Tag Archives: Scotland

7 June 2019:
Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland:
The Athens of the North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have sailed back across the North Sea to the glorious city of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Welcome to a famous city, the capital of Scotland, a place that is among the more commonly mispronounced locations in the world.

Resist the urge to call it Edin-BURG.

In Scotland and Northern England, starting from King David I in the 12th century, significant communities were awarded the status of a Royal Burgh, never mind the spelling.

Elsewhere there are places that spell the word in the Scottish sense but pronounce it in the Germanic style. Like Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and Lansingburgh in upstate New York.

It is the equivalent of the word borough, which is in use in many places around the world, and the spelling of that word includes one of those magically invisible “O-U-G-H” vowel-like sounds.

Places like downstate New York, where New York City is made up of five boroughs, which is different from the remainder of the state which is divided into counties.

If you really want to sound as if you are either very, very knowledgeable—or extremely out of touch—you can try one of the old nicknames for Edinburgh:

“Auld Reekie”, meaning Old Smoky,

Or “Edina”, the source of the first part of the city’s name, before it became a burgh.

Or this one: “The Athens of the North”, s nod to the many classical designs for grand buildings.

We went for a long walk in the morning sun. Here is some of what we saw today:

The Castle on the hill
The memorials to the explorer David Lingstone (born about 35 miles west of Edinburgh, and celebrated throughout the United Kingdom), and in the background that of author Sir Walter Scott.
All photos by Corey Sandler, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

More Photos of Edinburgh from Previous Visits

The Castle

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE ANY PHOTO OR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

14 July 2018:
Edinburgh, Scotland:
A Festive Place

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome to a famous city, the capital of Scotland, a place that is among the more commonly mispronounced locations in the world.

Resist the urge to call it Edin-BURG.

In Scotland and Northern England, starting from King David I in the 12th century, significant communities were awarded the status of a Royal Burgh, pronounced BURR-ah, never mind the spelling.

Someone should tell that to the residents of the steel town of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

By most appraisals, Edinburgh has the strongest economy of any city in the United Kingdom outside of London and the highest proportion of professionals in the UK with 43 percent of the population holding a degree-level or professional qualification.

The modern economy is based mainly on financial services, scientific research, higher education, and tourism.

Today, Edinburgh is the United Kingdom’s second most popular tourist destination.

Edinburgh is a festive place, whichever nickname you choose to apply. There is a gathering of some sort almost every month of the year, but in the summer, from July to September, they are almost continuous.

Among the most famous are the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

All together, the festivals attract about 4.4 million visitors, generating more than £100 million pounds for the local economy.

The longest established is the Edinburgh International Festival, first held in 1947, with a program of theater, classical music, and other performances.

This has since been overtaken both in size and popularity by the Edinburgh Fringe, which began as a program of comedy and marginal acts alongside the “official” Festival and has become the world’s largest performing arts festival.

And then there is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which occupies the Castle Esplanade every night during its run, with massed pipers and military bands drawn from around the world.

And as it happens, we will be in town on the second day of the Edinburgh Blues & Jazz festival, which generally (but not always) does not include bagpipes.

We enjoyed a day of bright sun, warm temperatures, and spirited political demonstrations.

Here is some of what we saw today:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

13 July 2018:
Aberdeen, Scotland, UK:
Taken for Granite

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Aberdeen—the Granite City, the Grey City, the Silver City with the Golden Sands—is Scotland’s third most populous city, after Glasgow and Edinburgh.

So why do we take Aberdeen for Granite?

From the mid-18th to the mid-20th centuries, most of Aberdeen’s buildings used locally quarried grey granite. And because of the large amount of mica in this particular strain of granite, many of the buildings can seem to sparkle like silver in the sunlight.

Today, I went with guests for a visit to Balmoral Castle, one of the private residences of the royal family, renovated and expanded by Queen Victoria and still in use by Queen Elizabeth II.

It is in a beautiful setting, and the grounds include a vegetable and flower garden that puts most of the rest of to shame. Of course, we don’t have a staff of dozens of gardeners.

BALMORAL

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved,

A local food specialty—guaranteed not to affect your health in any way whatsoever—is the Aberdeen buttery, also known as “rowie”.

It is something like a flat, round croissant with a buttery taste. Purists can eat one plain, but for the full experience it should have butter and jam.

If you really want to go whole hog, or to be more precise, whole sheep, you could start out with a serving of haggis, which is the national dish of Scotland,

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck: the heart, liver, and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach although today it is often prepared in an artificial casing which makes it all seem so much more attractive.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

12 July 2018:
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland:
The Mainland (of Orkney)

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

One last small island before we reach the large island that is Britain.

