Cross at Edinburgh Castle
Avalon and the Avebury Tor
The next day we picked up a car rental to head up to Sterling. Our first
stop was at Bannockburn. The site and battlefield where Robert the Bruce
defeated the English after the death of Wallace. We then visited Sterling
Castle and it amazed me to be standing in the entrance where William Wallace
broke down the gate and took the castle from the English. At the same time it
was sad to realize all the Scots that Edward I also hung on the walls of the
cstle to be tortured as well. we then went to the William Wallace
memorial, a long hike up the hill, then 240 steps to the top. It has an
amazing view of Sterling from the top.
The next part was driving through the highlands to the Isle of Skye. As we neared the Skye bridge we stopped at Donan Castle. This is the location where the Highlander Movie and series were filmed. Upon crossing the bridge and entering Skye we made our way to Portree. If you ahve never been to Skye it is a must. The landscape is like being on another plant! Driving through the middle of the Island. I highly recommend getting off the highways and taking back roads. You will be amazed at the tings you will see from castle ruins, to ancient farms. Afer a night at a bed & breakfast with a spectacular view of the Atlantic ocean we headed back to Portree. My family history traced my Great, Great Grandfahter Smith back to Portree. The ship's manifest from Glasgow listed this as his place of residence. I could see why he would have been here. The town is a sister city to my home town in Gloucester, MA where I grew up. A small fishing town right on the water. An easy fit to why he made his way to Goucester in the USA>
Glas - St. - Johns
Basically an overview of our trip is that we spent 2
days in London. We spent one day traveling around the city
and seeing some of the typical sites. A few off the beaten paths are that we went to London Bridge instead of
tower bridge. The reason was that William Wallace's head was placed on London Bridge (since rebuilt, same
location) and it was a place I wanted to go to. The second day we took the King Arthur Tour out to Stonehenge, Then on to Glastonbury Tor (Avalon) from where it was believed that King Arthur fortressed his Kingdom. Then on to the Chalice Well Garden. This is the site legend tells that Joseph of Arimithia brought the Last Supper Cup to and buried it in this well to prevent Idol Worship. Having trade routes between the middle east and England, it is a place a carpenter may have traveled to for timber. The next stop was Glastonbury, some pictures of the Glastonbury Abbey that was destroyed when the church would not convert. It is similar to Westminster Abbey in design and also the site where Arthur was buried. The last stop was Avebury. This has the largest stone henge that is in the U. K. As you an see the stones surround the city. It is believed it was simply a fertility calendar for livestock and children so that children would be born after the harsh winter. Most henges were built to track the calendar seasons for agriculture, fertility and basic track of time. With the location of the sun, moon, and starts in relation to the henge, farmers could tell what time of season and year it was.
The next 3 days were in Birmingham for a friend's baby
christening that were the God-Parents of Sophie Barker. While there we
went on a tour to Warwick castle, one of the 2 castles in the war of the
Roses, that the Duke of York based his military. The original castle was was built in 1090 shortly after the invasion of William the Conqueror in
1066 at Hastings. Through the decades additional towers and walls were added
to create the castle today.
The last 4 days were in Scotland. The first day was touring around Edinburgh and seeing many of the historic sites in the photos. I spent some time in the military archives of Edinburgh Castle and found a relative of my grandmother's. In 1814, a great Uncle was killed in the Napoleonic wars. Frank Chamberlain was a Sergeant in the 79th Cameron Highlanders. The family traces to Canada then to Brewer, Main. Joshua Chamberlain (Great, Great Grandfather) that was in command of the 10th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg. He is famed for holding the ranks at Little Round Top and charging the enemy with no ammunition using only bayonets to fend off the Confederate troops. This was a key battle in the Union Victory.
Bill and Jennifer Smith's Tour of Scotland! Page One