Crossraguel Abbey

My recent trip home to Scotland wasn’t all party-party ye ken. Oh all right, MOST of it was party-party, but I did do some sightseeing and cultural stuff too. Despite Crossraguel Abbey being right on my doorstep (25 miles or so away) I had never visited before. I had driven past it many times, but never stopped and went in to explore. We have so much history and heritage around us we get kind of blasé about ancient buildings. It’s only now that I no longer live there that I appreciate how fabulous all of these buildings are what a great job organisations like Historic Scotland do at maintaining them.

I’m not going to go into the history of Crossraguel, mainly because I’d probably get it all wrong and this is a photography blog. I recommend you read about it here:

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/crossraguel-abbey/history/

or here

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/maybole/crossraguel/index.html

Anyway I had a fabulous time exploring all the rooms and photographing everything I could. Unfortunately the main building (the church) was under scaffolding so I didn’t get any photographs of that, but if you Google Crossraguel you can see how impressive it is when not covered in scaffolding.

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Stonework, door and window details at Crossraguel
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Details of the Tower House

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View of part of the Abbey and the Tower House with the beautiful Ayrshire countryside in the background.

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The Dovecote

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Coo’s oan the wa’…. or translated to cows on the wall. Hah, not actually. They’re on the hill behind the Abbey but I liked how they seemed to be walking along the wall. the plaque on the wall here reads “ABOTT’S HOUSE. A series of cellars at ground level originally supported the Abbot’s apartments above.”

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Gravestone

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Actually I’m not sure what this was – I should have photographed the plaque and not just the hole. At first I thought it was a well, but I think I remember reading that it was actually a tomb and it’s just filled with water. I told you I’d get it wrong….

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Inside the Chapter House. How fabulous is the stonework, the windows and the arched ceiling?

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Some broken stone and pieces of carving dating back to the 12th century.

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The plaque on the left reads “A double tomb marker, with two elaborate crosses, a sword, shield and pike. The shield bore a chevron as the main charge, suggesting that the tomb commemorated members of the House of Kennedy.”

The plaque on the righ reads “The tombstone of Sir William Geruan, Priest, who died 9th April 1340. Sir William may have been vicar of one of the Abbey’s churches in Carrick. Note the chalice and paten.”

With the arrival of the Reformation in 1560, Crossraguel’s life as an active religious community came to an end. The last abbot, Quintin Kennedy, died in 1564 and a commendator, Alan Stewart, was appointed by the Crown to oversee the land and property owned by the abbey.

In 1569 Stewart signed over the abbey, its lands and revenues to Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis. According to a complaint later made by Stewart to the Privy Council, his agreement was only extracted by the Earl by roasting him over a fire at Dunur Castle.

Turnberry (more Scottish photographs)

Last month when I was home in Scotland on holiday (vacation for US bloggers) some friends took us out for the day to a lovely restaurant (Wildings in Maidens, Ayrshire – highly recommended!)

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Walking along the harbour wall in Maidens – I’ve always loved being near water, as a kid I was always coming home soaked to the skin!

We decided to have a wee walk along the Ayrshire coast to Turnberry.

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Looking towards Maidens from Turnberry

I have wanted to photograph the lighthouse for years and I finally got the chance.

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Turnberry Lighthouse

We were very lucky with the weather as you can see from the photographs because we got there before the storm came in.

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Turnberry Lighthouse

While I was wandering about the cliffs, deciding on the best place to photograph from, the rest of the gang were being impressed by a couple of cars driving up to the lighthouse – the first was a Bently and the second was a McLaren which really impressed the guys.  I couldn’t have told you what it was… next photograph is one my friend took with her phone of the McLaren and Mr. Alba trying not to look impressed as the car passed him by…

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McLaren, or if you’re like me, ‘A sporty black car’

So we got talking to a caddy, who told us for 3,000 GBPounds a night! you could rent a room in the lighthouse, which comes with it’s own private butler and chef. No wonder they’re driving McLarens and Bentleys!

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Turnberry with the isle of Arran in the background

All of the accents of the golfers we could hear were Americans btw. I’m not sure how much it costs to play golf at Turnberry, but probably the locals can’t afford it!

