Archive for April, 2012

Journey No 20

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Journey No 20 – 5th to 8th April 2012

5th April 2012

Departed Carrick Castle around 10.00 hrs to visit Alloa Tower on the way to Carnoustie. On arrival at Alloa Tower, it was closed, again… The National Trust of Scotland brochure for 2012 said it would be open from 1st April 2012, however the notice by the front door said it would open on 6th April 2012, so we would have to make a third visit as we had previously tried to visit in October 2011.  We refuelled in Alloa with 30.93 litres of diesel costing £44.57 at 120,369 kms (75,230 miles). We then drove on to Dundee and visited Discovery and the visitor centre instead.


Discovery in Dundee

Click on any photo to enlarge it…

Douglas at the wheel of Discovery

The exhibition was extremely well set out with excellent videos and a film show. Visiting the ship Discovery was very interesting and well worth going to. Two hours was not really enough time for the visit however we did manage to see everything although it was a bit of a rush in the end before closing time.

We stayed the night in the big car park by the golf course in Carnoustie.

6th April 2012

The main purpose of our visit to Carnoustie was to visit Liz’s step-mother, Helen who was going to be 93 on 10th April. We visited her in the morning and then drove to Broughty Castle, just east of Dundee to visit the castle.

Liz at Broughty Castle

Broughty Castle, Angus

Broughty Castle lies at the mouth of the River Tay and was built in 1496 on a rocky promontry. The castle is a museum to Broughty Life, and has the Orchar Collection of paintings as well as an Armoury Gallery and much more. There is an Observation Room at the top of the tower with great views where you can also watch wildlife including dolphins at certain times of the year.

Our next visit was to Barry Mill that is just outside Carnoustie. The mill is one of Scotland’s last working water-powered meal mills.

Barry Mill by Carnoustie

The mill’s buildings date mainly from 1814 when the mill was rebuilt following a fire. Historical records show there has been a mill on this site since 1539. The National Trust for Scotland’s caretaker who has been there since the mill was opened to the public 20 years ago gave an excellent tour of the mill and showed us how the waterwheel powered all the equipment in the mill with live working demonstrations.

Barry Mill's working cogs


Barry Mill

Following this excellent tour we drove back to Carnoustie as Helen wanted to take us out for dinner. We had an excellent meal at the Station Hotel and after taking Helen home again we parked up for the night in the same Carnoustie car park as the night before.

7th April 2012

In the morning, we drove to Glamis Castle & gardens in Glamis, near Forfar, Angus. We had an excellent tour around the castle that is the ancestral home of the Earls of Strathmore since 1372. Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was brought up in Glamis Castle with her 9 brothers and sisters. She was the youngest daughter of the 14th Earl. The Queen Mother had her own rooms in the castle until her death aged 100  in 2000 and they remain just as she left them.

The drive up to Glamis Castle

Liz at the front of Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle from the gardens

For more information on Glamis Castle visit .

Following this visit, we next went to the Angus Folk Museum in Glamis run by the National Trust for Scotland to see how the other half lived in those days. The museum is housed in six 18th century cottages and has a huge collection of rural life over a 200 year period. On the other side of the road there is a Life on the Land exhibition including a reconstructed farm courtyard with a bothy, smiddy, stables and a hearse house with a beautifully restored horse-drawn hearse. This was an interesting insight to the past.

Our next visit of the day was to Elcho Castle at Rhynd, Perthshire on the southern banks of the River Tay. Elcho Castle is an outstanding example of a shift in Scottish architecture from defensive to domestic. It was built in 1560 by the Wemys family. One of the things that struck us on walking around the castle’s interior was the large number of latrines (loos) in the castle, the forerunners of en-suite toilets!

Elcho Castle at Rhynd, Perthshire


SE Turret at Elcho Castle


A very fine oak refectory table in Elcho Castle

North side of Elcho Castle


Harrie parked up at Elcho Castle

Click on this link for more information on Historic Scotland’s Elcho Castle.

Our last visit of the day was to Moncrieffe Hill Wood just a short distance west from Rhynd and overlooking Perth. We parked Harrie in the car park and for the first time had to use two ramps under the back wheels as the car park was on a slope. We decided to stay in the car park over night however before we cooked dinner we walked up to the Moredun Top Fort and the Moncreiffe Hill Fort. The forts date back to about 2,700 to 1,500 years ago. The walk took us over two hours. There were stunning views from the tops of the hills over Perthshire. It was not quiet up at the top as the M9 motorway below was really very noisey.

Liz at the top of Moncreiffe Hill with the River Tay to the east in the background


Douglas at the top of Moncreiffe Hill with Perth in the background


Liz with wood art deer on the walk

Wood art 'Monsters' at the Moncreiffe Hill Wood walk


Liz sitting alongside a wood art eagle


Douglas sitting by a wood art eagle

This was quite a tiring walk at the end of the day as we didn’t get back to Harrie until nearly 8 pm when we cooked dinner and went to bed.

8th April 2012

We left the Moncreiffe car park and headed for the Stirling Mills at Tillicoutry arriving there at 10 am, opening time. This is a shopping centre of big names but at reduced prices…  Liz managed to buy her wedding outfit there for my son, Graeme’s wedding to Anne in June – very nice!

Our next visit and last one of the day was our third attempt to visit Alloa Tower, and, finally it was open!

Liz at the front of Alloa Tower


The orginal oak roof beams in Alloa Tower

Alloa Tower dates back to the 14th century and is the largest and oldest keep in Scotland and was the ancestral home of the Erskine family, the Earls of Mar and Kellie. The tower has been altered over the years and is now an 18th century mansion contained within a medieval shell. Unusual features include a sweeping Italianate staircase, a rare double groin-vaulted ceiling, a magnificent medieval oak-beamed roof, a medieval dungeon and a first floor well. The collection of paintings have been loaned by the current Earl of Mar and Kellie.  As Douglas’ grandmother was an Erskine and he, with a middle name of Erskine,  has traced his line of Erskines back to 1695, it was a particularly interesting visit.

Following this visit, we then drove across country west to Clydebank where we did our shopping and refuelled in Dunbarton with 52.76 ltr diesel costing £77.50 (120,781 km / 75,488 miles) and then drove home.

We enjoyed our journey through time and in fair weather too… We will now have to have a new exhaust fitted as it had been reported over the last two MOT’s that it would soon have to be changed – it has lasted very well!

Total mileage for the trip: 631.8 km / 395 miles.
Total mileage to date: 120,849 km / 75,531 miles.

We put a SORN on Harrie over the summer as we knew we would not be using her again until the autumn. She had a full cover over her to keep her well protected and clean. On 3rd September 2012 she was re-MOTed after replacing the entire exhaust system and replacing brakes plus a full service. (120 km to Dalvait Garage, Balloch and back – Total mileage to date = 120,969 km / 75,606 miles – this equates to an average of 3,780 miles per annum over 20 years).