Kirkwall is the capital and largest settlement of Orkney, between the Shetland Islands above and the top of Scotland below.

Our port of call is on the northern coast of the island of Mainland Orkney, with a population of about 10,000.

I went with guests on a tour that included a visit to Scapa Flow, one of the most important pieces of water in the 20th century: the gathering polace of the British fleet in World War I for the Battle of Jutland off Denmark, and later the place where what remained of the German High Fleet was sequestered at the end of the war while the terms of the Treaty of Versailles was worked out. It was here that a German officer ordered the scuttling of about 75 of the ships to prevent them being distributed to the Allies as trophies of war.

Scapa Flow. Photo by Corey Sandler

We also visited the quaint village of Stromness in time to see the arrival of the ferry from Scrabster on the mainland of Scotland.

Stromness. Photos by Corey Sandler

And then we visited the Ring of Brodgar, a 5,000-year-old henge or ring of stones. Its purpose is not fully known–perhaps religious, perhaps ceremonial, or perhaps a means of tracking the skies.

At the heart of the town of Kirkwall is Saint Magnus Cathedral, which was founded in memory of Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney from 1108–1117.

Although the annexation of the earldom by Scotland took place more than five centuries ago in 1472, some locals will identify themselves as Orcadians first and Scots second.

The economy of Orkney is today based on agriculture and fishing, with a growing tourism sector. After a major investment, the town pier has become a lure for cruise ships, and about 85 calls per year are made.

There are about 70 Orkney islands, of which 20 are inhabited.

The largest island is called Mainland or, confusingly, “The Mainland”, while the country that lies below is referred to as “Scotland.”

Mainland is 523 square kilometers or 202 square miles, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles.

All photos and text by Corey Sandler, Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

11 July 2018:
Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland:
Not Quite the Mainland

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We completed our passage eastward from Iceland across the North Atlantic, arriving at Lerwick, the main port of the Shetland Islands.

It is not quite the mainland of Europe, or to be more precise, not the mainland of the United Kingdom. Lerwick is a piece of Scotland roughly 200 kilometers or 123 miles off the north coast of the United Kingdom.

It is roughly equidistant between the Faroe Islands (228 miles or 367 kilometers) to the west, and about 222 miles or 357 kilometers east of Bergen, Norway.

In Shetland, we are as close to the North Pole as parts of Greenland or Alaska.

This place of ancient settlement was very much off the world’s mind until the North Sea Oil Boom of the 1970s when some industry and housing arrived from over the horizon.

Today, oil jobs are still there although on the decline. Now the locals seek to pump pounds from the pockets of tourists.

I went with a group of guests on a tour of the countryside, including a stop at the ancient archaeological site of Jarlshof, which includes prehistoric Mesolithic and Paleolithic structures as well as some of the oldest manors of the Scottish lairds.

Here is some of what we saw:

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

1 July 2018:
Scrabster, Scotland, UK:
The Royal Fixer-Upper in the Far North

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Scrabster is very close to the top of the mainland of Scotland, at 58.6 degrees north latitude.

We docked under a spectacular sky, reminding us–at least in metaphor–that we were near the top.

The small settlement is still an important fishing port of Scotland. Population is only a few dozen, with more living in nearby Thurso.

Scrabster’s name is derived from Old Norse, meaning Skerry Town. A Skerry is a small rocky island, too small for habitation.

As the closest mainland port to the oil and gas activity west of Shetland and on the Atlantic Frontier, Scrabster is deeply involved in the logistics of the offshore oil industry in the North Sea.

Today I went with guests on a trip to visit the Castle of Mey, in Caithness, about 6 miles or 10 kilometers west of John o’ Groats.

THE CASTLE OF MEY

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved.

The lands of Mey belonged to the Bishops of Caithness. The Castle of Mey was built between 1566 and 1572.

In 1952, the place was in a semi-derelict state when it was purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI, who had died earlier in the year.

The Queen Mother had the castle restored as a holiday home, removing some of the 19th-century additions, and reinstating the Castle’s original name.

The Castle of Mey was the only residence directly owned by Queen Elizabeth. She regularly visited in August and October from 1955 until her death in March 2002.

In the Netflix television series, The Crown, which claims to be something close to historically accurate, and is in any case very entertaining, we see the widowed queen finding the castle and deciding the isolated, gloomy, falling-down place was perfect to lift her spirits.

