Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle

“Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near the village of Crathie, 6.2 miles west of Ballater and 6.8 miles east of Braemar.
Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British royal family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. It remains the private property of the royal family and is not part of the Crown Estate.
Soon after the estate was purchased by the royal family, the existing house was found to be too small and the current Balmoral Castle was commissioned. The architect was William Smith of Aberdeen, although his designs were amended by Prince Albert.
The castle is an example of Scottish baronial architecture, and is classified by Historic Environment Scotland as a category A listed building. The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.
The Balmoral Estate has been added to by successive members of the royal family, and now covers an area of approximately 50,000 acres. It is a working estate, including grouse moors, forestry, and farmland, as well as managed herds of deer, Highland cattle, and ponies.

Wikipedia Entry

Balmoral Castle website

Balmoral Castle at the Royal Residences website

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Picture of the Day

Abredoniae novae et veteris descriptio
auctore Jacobo Gordono.
Description of new and of old Aberdeens, with the places neerest adjacent.
Gordon, James, 1615?-1686  

Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Aberdeen Pubs and Bars 15: Grape and Grain

Grape and Grain

“A visit to Grape and Grain the new addition to Aberdeen’s bar scene, confirms why it has become an instant success. Based on Thistle Street it is, quite simply, a haven of elegance and quiet sophistication.
Warm and welcoming, stylish and subtle, relaxing and refined, Grape and Grain is a place to unwind, meet up with friends or catch up with clients to discuss business in an informal atmosphere away from the office; at Grape But what really sets Grape and Grain apart is what is contained behind the bar. Here you’ll find a superior selection of wines, craft beers and spirits. A range of more than 40 fine wines supplied exclusively in Aberdeen to Grape and Grain by the award-winning Berkmann Wine Cellars and glasses of champagne come from the house of Laurent-Perrier.
If you favour the grain over the grape you will find a selection of some of the finest craft beers brewed in Scotland and an extensive range of Scottish botanical gins and whiskies. Grape and Grain is not a restaurant but that’s not say you won’t have a chance to sample a selection of local fare. Scottish oatcakes, cheeses, chutneys and fruit available on the cheese slates and the charcuterie is second to none with rich venison salami to mention just one of the offerings accompanied with some beetroot and chilli relish all locally sourced. Of course, with the CEO of an IT company in charge, the very latest in technology is available at your fingertips with superfast broadband and perhaps that “destination experience” goes just one step further as each of the semi-circular pods features a table with integral charging points for smartphones. Grape and Grain should certainly be on your radar when looking for something rather exciting and very different. and Grain mixing business with pleasure comes naturally.”

Grape and Grain Facebook Page

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Picture of the Day

26th June 2019

Kayaking along the Aberdeenshire Coast

Further Afield: Skara Brae, Orkney

Skara Brae

The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae is one of the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe. It gives a remarkable picture of life 5,000 years ago, before Stonehenge was built.

The Neolithic village of Skara Brae was discovered in the winter of 1850. Wild storms ripped the grass from a high dune known as Skara Brae, beside the Bay of Skaill, and exposed an immense midden (refuse heap) and the ruins of ancient stone buildings. The discovery proved to be the best-preserved Neolithic village in northern Europe. And so it remains today.
Skara Brae was inhabited before the Egyptian pyramids were built, and flourished for centuries before construction began at Stonehenge. It is some 5,000 years old. But it is not its age alone that makes it so remarkable and so important. It is the degree to which it has been preserved. The structures of this semi-subterranean village survive in impressive condition. So, amazingly, does the furniture in the village houses. Nowhere else in northern Europe are we able to see such rich evidence of how our remote ancestors actually lived.
The profound importance of this remarkable site was given official recognition in 1999 when it was inscribed upon the World Heritage List as part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

All the houses are well-built of closely-fitting flat stone slabs. They were set into large mounds of midden (household refuse) and linked by covered passages. Each house comprised a single room with a floor space of roughly 40sq m. The ‘fitted’ stone furniture within each room comprised a dresser, where prized objects were probably stored and displayed, two box-beds, a hearth centrally placed and small tanks set into the floor, perhaps for preparing fish bait.

A rich array of artefacts and ecofacts has been discovered during the various archaeological excavations. They include gaming dice, hand tools, pottery and jewellery (necklaces, beads, pendants and pins). Most remarkable are the richly carved stone objects, perhaps used in religious rituals. The villagers were farmers, hunters and fishermen, capable of producing items of beauty and sophistication with rudimentary technology. No weapons have been found and the settlement was not in a readily defended location, suggesting a peaceful life.
Most of the artefacts are now on view in the visitor centre, a short walk away.

Village life appears to have ended around 2,500 BC. No one knows why. Some argue that it was because a huge sandstorm engulfed their houses, others that it was more gradual. As village life came to an end, new monuments were beginning to rise up on mainland Orkney, including most importantly the chambered tomb at Maes Howe and the impressive stone circles at the Ring of Brodgar and Stenness.isitors can explore this prehistoric village and see ancient homes fitted with stone beds, dressers and seats. A replica house allows visitors to explore its interior, while the visitor centre provides touch-screen presentations, fact-finding quizzes and an opportunity to see artefacts discovered during the archaeological excavations of the 1970s.

VisitScotland

Skara Brae Wikipedia page

Skara Brae – The Discovery and Excavation of Orkney’s finest Neolithic sites

Skara Brae at Historic Environment Scotland

Picture of the Day

25th June 2019

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven

Kite Surfers at Balmedie Beach

Some pictures taken at the dunes at Balmedie Beach on 23rd June.

Picture of the Day

24th June 2019

New Kings, Old Aberdeen

The Battle of Culloden (1746)

Drumossie (Culloden) Moor

Culloden is the name of a village three miles east of Inverness. Three miles south of the village is Drumossie Moor (often called Culloden Moor), site of the Battle of Culloden.

The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

The two forces met at Culloden, on terrain that made the highland charge difficult and gave the larger and well-armed British forces the advantage. The battle lasted only an hour, with the Jacobites suffering a bloody defeat. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle. In contrast, only about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded.

The Hanoverian victory at Culloden halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne; Charles Stuart never again tried to challenge Hanoverian power in Great Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.

The Battle of Culloden Wikipedia Page
Memorial Cairn (1881)

The Battle of Culloden