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Crieff                              The town name thought to be from the Gaelic “Crubha Cnoic” (slope on a hill) which of course perfectly describes the location.  In 1199 it was referred to as Cref and the town itself sits on the precise physical and cultural boundary between the Highlands and the Lowlands.  In 1513 at the battle of Flodden Field there were very few Crieff families who did not loose men folk amongst those who did not return.  During the next 100 years the town developed as a market town with the Highlanders coming South using the now forgotten drover roads through the hills to a natural crossroads at Crieff to buy and sell their cattle.  The economy flourished.  The great Michaelmas cattle fair held each year acted as a gathering point for drovers bringing upwards of 30,000 beasts.  At times the number arriving turned the surrounding hills black.  In 1716 after the Battle of Sheriffmuir 350 returning Highlanders burned most of the town in revenge for its Pro Government sympathies.  In the years that followed and up to the 1745 uprising the town was in the middle of an uneasy peace.  At one time Rob Roys outlaw son was chased through the streets by soldiers and killed.  During the October markets the town turned into a prototype American Wild West Town with milling cattle, horse thieves, bandits and drunken drovers.  In February 1746 the Jacobite army supporting the young pretender “Bonnie Prince Charlie” was quartered in and around the town.  It is said the Prince held his final war council in the Old Drummond Arms Inn in James Square (site of the present hotel) he also had his horse shod in the blacksmiths shop in King Street now the site of the police station.  The times following the Princes defeat at Culloden where hard and by 1792 the Anglicisation of the area was complete with the main language in the town being English.  By 1830 the population had doubled and when the railways came in 1856 the town was the second largest in Perthshire.  Today a town of some 6,000 people with tourism being a large contributor to the local economy.  The famous Glenturret distillery is situated just a few miles out of town and the Crieff visitor centre still giving a welcome to many thousands of visitors every year.
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Church of the HOLY RUDE (Stirling)    The Parish Church of Stirling dates back to the 15th Century.  It was built on the command of James IV and without doubt one of the finest Medieval Churches in Scotland.  The roof is made of oak and the  original, it has witnessed the crowning of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543 and the coronation of her infant son James VI in 1567.  The organ is exceptional and is reputed to be the largest in Scotland.  What is now the Kirkyard was once the castles tilting ground where great tournaments where held.  Checking closely some of the grave stones, yes they are bullet holes dating back many centuries to sieges and battles gone by.
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Culross                         Small Royal Burgh on the North shore of the Firth of Forth.  A time capsule of 16th 17th Century life, small cobbled streets and white washed houses.  Preserved by the National Trust of Scotland.  Its steep narrow streets should be explored on foot.  Restored cottages, Bishop Leightons house, the old Mercat (market ) Cross in the tiny square.  The Cistercian Abbey standing above the village, founded in 1217 by Malcolm Earl of Fife.  It is thought a Religerous building has stood here since the 6th Century when legend has it that the Mother of St Mungo (patron Saint of Glasgow) was washed up on the beach at Culross the eve before his birth. Her rescuer was St Serf and the Abbey was dedicated to his memory.  Kentigern, popularly called St Mungo was born tradition says on the shore near to Culross.  Here he was bought up by St Serf and trained in the priesthood. He was extremely popular and eventually was chosen by King and people to be their Bishop.  He was visited by St Columba and during his life it is recorded he travelled to Cumbria, the Lake District and St Asaph in North Wales. The date of his death is written as 13th January 603.
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Culross Palace            The Palace/House was built between 1597 & 1611 for Sir George Bruce and is a superb example of medieval design featuring original decorative painted woodwork and original interiors from that period.  The rooms are furnished in original traditional 17th & 18th Century furniture and decorative items.

Drumlanrig castle        The ancient Douglas stronghold and Dumfriesshire home of the Duke of Buccleuch & Queensferry.  The Dukes have a family tree extending back to the 12 Century.  A Charter of 1356 revels that the Barony of Drumlanrig was originally a property of the Earls of Mar.  A fascinating history surrounds the family and castle.  William Douglas took more than 10 years (1679-1691) to build the present house which is superimposed on the original 14th/15th Century Douglas stronghold.  The castle is built of local pink sandstone and is situated on a hill at the end of a long ridge.  Set in rolling hills and woodlands with views across the Nithsdale the castle is a part of the Queensberry estate owned by the Duke.
