Sunday, June 18, 2017

Our Trip to Scotland--Day 5, June 12

Early in the morning we left Dundee and headed for St. Andrews. I had never picked up a golf club to play, but what a way to begin--at St. Andrews, the most famous club, and home of The Open.

Our first event was stopping at the Practice Centre where each group of two got 24 balls to hit after a brief demonstration and explanation. You can see we had some sun shining through the clouds. Then we boarded the bus and went into the city.

"St Andrews has a population of around 20,000 people. The university, where Prince William attended, attracts students from all over the world, keeping the bars and restaurants busy during the winter, and during the summer golfers from all over the world descend on the town to play the hallowed Old Course. The town has got a mystical charm about it, and is packed with golfers, golfing memorabilia and a load of golf-friendly bars where you won’t be asked to remove your spikes at the door." 
I love to visit "retired" or gently used clothing stores, and saw a number of shops passing through town with elegant used golf attire which would have been fun to visit if we'd been there all day. But instead many in our group walked to visit the ruins of the bishop's castle and the cathedral. Bob and I also stopped inside a small chapel.   The castle sits on a rocky promontory overlooking a small beach called Castle Sands and the adjoining North Sea.

We walked through the area of St. Andrews university, then Bob went back to the golf area and bus and I continued with Pat to the Cathedral, but he had the camera.  If I can snag a photo from the group's site I'll add it here.  It was quite dramatic. It was built in 1158 and became the center of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland.
"The story of St Andrew's revolves around the story of the apostle Andrew. According to one version of the story, a monk named Regulus was inspired by an angel to steal the relics of St Andrew and set sail to the island of Thule. He landed instead on this promontory on the coast of Fife and there founded a settlement. The saint's relics became a focal point, not only of religious pilgrimage, but also a symbol of Scottish independence from England. Andrew's symbol, the saltire cross, became forever associated with an independent Scotland, and eventually was chosen for the Scottish flag.

The medieval cathedral whose ruins we see today was begun around 1160, and was complete by the late 14th century. The church was huge, measuring 355 feet from end to end, with a central tower and spire." 
From St. Andrews it was back on the bus to Perth and a visit to beautiful Scone Palace [pronounced skoon], the home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield. While we were waiting to go in, we saw beautiful peacocks. We heard about the palace and the crowning of Scottish kings, including Robert the Bruce over coffee and shortbread. The peacock photo is from a tour group member. A guide told us about the Stone of Scone, upon which the Scottish kings were crowned.
"According to legend, the sandstone slab was used by the biblical figure Jacob as a pillow when he dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven and then brought to Scotland by way of Egypt, Spain and Ireland. The rock, also known as the Stone of Destiny, was used for centuries in the coronation ceremonies of Scottish monarchs. Following his victory at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, England’s King Edward I seized the stone from Scotland’s Scone Abbey and had it fitted into the base of a specially crafted wooden Coronation Chair on which English—and later British—monarchs have been crowned inside London’s Westminster Abbey ever since. "

Although we couldn't take photos inside the palace, this little video shows you much of what we saw.
Chapel on the Moot Hill
Scottish long hair cattle
Back to the bus, across the Forth Road Bridge to Edinburgh to our final hotel, the Mercure Edinburgh on Princes Street with a fabulous view from our window. That night we attended a Scottish evening with Highland dancers (5 women) a bagpiper, fiddler, accordionist, a female soloist, and singing MC and the ceremony of the Haggis (mutton or lamb offal, minced and mixed with, oatmeal, suet, herbs, spices). Dining scene from our tour group FB page.
Oh, Canada? Laurie and daughters Kathy and Susann

Barbara on left, Pat on right at the dinner

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