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Turnberry Golf Course (I think there’s 3 courses here but I’m not sure which one this is)

And of course there’s Turnberry Hotel itself. Beautiful and now owned by Mr. Trump, but I refuse to call it ‘Trump Turnberry’. This blog isn’t political at all and I am aware I’m a foreigner living in the USA but still it’s my blog and I can say it if I want – he’s an eejit….. but he does own a fabulous hotel and golf course!

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Turnberry Hotel

WPC: Earth

In celebration of Earth Day today (22nd April) the weekly photo challenge this week was to show what ‘earth’ means to us. I’ve been very fortunate to have visited some amazing places around the world, which have quite literally taken my breath away, and could quite easily have posted dozens of photographs that mean ‘earth’ to me… BUT, my favourite places in the world nearly all have a common theme to them. I’m fascinated and drawn to water, whether it’s the ocean, waterfall, river or burn (stream)(or creek here in the USA).

Ever since I was young you couldn’t keep me away from water. When we used to go for a day out as a family my parents would drop me off at the local swimming pool and go do whatever they did when they visited a new town then come back and pick me up in an hour or two. Also growing up in the countryside I was never far from a river and playing stepping-stones inevitably led to falling in and wet feet. As an adult and living close to the sea on the west coast of Scotland I used to drive the 10 minutes to the seaside and walk the dog or jog along the promenade if I was feeling energetic. When my kids were born it was a fantastic excuse to go rock-pooling at the beach again and go fishing for minnows in the burn.

My happy place is always beside some form of water or other so I thought that throwing some photographs up of water fit in this week’s theme well. Anyway here’s a selection of water shots from my archives.

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The River Doon in Alloway, Scotland

The bridge in the photograph above is the famous ‘Brig O’Doon’ in Ayrshire where Tam O’Shanter escaped from the witches in the Robert Burns poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ by crossing the stream (seemingly witches can’t cross running water. Good to know!)

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River pebbles at Glencoe

The kids all decided to climb one of the Three Sisters mountains at Glencoe and we waited for them at the bottom so decided to go for a paddle. The water was F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G so we didn’t paddle for long!

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Ayrshire sunset

Sunset at Troon with a bag of chips. Nothing more to add really!

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Beautiful Florida beach

Breakfast with a view. My sister is lucky enough to live on the Gulf coast of Florida so visiting her we can go out to a beach restaurant and enjoy spectacular views like this for free.

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Kauai seascape

Beautiful Kauai. I’ve done a few posts before about my Hawaiian adventures but don’t think I’ve used this photograph. The rock formations formed perfect steps and watching the waves come over and cascade down in mini waterfalls was mesmerising.

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Sea caves in Kauai

I could have stood there all day and just watched the power and majesty of the ocean battering into the cliffs at Kilauea, it was just wonderful. “Wow!” as my sister said every five minutes when we would find another gorgeous thing to look at.

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Kauai beach

And finally a beach photograph. It really is good for the soul to sit and watch the ocean/sea/river/waterfall/burn/puddle. Well, maybe not puddle…

I should have been a mermaid.

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Portencross Pier

Portencross Pier from the bottom. Or from the side I should say.
Portencross Pier from the bottom. Or from the side I should say.

Just another quick post – still alive and kicking but finding myself pushed for time so blogging is taking a back-seat these days.

I love this old pier – it’s so photogenic, but there’s a bloody big hole in the middle of it you have to walk round to get to the end. Good job I don’t have a fear of heights! In the background is the isle of Arran. Arran should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s been called ‘Scotland in miniature’ as it has it all – mountains, beaches, golf courses, 5 star hotels and cheese. What more could you ask for?

Happy weekend blogging friends.

A little bit of Scotland

Greenan Castle, Ayrshire
Greenan Castle, Ayrshire

I’ve been neglecting my blog. And my blogging friends. But I have very good excuses (who doesn’t?) Anyway just to show this blog is still alive and kicking (slightly) I thought I’d throw up a photograph from Scotland I took this summer.

This is Greenan Castle in Ayrshire, originally a 12th Century earthwork and timber fortress. The stone tower was built around the 15th Century.

We really do take for granted all the old castles/keeps and architecture around us when we live in the UK. It’s only now that I live in the USA I can appreciate how lucky we are to have all this history around us.