Many distinguished guests from James VI to Bonnie Prince Charlie to the Queen have set foot through the doorway.  Exquisite rooms inside the house are filled with furniture, tapestries and paintings by the great masters, Rembrandt & Holbein.
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Edinburgh                    The Capital of Scotland, with origins in the Iron Age.  Although Edinburgh did not become the capital until the 12th Century the history of the city is really moulded around one street, The Royal mile.  At the foot lies Holyrood House, still a royal palace today, where Mary queen of Scots lived and where Bonnie Prince Charlie had a brief triumph of his celebration ball after capturing Edinburgh in the 1745 rebellion.  At its head the castle towers on its great rock.  Between the two, the royal mile winds its way along the spine of the rock with its pre 18th century Edinburgh, tall, many storied houses clinging to the steep hillside.  Yet Edinburgh is not just about history, the new town is just as picturesque with wide streets and crescents.  With princes street flanked by gardens on the south being described by many as one of Europe's finest thoroughfares.  The ladies will find Edinburgh's Shops just fine. 
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Edinburgh Castle        The Oldest part of the castle is St. Margaret's Chapel built early in the 12th Century.  Apart from this we know very little about the early buildings on the site.  We do know that the castle walls began to take their present form from about 1356.  Since then many additions and changes have taken place.
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Falkland Village            The ancient borough of Falkland clings to the lower slopes of the Lomond Hills as it looks out over the Howe of Fife, once a Royal forest and the home of wild boar and deer.  The high street is lined with quaint old stone houses and beyond the market square the high street meanders into a narrow winding lane as it climbs the wooded slopes of East Lomond Law.
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Falkland Palace            The magnificent Royal Palace was built in the 15th/16th Centuries as a hunting lodge of the Stuarts.  It was a particular favourite of James V who died here in 1542.  His daughter Mary Queen of Scots stayed many times and spent much time walking in the Gardens.  The buildings are compact and ornate with thick walls and heavily barred windows as a precaution against attack.  The gardens are laid out to the original 17th century Royal plans, adjoining them the Royal tennis court, the oldest tennis court in Britain, Built in 1539.
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Falls of Dochart            Dramatic waterfalls rushing through the centre of this picturesque highland village.  On the Island of Inchbuie on the river is the burial ground of Clan McNab
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Firth of Forth                    A ferry plied across the water here for at least 900 years, since the days of Queen Margaret, Wife of Malcolm III (1057-1093) when she regularly travelled between Edinburgh and her Palace at Dunfermline.  The first bridge built was the rail bridge in 1890 cost £3.2 million.  At the time it was the largest bridge in the world, incorporating over 54,000 tons of steel.  The surface area is so large (45 acres) the painting alone never stops.  When you finish at one end you start again at the other. It is 2,765yds in length.
The road bridge is 1,993yds in length and cost just over £19.5 million it was opened in 1964.  The 512ft towers support two steel cables over 6ft in diameter. Suspended from these cables is the four way highway and footpath.
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Glasgow                            Scotlands Capital in the West, Founded by Kentigen (popularly Called Mungo) in 543 when he built a small church in a place called Glasgu (meaning beloved green place) The Cathedral was built in the 12th Century and the second university, in Scotland, after St. Andrews in the 15th Century gave credibility.  It was made a Royal Burgh in 1454.  Commercial prosperity dates back to the 17th Century when the port of Glasgow (on the Clyde) became a major importer of Cotton, Tobacco and Sugar from the Americas.  As a major port heavy industry followed in the form of ship building and Glasgow became one of the Great Industrial centres of the World.  In the Later part of the 20th Century the decline in heavy industry has the life of the city hard.  Modernisation is taking place and much of the old city is being cleared away.