The castle is now in a trust, and open to the public in the summer except for a period of ten days at the end of July and the beginning of August, when Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay—that would be Charles and Camilla—usually come for a stay.

On our way back to the ship we stopped at Dunnet Head, which is the northernmost point of the United Kingdom. It looks directly across the sound at the Orkney Islands with a view of the Old Man of Hoy.

We are due to visit the Orkney Islands in about 10 days on our way back from Iceland.

DUNNET HEAD

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

30 June 2018:
Ullapool, Scotland, UK:
Palm Trees?

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Ullapool has an attractive perch along the shores of Loch Broom, rows of whitewashed cottages backed by  dramatic hills.

All photos by Corey Sandler, 2018. All rights reserved

We are pretty far up north, at sea level at the foot of the Scottish Highlands, which may make it the least likely place you would expect to see palm trees.

Okay, so they are not palm trees, exactly. They are Cordyline australis, also known as the cabbage tree, common in New Zealand. They are also known locally as Torbay or Torquay palms.

They do well here in somewhat moderate Scotland as well as other parts of the British Isles that are tempered by warm ocean currents.

Cabbage trees can reach 20 meters or 66 feet in height, with sword-like leaves as long as a meter or 39 inches in length.

Back in New Zealand, the tree was the source of ropes made from the leaves for the construction of Morere swings used by Māori children.

The dramatic landscape of northern Scotland features craggy mountains with exposed stone, islands, lochs, and even a few meteor craters near Ullapool. For that reason, it makes sense that it was in this region that many of the early and important discoveries that led to the development of the modern science of geology and plate tectonics took place.

Among those who came to study here was James Hutton of Edinboro, considered the father of modern geology.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

7 June 2017:
Greenock and Glasgow, Scotland:
On the Clyde

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Early Wednesday morning, we crossed west to east in the North Channel, from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

We arrived at Greenock, the northernmost port of call on this cruise, at about the same latitude as Moscow.

It’s not Moscow, of course. For one thing, they don’t speak Russian in Greenock, or Glasgow.

That may or may not help you, though. Because here in the west-central Lowlands of Scotland they use a dialect that is not exactly the Queen’s English. They call it Glaswegian.

And the effect of the Gulf Stream on the River Clyde helps Greenock’s average temperature stay above that of similar towns in the region and much milder than that of Moscow.

Greenock’s location that far north also gives long hours of daylight in midsummer and short days in midwinter. On the longest day of the year, June 21, the sun rises at 4:31 in the morning and sets at 11:07 in the evening.

We have been under gray skies and in rain for much of the past few days.

But the sun made its reappearance this morning, in a place not known for bright days. We chose to explore Greenock.

Among the places we visited was Saint Mary’s Church, established by Irish Catholics who crossed over in search of jobs and food in the 19th century.

We also went to see the Old West Kirk, a small but noteworthy outpost of the Church of Scotland.

Here are some photos from today:

A GREENOCK ALBUM

Silver Wind at the Dock

Saint Mary’s Church

A wee bit of shopping at a local outlet

The grand town chambers of Greenock, with a steeple one meter taller than that of Glasgow up the River Clyde

Greenock from the top of Lyle Hill, overlooking the Clyde

The Old West Kirk

The Old West Kirk, Church of Scotland, was the first Presbyterian Church built in Scotland after the Reformation. Opened in 1591 and added to several times, it was later moved from its location along the water in 1917 when Harland and Wolff enlarged their shipyard.

The Church’s original graveyard held the tomb of Mary Campbell, or Highland Mary as she was known: the poet Robert Burns’ somewhat unrequited love.

Burns was forced to marry—at least on paper—another woman after that other woman somehow became pregnant. Mary Campbell was later said to have prepared to emigrate to Jamaica in 1786 to be with Robert Burns, but Mary died of typhus in Greenock before she could leave.

One other intriguing detail: Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of American president Abraham Lincoln, came to Greenock in 1869 to visit the grave of Mary Campbell and also that of Robert Burns (in Dumfries);

President Lincoln was said to have been an admirer of Burns and his widow, a very melancholic woman even before her husband’s assassination, continued that pursuit.

GLASGOW

Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and then the establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, Glasgow became a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century.

From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.

With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, Glasgow rapidly expanded to become one of the world’s leading centers of chemicals, textiles, and engineering; most notably in shipbuilding.

Glasgow was to many observers the “Second City of the British Empire” for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period.

By about 1900, Glasgow was producing more than half Britain’s tonnage of shipping and a quarter of all locomotives in the world.

All text and photos Copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

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————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS