Sunday, October 30, 2016

Second hand books and murder at Abernethy Old Kirk

Recently Ken spotted this derelict home off the road that runs across the moorland between here and Grantown, so of course we had to stop and investigate - he only takes me to the best places. It's a great fixer upper but you'd have to survive without electricity and mains running water. Apart from that it's fabulous with an open fire, an intact roof and walls, and next to it is another building that would make a perfect garage which would be essential for my car crazy husband. 

Our destination was Abernethy Old Kirk (church) which we'd seen a sign saying there was a book sale on, so wanted to investigate. The Old Kirk is just outside Nethy Bridge and has a fabulous graveyard and this very interesting hut in the grounds.

Before we went into the older part of the graveyard I noticed this really interesting modern headstone - it's a lovely chunk of granite with the yin and yang symbol on it.

Lovely Celtic knotwork on headstones.

Really quaint little headstone, covered in moss and lichen, with the writing on a book.

This is the Old Kirk - there is evidence of a church on this site since the 12th century but this building was built in 1767. There is also some thought that there may have been a pictish settlement here as these sites were often reused by Christians for their sacred sites.

I love how the lichen on the headstones looks almost like marbled stone.

Very ornate and well preserved stone.

The below headstone is for Police Constable James Fraser who died July 19th, 1878 aged 39. According to the Police Roll of Honour Trust he was fatally stabbed attempting to arrest an armed and deranged suspect.

There are some lovely carved memorials on the walls of the Kirk, but I particularly liked this one as it has a little mouse stuck to the bottom of it.

In the Kirk they often have historic displays - at the moment there is a really poignant and interesting display on the first world war. German barbed wire from the Somme.

Uniform of the highlanders in the first world war.

Artefacts from the war and the baskets in the front are examples of crafts that soldiers who were wounded would make during rehab, especially the ones who had been blinded.

Remembrance tree - people can write messages on the luggage tags and hang them on the tree.

The inside of the Kirk is quite unusual in the layout but very pretty as well. As you can see the second hand books were spread out around the building.

The volunteers of the Old Kirk Association were also providing homemade cake and hot drinks to raise more money for the upkeep of the building. And of course we had to have some as it would have been rude not too. It was really lovely sitting in such a historic space enjoying freshly baked cake and surrounded by lovely books.

I found three cat related books to add to my collection, one which was published in the 1940's and has poems, quotes, and stories about cats.

One of the volunteers met us in the graveyard when we first arrived and pointed out lots of interesting facts about the site, including the fact that there are two murdered policemen buried there. I've already featured Constable Fraser, and now is the story of Constable Thomas King who was shot by a poacher when attempting to issue a warrant for failure to pay a 5 shilling fine. In the Kirk they have a copy of the newspaper article about the death and it tells how the widow, Jessie King, was so devastated that she and their seven children moved to Australia and settled in Queensland.

Here is Thomas's grave and as you can see, one of his sons who died in Australia had his ashes interred here as well. 

This stone font which is outside the entrance to the Kirk is thought to be a remnant from the sixth century.

These beautiful and very friendly horses were across the road from the Kirk - I spent quite a bit of time chatting to them.

Overlooking the Old Kirk is the remains of Castle Roy, which was built by the Clan Comyn in the 11th century.

After our lovely interlude at the Abernethy Old Kirk we drove to Boat of Garten for a look see as the only other time we've been here was when we stopped at the train station on our lovely steam train journey - see blog post HERE. Lovely autumnal colours.

We found a fabulous cafe/gallery to stop at - I know we've already had cake, so instead we had something sensible to eat. The art in the gallery was so good and there were so many things I could've bought if I was much richer and had a bigger house.

We found these metal postcards in the ground outside the station - there were a couple of groups and then there were lots of single ones spaced out around the carpark. Really nice, quirky think that I bet not everyone notices as they walk over the top of them.

Sculpture outside the station - what do you think, leaf or feather?

This is the lovely community garden which is next to the station - before 1968 this space was used to grow vegetables for the station master. The colours in the garden are beautiful at the moment as all the leaves are changing.

My beloved and Bramble - no we haven't started dressing her up, she still has to wear her vet shirt to stop her from licking her surgical wound, but when she's walking we tuck it up so she doesn't pee on it.

Plant display in a boat at the entrance to the garden.

That's it for today, until next time be good, stay safe, and have a really good week.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Exploring the beauty of the Cairngorms

This Saturday was a great fun day out, visiting Cairngorm Mountain and the funicular railway. The resort is only 45 miles away and is stunningly beautiful scenery. This is a picture that we took on the way up the mountain to the start of the railway.

Cairngorm Mountain is the 6th tallest mountain in the UK, and luckily for us there is this lovely little train to take us up as I don't think I could walk there (well not without lots of tears).

Here's a few photos (taken through a very dirty window) of our journey up the mountain.

When we got to the top we had a bit of a Wineglass Bay moment (long story but in short, we've never seen wineglass bay in Tasmania due to cloud) with no view whatsoever. The train doesn't take you right to the top, if you want to do that you have to take a guided walk from the station or walk from the bottom. It's part of the conservation effort in that people who get the train up the mountain can't then walk back down, they have to take the train.

This is a great sign with directions for all the different parts of the mountain - on the left hand side one of the places is 'Over Yonder'. In winter this is one of the main ski resorts in Scotland so the train is then used by skiers to get up to the slopes.

Inside the station/restaurant you'll find the highest post box in the British Isles - I didn't know before we went otherwise I would have taken something to post. Something to remember for next time.

We had lunch in the Ptarmigan restaurant, had a mooch around the shop and took a funny picture of my beloved.

Then, joy oh joy, the wind had blown the clouds away enough for us to get some pictures of the view.

Highup selfie.

We then came back down the mountain on the train and these sculptures are in the ticket hall for the train - they're all carved out of wood.

These sculptures were unveiled in 2014 and celebrate 50 years of snow sports in the Cairngorms. They were created by the sculptor Stan Brooks and each figure weighs 3.3 ton.

One of the things that prompted us to go to the Cairngorms this weekend was a news story that we saw last week. It was about the highest working phone box in the UK that was under threat of being removed. So before that happens, we wanted to see it, and here it is.

As we headed back down toward Aviemore we passed this really pretty house that I couldn't resist taking a picture of.

Our next stop was Rothiemurchus as we spotted a cafe that we were sure would have cake. It's a lovely spot and the colours of the trees are amazing with so many different shades of red, yellow, and orange.

Carved eagle in someones yard - it's carved out of a tree stump.

If you look closely enough you'll see a silly man dangling precariously whilst trying to traverse hanging tyres. It's the treezone aerial adventure which looks scary but you are attached by a harness.

Another pretty tree.

We went into the Druie Cafe for coffee and cake and found it delightfully decorated for Halloween. The building that the cafe and the farmshop are in used to be a primary school - it opened in 1875 and closed in 1969.

The farm shop was great, with lots of fabulous looking food, but my favourite bit was the gift shop which was decorated with all the Christmas things you can buy. So pretty.

Now this is a sign I could have hung up when I was younger.

On the way home we stopped to have a chat to these beautiful horses - it took ages to get a good shot of the bottom three as one of them kept biting the others and causing a very loud reaction.

There you have it, our day out exploring the higher realms of Scotland. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a fantabulous week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final picture is of Bramble Jelly Sassy Pants who had surgery this week and to stop her licking her wound she is wearing a very fashionable vets outfit - my only problem with it is that they didn't have one in pink.