Showing posts from March, 2014

Dunfermline Abbey & Palace

Fife | Dunfermline | Abbey & palace | ★★★

Taken together, Dunfermline Abbey, Palace and Church have a significant place in Scottish history. But how does it all fit together? The abbey came first in 1128, elevated by David I from a smaller priory founded by Queen Margaret in 1070. But only the nave properly survives (making up the left half of the building in the picture above), as after the Reformation, the choir collapsed and the outbuildings converted into a royal palace. Dunfermline soon fell out of royal favour however, and the palace soon fell into disrepair. In 1820 the ruined choir became the foundations for a new Abbey Church; this is still in active use today, while the (old) nave and palace are a tourist attraction cared for by Historic Environment Scotland. The building's biggest claim to fame, however, is that it is the resting place for several Scottish kings and queens, including Robert the Bruce - whose grave can be viewed inside the Abbey Church.

📌Dunfermline …

Walk: Climbing the Ladder Hills

Moray | Ladder Hills | Full day walk | ★★★

Where are the Ladder Hills? Hidden behind the main bulk of the Cairngorms and close to the world's whisky capital of Speyside, this gentle range of heather-clad summits take their name from The Ladder pass historically connecting Moray to inland Aberdeenshire. The remote location allowed Catholicism to continue uninterrupted during the Reformation, with the hidden College of Scalan and the (later) Our Lady of Perpetual Succour the surviving outposts today. This circuit passes both, also climbing the old pass en route to the highest summit in the area. Most people seem to overlook these rolling hills just as Protestantism did - the result should be a peaceful walk with grouse and mountain hares for company.

📌 Walk: Climbing the Ladder Hills ★★★
Start / finish at minor road end just south of Chapeltown of Glenlivet, G.R.: NJ 245205 ///luggage.enable.mysteries

▶ 15 km / 9 mi | ▲ 520 m | ⌚ Full day | ⬤ Tough
Summits: Dun Muir (754 m); Carn Mor…

Walk: A Fare wander in the Cairngorm foothills

Aberdeenshire | Banchory | Full day walk | ★★

Head due west from Aberdeen and the Hill of Fare is the first extensive area of high ground you'll find. This sprawling, heathery plateau is surrounded by roads but its interior offers relative peace and quiet as well as extensive views over eastern Aberdeenshire, admittedly without anything overly dramatic. Apart from the slightly tricky-to-locate summit cairn (not quite on the main path - keep a close eye on the map), tracks make a longish circuit achievable in a shortish amount of time. If you're feeling lavish, Raemoir House Hotel is an option for breakfast, lunch or dinner near the start or finish.

📌 Walk: A Fare wander in the Cairngorm foothills ★★
Start / finish at layby (can get busy) on A980 half a mile west of B977 junction, G.R.: NO 687993 ///explorer.vague.crouches

▶ 18 km / 11 mi | ▲ 430 m | ⌚ Full day | ⬤ Moderate
Summits: Craigrath (435 m); Hill of Fare (471 m, sub-2000')
Terrain: Good tracks, with a short section …