Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland – Part 2

Dryburgh Abbey is a wonderfully preserved ruin, and one of four major abbeys in the area, including Melrose, Jedburgh, and Kelso. However, it is the only one of the four that can claim the honor of being Sir Walter Scott’s final resting place.





Scott’s final resting place is very near his home, Abbotsford. It is well worth visiting for any number of reasons, but seeing the beauty here is reason enough.


Kintyre of Scotland

Kintyre is a narrow peninsula in western Scotland. Its principal city is Campbeltown. To be honest, we wouldn’t have normally chosen to go to Campbeltown, but we still had some time before we had to fly back home, and so we were looking for places to drive to. We had visited Mull, Iona, and Skye on a previous trip, so decided to drive down Kintyre.

A storm was coming in that night, so we were able to see some dramatic tidal action.








All in all, it was a very pleasant drive, and nice to view a section of Scotland, previously unseen. If we had it to do over again, we definitely would choose to do it, again. A perfectly lovely experience.

Robert Burns’ Hometown (Alloway) – Part 2

Alloway, the hometown of poet Robert Burns, has several prominent fixtures within this sweet and quiet town.

My personal favorite, however, is the Bridge of Doon, or Brig o’ Doon.

It’s literally an old bridge over the River Doon, but it is in such a gorgeous setting, over a beautiful river, in sight of a gentle village, and below the Robert Burns Monument, it is just a wonderful piece of historic beauty.

This is our third visit to this particular bridge. We’ve brought family with us to see it, and stopped to enjoy it on our own. There’s just something about it.

View from the near side.


View from the front.


Off one side of the bridge.


Off the other side.


View from the far side of the bridge.


This bridge is the one featured in Robert Burns’ poem, Tam o’ Shanter. Lots of character, and plenty of charm!

Next up:
Part III: Robert Burns Monument

Robert Burns’ Hometown (Alloway) – Part 1

Alloway is a sweet villageĀ on the southwestern side of the Scottish Mainland. Its principal attractions are the birthplace of Robert Burns (Burns Cottage), The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the Robert Burns Monument, and the Bridge of Doon (aka Brig O’ Doon). It is now considered a suburb of Ayr, but it still holds a great deal of charm, as a small village will do.

First up: Burns Cottage



The cottage is worth seeing at the least from the outside, as it is very well restored, and let’s face it, you can’t see too many thatched roofs. The inside is interesting, but not very revealing. Still, it IS the birthplace of Robert Burns, so if you get the chance, you should take the opportunity.

This is true Robert Burns Territory.

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum is a great museum, but also the only place in Ayrshire to buy good Robert Burns souvenirs. And let’s face it: we all need bookmarks, glassware, scarves, books, and other great stuff with Robert Burns’ name, visage, and/or quotes on them. Shops in Ayr, and other locations in the surrounding area will have plenty of Scottish things, just not Robert Burns things, in particular.

Next up….
Part II: Bridge of Doon
Part III: Robert Burns Monument

Threave Castle

We have had the great luck to visit many, many castles over the years. Threave Castle is easily one of the most unusual. Built on a small island, it is only accessible by boat.

After parking in the designated car park, it is about a mile walk to the bronze bell, which calls Scot, the ferryman. Scot then takes you across to the castle via outboard motor.



The castle itself, though built in the 14th century and inhabited only until the mid-1600s, is in wonderful condition, with a Great tower with rounded ceiling, many fireplaces, and the stairs still access the Great Hall.




As it was a rainy day, we had the whole place to ourselves, which we enjoyed immensely.


You can easily see old doorways and fireplace openings.



Travel Buddy stands 5’2″. So that gives you an idea of the size of this opening.


The Tower, and looking up through it.



This was one of the more unusual castles we’ve visited, because of its unique setting. A definite recommendation if you’re in the area, which is near the town of Castle Douglas, in Dumfries & Galloway.



The Cemetery in Lockerbie, Scotland

On the 21st of December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed in the air by a terrorist bomb. All 243 passengers and 16 crew members were killed, and 11 more people were killed by falling wreckage on the ground.

It has long been on my mind to visit the final resting place of these victims, who were randomly and horribly murdered through no fault of their own.

I finally got that opportunity last fall.

There was a small museum on the cemetery grounds that kept memorability from the tragedy, along with correspondence, maps, and photos sent in from the families and friends of the victims.

After seeing this very tasteful memorial, we were directed to where the remains were permanently interred.








I had the honorĀ of seeing a play based on this tragedy, The Women of Lockerbie, by Deborah Brevoort, performed by The Actor’s Gang at the Ivy Substation in Culver City, California, 2007.

The play focused on the American side of the tragedy, the families of the victims, left with nothing to represent their lost loved ones, and also on the Scottish side, with the local women who mourned their own victims, who died on the ground. These local women methodically collected every scrap of clothing, every item that had fallen from Flight 103. They cleaned up the items, washed the clothing, and replaced it within the remains of the luggage wherever possible. These fragments were then saved in case the families ever came searching. Inevitably, some did.

It made all of the horror and tragedy not any less terrible, but additionally reached out to a level of acceptance and sadness and love.

Finally visiting the cemetery in Lockerbie kind of brought things full circle for me. We can never undo this sort of horrible circumstance. We can only remember, and vow never to forget, so that these poor souls will not have died in vain.