“The Cairngorms National Park covers an area of 1,748 sq miles in the council areas of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus and Perth and Kinross. The mountain range of the Cairngorms lies at the heart of the national park, but forms only one part of it, alongside other hill ranges such as the Angus Glens and the Monadhliath, and lower areas like Strathspey and upper Deeside. Three major rivers rise in the park: the Spey the Dee and the Don. The Spey, which is the second longest river in Scotland, rises in the Monadhliath, whilst the Dee and the Don both rise in the Cairngorms themselves.
The Cairngorms themselves are a spectacular landscape, similar in appearance to the Hardangervidda National Park of Norway in having a large area of upland plateau. The range consists of three main plateaux at about 1000–1200 m above sea level, above which domed summits (the eroded stumps of once much higher mountains) rise to around 1300 m. Many of the summits have tors, free-standing rock outcrops that stand on top of the boulder-strewn landscape. The edges of the plateaux are in places steep cliffs of granite and they are excellent for skiing, rock climbing and ice climbing. The Cairngorms form an arctic-alpine mountain environment, with tundra-like characteristics and long-lasting snow patches.
The Monadhliath Mountains lie to the north of Strathspey, and comprise a bleak, wide plateau rising to between 700 and 950 m.
Two major transport routes run through the park, with both the A9 road and the Highland Main Line crossing over the Pass of Drumochter and running along Strathspey, providing links between the western and northern parts of the park and the cities of Perth and Inverness. The Highland Main Line is the only mainline rail route through the park, however there are several other major roads, including the A86, which links Strathspey to Fort William, and the A93, which links the Deeside area of the park to both Perth and Aberdeen.”Wikipedia Page
“The Brig o’ Balgownie (originally Bridge of Don) is a 13th-century bridge spanning the River Don in Old Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.Wikipedia Page
Construction of the bridge was begun in the late 13th century by Richard Cementarius, although its completion was not until 1320 at the time of the Scottish War of Independence. After falling into disrepair in the mid 16th century it was extensively renovated in 1605.
Throughout its history the bridge has been considered an important asset. For five centuries possession of the bridge was the only way to move large armies quickly along the eastern coast of Aberdeenshire. It also provided a trade route to the wealthy areas of the north-east of Scotland.
The bridge is constructed of granite and sandstone. Its single gothic arch has span of over 12 metres and at low tide the apex of the arch lies over 17 metres above the water-line.”
Local legend suggests that this bridge was started by Bishop Henry Cheyne in the late 13th or early 14th century and completed by Robert the Bruce. Whilst this may or may not be true, historical documents show that the bridge we see today was the result of rebuilding work in three phases in the early 17th century.
This was the main crossing on the Don leading to the north from Aberdeen and vice versa prior to the construction of the adjacent Bridge of Don in 1831. Today the Brig o’ Balgownie is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
It is situated over a deep pool known as the Black Neuk. It has attracted much interest from various sources and features in Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)’s poem, Don Juan:
“As ‘Auld Lang Syne’ brings Scotland, one and all,VisitAberdeenshire
Scotch plaids,Scotch snoods, the blue hills, and clear streams,
The Dee, the Don, Balgounie’s brig’s black wall,
All my boy feelings, all my gentler dreams
Of what I then dreamt, clothed in their own pall,
Like Banquo’s offspring; – floating past me seems
My childhood in this childishness of mine:
I care not – ’tis a glimpse of ‘Auld Lang Syne.”
|Brig o’ Balgownie at The Doric Columns|
“Braemar is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around 58 miles (93 km) west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. It is the closest significantly-sized settlement to the upper course of the River Dee sitting at an altitude of 339 metres (1,112 ft).Wikipedia Page
The Gaelic Bràigh Mhàrr properly refers to the area of upper Marr (as it literally means), i.e. the area of Marr to the west of Aboyne, the village itself being Castleton of Braemar (Baile a’ Chaisteil).”
“Braemar is situated in the heart of the outstanding landscape of the Cairngorms National Park in the highest and most mountainous parish in the UK.
Surrounded by mountains, heather moorland, pine and birchwood, it spans the rocky gorge of the Clunie water. For generations, the scenery and pure mountain air have attracted visitors. They come to enjoy walking, climbing, wildlife watching, cycling, canoeing, fishing, stalking, golf and skiing. Within close proximity to over a quarter of Scotland’s Munro’s, the area has been the inspiration for countless writers, artists and photographers and many visitors return again and again.
