Scratchings in the Dirt

The old country (Scotland, part IV)

We stopped at Roslyn chapel (of Da Vinci Code fame) on our way to the southern part of Scotland. Roslyn (Roslin, Rosslyn, etc, etc) is absolutely beautiful in it’s own right, but has seen a surge in the number of visitors since the movie debuted. In fact, they are talking of limiting the number of visitors due to the deterioration of the building. It is very small, and was quite packed when we arrived. An attempt was made to restore it in the 1950’s, but they actually did more harm than good by painting it with a “cement slurry”, which sealed in the moisture that was harming the original stone. They now have a huge “roof” over the whole building in order to dry it out over the next few years.

Noter the carving on the ceiling, too.

This is a angel playing the bagpipes, said to be the only such image in Scotland.

There were little “green men” hidden all over the chapel. You first see “young” green men when you enter. As you go around the chapel, they age, until the last one is a very old man. This guy would be middle-aged.
This is a view of the top, from under the “tent”.

We continued on our journey to “Campbell country”, in Ayrshire, where our great-great-great-great-great-grandfather farmed in the early 1800’s. We found the town of New Cumnock, and three very friendly and helpful gentlemen who led us out to Dalgig farm, where Ivie Campbell and his family lived. This is the house and part of the yard. The current owner, Jamie Young, is probably going to sell out to the coal mining company whose strip mining operations are encroaching on his land.

Other than the unsightly strip mines, the countryside was gorgeous.

We even saw a farm where they were shearing sheep.

Then it was off to Newton Stewart, where we had booked a B&B. Flowerbank was a lovely old home, with a stunning garden on the bank of the River Cree.
They can grow palm trees and other tropical plants, because of the warm Gulf Stream winds that blow off the coast.

We ventured south along the “gold coast”, named for it’s fertile farm land. We were looking for the cradle of Christianity in Scotland, where St. Ninian settled when he arrived in 497 to convert the Celts and the Picts. We started at Whithorn, home of the remains of the Whithorn priory, built by followers of St. Ninian.

They have a very interesting little museum which houses many archeological finds, such as these intricately carved crosses and stones.

We continued right to the tip of the peninsula, to Isle of Whithorn, where St. Ninian built a chapel. Here you can stand on Scottish soil, and see England on your right, the Isle of Man in front, and Ireland (on a clear day!) to your left. The views were amazing. We decided this was our favorite spot.

This is St. Ninian’s chapel, built in about 1300 to replace the original building. It is in the middle of a pasture, surrounded by cattle and those wonderful stone walls. That would be England in the distance!
This is a view from inside the chapel.

This is the chapel on the left, looking out toward the lighthouse.


Stop by again and meet our Fisher cousins!