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland

The Isle of Lewis is more populous than its neighbour, Harris. The landscape is predominantly flat and therefore more conducive to crofting, Scottish subsistence farming.  It is also rich in peat, which is still extracted and dried today using methods … Continue reading

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The Isle of Harris, Scotland’s Caribbean

Harris, together with its conjoined twin Lewis, forms the largest island in the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles of Scotland.  As both names for the archipelago suggest, this is a remote place, over 60 miles from the mainland.  It can be … Continue reading

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