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Glenturret                        Scotlands oldest whisky distillery established in 1775, using cool clear water drawn from the turret burn high on Bechonzie.  Using local ingredients the whisky is made from the "Pot still process" slowly, patiently and in small quantities, a tradition unchanged since the 18th Century.
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St. Mary's, Grandtully     The church was endowed by Alexander Stuart in 1533.  But it was Sir William Stuart in 1636 who added the remarkable coloured, wooden ceiling.  This is sub divided into 29 panels illustrating texts from the bible and the coats of arms of the Stuarts.  The church was used until 1892 when part of it was used as a barn.  In 1954 the entire building was given to the state and it has been wonderfully preserved.  The ceiling is still quite remarkable.
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Gretna Green                  In times past young English Lovers would elope across the border to be married by the village blacksmith, since upto 1940 Scots Law allowed couples over 16 to marry without their parents consent.  The smithy still celebrates those times.

Greyfriars kirk                Built on the site of a former Monastery the Kirk was opened in 1620, the first to be built in Edinburgh after the reformation.  The national covenant was signed here in 1638.  The churchyard contains probably the finest collection of 17th Century memorials in the city.  One of them is to William Adam father of the great family of architects.  But the most famous of all is just outside the actual churchyard, at the top of Candlemakers Row.  A statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a small dog who watched over the grave of his master the shepherd Kohn Gray for 14 years.  The venue is used extensively throughout the year for recitals and is much in demand during the fringe period.
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Inveraray                         Standing on the Western slopes of Loch Fyne a perfect example of a well planned 18th Century Scottish Town.   The new town was built on the remains of a old fishing village which the Duke of Argyll head of the famous Campbell's decided to pull down in 1745.  It is said it blocked the view, from his castle, of the Loch.  What we now have is an elegant Royal Burgh with wide streets and well proportioned whitewashed houses a set piece of Scottish Georgian architecture reflected in the still waters of the Loch.  Two Churches in the town, the Parish Church built in 1794 is divided into two so that services could be held in both Gaelic and English.  The other Church is the Episcopalian Church of All Saints built in 1886 which has a bell tower with the second heaviest ring of ten bells in the world.  Each one is named after a Saint and inscribed on the bell.
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Iona                                  Situated less than a mile off the Southwest tip of Mull it is an Island approx 3 miles in length and approx 1 mile in width at its widest point.  It has been a place of Christian worship for maybe 1400 years and a place of Pilgrimage for centuries due to the association of the Isle with St Columba.  Iona`s oldest remaining building is St Orans chapel which lies at the very centre of Iona`s sacred burial ground.  A cemetery said to contain the remains of over 60 Kings of Norway, Ireland, and Scotland including Duncan and Macbeth.  St Columba arrived in Iona during the year 563 with 12 loyal monks after being exiled from Ireland.  He died in 597 and history books tell us very little about his life except he became a cult figure.  In the Sixth and Seventh Centuries Iona became a place of importance establishing a specifically Celtic Christian tradition.  From here missionaries where sent out to many parts of Scotland and Northern England with Iona becoming a very respected seat of learning and artistry.  The famous book of Kells (illuminated manuscript now kept in Trinity College Dublin) was produced here.  So what caused the demise of this established community of Celtic Christianity and tradition.  Three major theories conclude to offer the following reasons:  A series of Viking raids culminating in the massacre of 68 monks on the sands of martyrs bay in 806.  Pressure form the established church beginning with the Synod of Whitby in 664 which choose Rome over the Celtic Church.  Suppression of the Celtic Church by King David in 1144.  In 1203 Iona became a part of the mainstream church and both a Augustinian Nunnery and a Benedictine Monastery where founded on the site.  During the reformation the entire complex was ransacked.  Then in 1899 the owner of the island the 8th Duke of Argyll donated the Abbey and buildings to the Church of Scotland.  The modern resurgence began in 1938 under George Mcleod a Minister from Glasgow who established a new community on the island.  This has grown to be a mixed community retreat with the entire abbey complex now looked after and administered by historic Scotland.  The island itself except for the church buildings is looked after by the National Trust of Scotland.