A cohesive and supportive community of around 450 inhabitants, the village is known around the world for the annual Braemar Gathering. The event attracts around 15,000 people on the first Saturday in September each year and has the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.
Braemar is situated on the tourist route from Perth to Aberdeen, which climbs over the Cairnwell Pass, the highest through road in the country and follows the River Dee along its picturesque valley. Surrounded by unspoilt and unpopulated countryside, it is however within an hour and a half’s drive of three major cities, Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen
Almost all Braemar is now a conservation area. The village is compact with a mix of grand Victorian houses, modest cottages, narrow roads and lanes and retains a unique character.”BraemarScotland
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 23 miles southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 16 metres 52 feet above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as “Nessie”.
It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness, ultimately leading to the North Sea via the Moray Firth. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil.Loch Ness Wikipedia Page
The impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle-located just a few minutes from Drumnadrochit-stand on a tongue of land jutting out into Loch Ness. Set against the backdrop of lake and mountain, the castle, once one of Scotland’s largest fortifications, is at the center of many ancient myths. Dating from the 12th century, it was a typical example of a motte and bailey fortification, but in the 14th century, stone walls replaced the original wooden structure.
Then in 1509, James IV gave the castle to John Grant of Freuchie, who commissioned the extension to the keep, and at the end of the 17th century, the fortified castle fell victim to a fire. Often making appearances in TV shows and movies, the castle was recently featured in an episode of the TV series Outlander . Today, visitors can enjoy on-site facilities including a café, gift shop, and stunning views of the loch.Visiting Loch Ness: 8 Top Attractions & Tours
1st July 2019
“The Coat of Arms of Aberdeen consists of three towers within a border decorated with fleurs-de-lis. This design is known to have been used on city seals from the 15th century onwards, if not earlier.
The three towers represent the three buildings that stood on the three hills of mediaeval Aberdeen: Aberdeen Castle on Castle Hill, the city gate on Port Hill, and a chapel on St Catherine’s Hill. The latter two are no longer in existence, and St Catherine’s Hill has in fact been levelled.
The border of fleurs-de-lis, or royal tressure as it is described in heraldry, derives from the royal arms of Scotland, and was traditionally said to have been granted to the city by Robert the Bruce as a mark of royal favour, but may only date from the reign of James I.
In 1672, the Parliament of Scotland passed an act requiring all persons or bodies using arms to record them in a register maintained by Lord Lyon King of Arms. Accordingly, the arms of the “Royall Burgh of Aberdein” were recorded in the Lyon Register on February 25, 1674.
The blazon was given as: gules, three towers triple-towered within a double-tressure counterflowered argent. Supported by two leopards proper; and in an escrol above “Bon Accord”Wikipedia Page
The spellbinding stone circle – the Ring of Brodgar – is arguably the most iconic symbol of Orkney’s prehistoric past. It is a site of ritual and ceremony, and hauntingly beautiful.Orkney.com
The Ring of Brodgar is an archaeological treasure and without doubt one of the islands’ most visited attractions. It can be found in a magical landscape that is the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most photographed attractions in Orkney – particularly at sunset. The ring was built around 2500-2000BC and covering an area of almost 8,500 square metres it is the third largest stone circle in the British Isles – just pipped by Avebury and Stanton Drew.
Sitting within a natural amphitheatre of hills and surrounded by a ditch, 27 of the original 60 stones survive today and the guided tour of the site by Historic Scotland is highly recommended to discover the secrets of the ring. According to legend, it was a religious shrine and possibly a place of ritual, while others believe the ring was built for the astronomical observation of the equinox and solstice. The truth is, we don’t know for sure which only adds to the mystique.
Nearby, the solitary Comet Stone keeps a watchful eye, while just one mile from the site the Standing Stones of Stenness cast their spell. Four giant megaliths, at a towering six metres, date back to 3100BC making it one of the oldest stones circles in Britain. Close by, the Barnhouse settlement reveals an excavated group of house dwellings dating from 3300-2600BC.
The Ring of Brodgar comprises:Historic Environment Scotland
– A massive stone circle, originally consisting of 60 stones
– At least 13 prehistoric burial mounds
– A large rock-cut ditch surrounding the stone circle
The Scottish geologist Hugh Miller, visiting in 1846, wrote that the stones ‘look like an assemblage of ancient druids, mysteriously stern and invincibly silent and shaggy’.
The Ring of Brodgar is part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, a series of important domestic and ritual monuments built 5000 years ago in the Orkney Islands.