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Scotland Off the Road

Sure the easy way to discover a country is to make use of the road network and make some photo stops on the way. If you want to get to know a place though you need to make some detours without a vehicle and start to wander. Get sure you have a map, but also be prepared to get lost. Only if you discover on your own you will see true beauty and make the journey yours.

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Discovering Inveraray Estate

Inveraray Castle is situated close to Loch Fyne in the mighty Highlands of Scotland. The building is part of a large Estate belonging to the Dukes of Argyll, a branch of the Campbell family. The castle was built in the middle of the 18th century, but was remodelled in large parts after a fire in 1877. In 2019 Inveraray still belongs to the Campbell family, but is open to visitors as well. Part of the Estate is also a beautiful garden, a forrest and a cattle farm with highland cows.

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Of Castles and Bridges

The islands of Great Britain and Ireland are crammed with historic monuments from different time periods, reaching from pre-antiquity (Stonehenge) to the modern era (Shard in London). Many interesting sights though were built in medieval and early modern times (St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland, picture 1 and Culzean Castle, Scotland, pictures 3, 5 and 7) or in the time of industrialisation (Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, England, picture 2, Menai Bridge, Wales, picture 4 and Britannia Bridge, Wales, picture 6). Some impressions.

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Garden of Arundel

England is famous for it’s garden culture. The English garden was created in the 18th century in contrast to the French garden, which is very structured with symmetrical ways and central points. Hence it is a metaphor for the French absolutism of it’s time with the Sun king being in the center of power, all possible ways departing from him. The English system was more nuanced and unclear, hence there are more secret passage ways in the Gardens, an aura of mystery and uncertainty sometimes, the structures being not so clear and open to exploration. But of course the English garden like it’s French cousin is everything but natural, it is thoroughly human-made. One example being the Garden of Arundel at the grounds of the castle with the same name in Southern England. The temperated weather in this part of the UK allows for beautiful gardens with surprising diversity, consisting of local flowers but also more exotic ones.

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Land of the Clansmen

For centuries Scotland used to be the land of the Clansmen. The country was divided and governed by families like the MacDonalds, Camerons or MacKenzies. All of which had their own tartans, traditions and allegiances and were interlocked in a fight for influence and wealth. What they had in common was a deep connection and history with the land they occupied and an immense pride to be fierce fighters and survivors of the north. It was seldom though that they agreed on anything politically, it needed an outside force – a common enemy – to gather the concurring clans like in the wars led by national heroes like William Wallace (his monument is seen in the last picture), Robert the Bruce or lastly Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century. That enemy of course was England. After the shattering battle of Culloden in which the Scottish forces lost against the English king the history of the clan-ships ended. Though their traditions and history can be seen all over the country – the spirit of fierce warriors and the deep connection to their native land can be felt and is still there.

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