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Island of mull                    The wettest of the Hebrides Islands this gives the natural moreland of heather an almost bleak and unwelcoming feel on a grey day.  But seen on a fine day the island is one of the most beautiful of the Inner Hebrides Islands.  It is certainly the largest.  It is also easy to reach from Oban just a ferry crossing of 45minutes.
Mull taken from the Gaelic word “Meall” it was certainly known to the Romans and even Ptolemy called it the Island of Maleus.  Ben More is the tallest mountain on the island at 3,140ft and the famous Duart Castle is the ancestral home of the Clan Chief of the McCleans.  The other castle is Torosay in the village of Criagnure and is owned by the local family the Guthries.
The population of the island which once approached nearly 10,000 people declined rapidly in the late 19th Century due to the clearances and the potato famine of 1846.  Thankfully this decline has halted and due to a rise of inbound settlers from other parts of the country now approaches over 2,500.this startling reversal has been brought about mainly by the increase in tourism with over half a million visitors coming to the island each year.  Tobermory is the main town situated on the Northern tip of the island with a population of approx 800 and easily one of the most attractive fishing ports on the Scottish West Coast.
Two other interesting points of interest in the area;  Calgary, recognise the name, it is said a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman visited the area in 1883, he was so impressed with the beauty around him he went home and named a Canadian City after the village.  Close to the island is a much smaller one called Staffa.  It is here a small cave is located called Fingals Cave. This place so inspired the composer Felix Mendelssohn he wrote a famous piece of music of the same name.
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Jedburgh                        A Settlement was established here in 854 by the Bishop of Lindisfarne.  For Centuries up to the 17th Century its position as a border town put it firmly in the firing line of the national battles and border raids that took place at that time.  Mary Queen of Scots stayed at a house in the town in 1566.  Other famous people to have stayed in the town include Bonny Prince Charlie in 1745, Robert Burns in 1787 and Sir Walter Scott who Practised in the local Court.
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Jedburgh Abbey           Founded by David I in 1138.  It accommodated an Augustine order from France.  Malcolm IV was crowned here in 1153 and Alexander III married his second wife here.  With its position in border country it was repeatedly sacked by the English armies on their way North to fight the Scots.  So by 1545 much of the Abbey was in ruins.  The visitor centre explains much more and shows many artefacts found during excavations.
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Oban                               The Town enjoys a superb setting sitting at the end of a bay sheltered by the island of Kerrera.  A natural harbour. Today is a town of some 8,000 people but just 130 years ago little more than a village. Then came the railways.  Tourists, rich businessmen from Glasgow flocked in building Great Victorian and Edwardian villas and local people began to cater for this influx.  Today it is the gateway to the Western Isles with local ferries plying their trade to such wonderful sounding places Lismore, Colonsay, Barra, South Uist and of course Mull.  The town has two Cathedrals, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Columba, a 20th Century granite building and the Cathedral Church of St John the divine built in the 19th Century.  However the town is dominated by McCaigs Tower a vast Colosseum of a building started in 1897 by Oban banker John Stuart McCaig.  He wanted to establish a museum and art gallery but he died before completion.  Today it stands empty except for a garden but does provide a wonderful seaward panorama especially at sunset.  Anyone fancying a walk could climb up in about ten minutes but it is a very stiff walk.  If you fancy a wee dram then do take a tour of the Oban distillery in the centre of the town in George Street.  During the Second World War Oban and the bay were used as a base for the Flying Boats that searched the North Atlantic for U boats and Search & Rescue
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Stirling                            Englands newest City, lying on the river Forth and dominated by the Castle.  An ancient Royal Burgh and of great strategic importance during medieval times, commanding as it did the first point at which the Forth could be bridged.  The castle dominating the place which was the natural route between central and northern Scotland.  Hence becoming the scene of more than one major battle between the olde enemy England.  The Defeat of the Jacobites in 1215, William Wallace and his victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and Robert the Bruce and his victory in 1314 over Edward II at Bannockburn.
The old town, spread out below the castle, is a fantastic place to view possibly the finest collection of Scottish Medieval Buildings still existing today.  Bounded by broad street, St John Street, St Mary's Wynd and Castle Wynd such places as Church of the Holy Rude (Built nearly 600 years ago, the scene of the coronation of James VI in 1567) Argyll's Lodging (1632), Mars Walk, Cowane's Hospital (c1600) Tollbooth & Mercat cross, Old Jail.  Today the Town is an important commercial centre, has a thriving University and excellent new shopping centre, right next to the Olde World Charm which all adds up to make this such an enjoyable place to visit.
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Stirling Castle                The first evidence of buildings is a wooden fortification possibly dating back to the 11th Century.  What we see today is 13/14/15th Century.  Portcullis House from the Late 15th Century, The Royal Apartments from the early 16th Century. The Douglas garden where William 8th Earl of Douglas was murdered and his body flung from the ramparts by order of the young James II (1430-1460).  The Superb defensive position gives excellent views of the town and countryside around, It was often a place of refuge for Scottish Monarchs when Edinburgh fell into enemy Hands.  From the ramparts the sites of seven battles can be seen.  Time and again the castle was besieged relieved and then besieged again during the Scottish struggle with the English.  Mary Queen of Scots spent some of her Childhood here, her Coronation took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.  Her son the future James VI was also baptised in the Castle.
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St Andrews                 Some historians believe the earliest settlement in St Andrews, maybe during the 8th Century was in the area of All Saints Church, possibly a fisher settlement built inland from a fortified area on the headland (later the castle).  The earliest recorded use of the name "St Andrews" was in the 12th Century when again mention was made of the "fisher settlement.  Much of the pale grey and golden stone used to build the old houses in the town was taken from what was the largest Cathedral in Scotland, now a majestic ruin on the Eastern edge of the town.  Besides it stands the 12th Century St Rules Tower named after the Saint who according to legend was shipwrecked here in the 8th Century carrying the bones of the Apostle St Andrew.  Crosses in the cobbled streets mark the sites where martyrs were burned at the stake.  On the Western side of the town stands the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.  The Senior golf club in the world with the responsibility for determining the rules of the game.  Beside the links, the West sands stretch for over 2 miles.
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St Johns Kirk         A church surrounded on all sides by history and the presence of famous people.  The earliest reference to the Church came in 1128 but the actually Kirk was not consecrated until 1242.    Most of the present building dates back to the 15th Century and it was during this period that the Quire was completed.  John Knox preached a very fiery sermon on “idolatry” in May 1559 in St Johns. King Charles 1st worshipped in the church in 1633 and his son King Charles II in 1650. Bonnie Prince Charlie also came here to worship in 1745
In the 18th Century the Kirk was actually divided into three churches and it was not until 1918 that plans were drawn up to open up the Kirk internally to form one church again. Building work was completed in 1926
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Tarbet                            Small village sitting on the banks of Loch Lomond which is the largest stretch of fresh water in Britain (approx 23miles long and in places 5 miles wide with a maximum depth of approx 600 ft) famous for the ballad "Bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond". The Western shore is busy from tourist traffic but the Eastern shore is more tranquil, ideal; for walking and appreciating the natural beauty of the loch

William Wallace            Situated just 2 miles out of town overlooking the scene of his greatest victory against the English, a Tower 220ft high and reached by 246 steps celebrates one of Scotlands greatest heroes and freedom fighters. Built in 1869.  Born in 1267 he led his people to victory against an English army on the 11th September 1297 at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  The English army had moved forward and began crossing the river by the bridge, which afforded passage for only two horsemen at a time.  Dutifully the English men at arms crossed two by two and once a reasonable proportion but by now means their whole strength had reached the far bank the Scots pounced.  The army was cut in two, one half trying vainly to fight off the entire Scottish army while the other half tried to reinforce it two by two.  It is known that the majority that crossed the river were killed.  William Wallace was knighted and made Guardian of the Scottish Kingdom.  Wallace was eventually betrayed and executed in London in 1305.  However although he his described as a guerrilla fighter he was eventually to become a national hero in Scotland.
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