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Piping at Markinch Highland Games

(Click on each photo to play video.)

At last year’s Markinch Highland Games it seemed there were pipe bands everywhere.

Either practicing:-

Pipe Band Practice, Markinch Highland Games

More Pipe Band Practice, Markinch Highland Games

Markinch Highland Games, PIpe Band Practicing3

PIpe Band Practicing, Markinch Highland Games

Or getting ready to compete:-

Pipe Band Competition, Markinch Highland Gamess

Everything is judged, from the clothing to the marching up, the start, the marching, the piping, the drumming. Isuppos even the drummers’ stick twirling.

Approaching Start Point:-

Markinch Highland Games, Pipe Band Competition Approaching Start Point

Here we go:-

Pipe Band Competition Start, Markinch Highland Games

Markinch Highland Games 2019

Our nearest town, Markinch, is on the Highland Games circuit.

Like many other things this year’s event sadly had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

Last year, however, we made our first visit to Markinch Games as part of our contribution to the community. The Community Council provided filled rolls and coffee, tea etc at the Pavilion in John Dixon Park and we were helping there. We both managed to get around for a wander though.

(It wasn’t our first Highland Games. Many years ago we had attended one in Ceres.)

It’s not just athletics, there’s a Pipe Band competition – you can’t get away from the sound of the pipes – and a fun fair.

Video of fun fair:-

Fairground, Markinch Highland Games 2019

Athletics field:-

Markinch Highland Games Athletics Field 2019

Throwing the weight over a bar:-

Weight tossing

Not always successfully:-

Weight tossing

There was caber tossing too (you could see the cabers on the ground) but it wasn’t on at the time either of us had the stroll.

The athletics is taken very seriously. They had testers for illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in a separate room at the Pavilion.

This is a video of the finish of the 1600m handicap race:-

Finish, 1600 m Handicap, Markinch Highland Games 2019

Interior, Markinch Primary School

I posted about the outside of Markinch Primary School here.

In May 2019 I had occasion to visit the school and got a look at the interior. Imagine my delight to find these Art Deco style doors at the entrance to the school’s Assembly Hall, complete with porthole windows and glass bricks.

Interior Markinch Primary School

I didn’t have my camera. All three of these photos were taken on a mobile phone, so are a bit blurry.

The stairway has Deco flourishes-

Stairway, Markinch Primary Schoo

With a nice curve to the handrail:-

Markinch Primary School Stairway

The Back Burn, Balbirnie

The Back Burn runs through the Balbirnie Estate on its way from the East Lomond round Markinch and on to the River Leven near Methilhill. It’s good for walks – even when you’re not cooped up by a lockdown.

After wandering under the A 92 and through a wooded glen it runs past the eighteenth hole of the golf course built over half of the estate:-

Balbirnie burn

Then down a cobbled slope:-

Burn

Under a bridge:-

Back Burn

On:-

Burn

And on:-

Back Burn

Back Burn

Before swinging under another bridge to make a turn under Stob Cross Road across to the railway line and down the east of Markinch:-

Back Burn

One of the things you might not expect to see in Fife but is present in the estate is a Giant Redwood tree:-

giant redwood tree

There’s a wildlife pond between the boarded path and the redwood as seen from near the burn:-

A Giant Redwood in Fife

Balbirnie Estate has a lot of rhododendron plants. They’re just about on the point of coming into flower this year. This was from 2019:-

Rhododendron, Balbirnie, Fife

Markinch War Memorial Addendum

I posted some photographs of the nearest War Memorial (Markinch) to Son of the Rock Acres here. I did not at the time post details of the dedications.

Great War dedication, “To the glory of God and in memory of the men from Markinch who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914 – 1919” below carved figure of St George.

Markinch War Memorial, Great War  Dedication and St George.

World War 2 dedication, “Remember also those who laid down their lives in the Second World War 1939 – 1945,” plus names of the fallen below carved figure of St Drostan:-

Markinch War Memorial WW2 Dedication and St Drostan

Surround stones. These display the names of the Great War dead on their internal faces:-

Markinch War Memorial, Surround Stones

Haig Memorial, Ladybank

Field Marshal Earl Haig‘s family were the proprietors of Haig whisky. Their Ramornie House was near the town of Ladybank (see the two previous posts) and even had their own waiting room at the local Railway Station, though it was built by a previous onwer of the Ramornie Estate.

Their whisky distillery was a few miles away in Markinch.

There are two memorials to the Field Marshal in Ladybank.

Haig Memorial Gates, Ladybank. The inscription reads, “These pillars and chains were erected by the ex-service men of Ladybank and district to the glorious memory of Field-Marshal Earl Haig.” Ladybank War Memorial is in the background:-

Haig Memorial Gates, Ladybank

The Haig Memorial Garden lies behind Ladybank’s War Memorial. This is how the garden looked in 2018:-

Haig Memorial Garden, Ladybank

Information Board, Haig Memorial Garden:-

Information Board Haig Memorial Garden, Ladybank

A plaque on the wall gives the information that the gardens were refurbished in 1993 and re-opened by Menzies Campbell, then the local MP:-

Refurbishment Plaque Haig Memorial Gardens, Ladybank

St Drostan’s Markinch

I’ve posted photos of St Drostan’s – aka Markinch Parish Church – before.

The kirk has a twelfth century tower. Archæological investigations have been ongoing recently resulting in this information board showing its possible construction and some details of the stonework.

Information Board St Drostan's Markinch

A very short discussion on the archæological findings is here.

At the top of the entrance steps up to the kirk is an outbuilding, I think it’s the Session House, which has this unusual windowed niche in it. I think the crown above it represents some sort of royal connection:-

Niche in Outbuilding, St Drostan's, Markinch

Art Deco Butcher’s Shop, Markinch

This is kind of hidden away in Commercial Street, Markinch. If you drive straight through the town from either of its entrances you won’t see it as it’s on a street that goes between those two main roads.

J Hastie. Scottish Craft Butcher. Rule of three in upper windows, curved shop windows. It is still a functioning butcher’s:-

Art Deco Butcher's Shop, Markinch

Other angle:-

Markinch, Art Deco Butcher's Shop

Curved windows:-

Art Deco Style Butcher's Shop Windows,Markinch

Markinch Primary School

Markinch is the town nearest to Son of the Rock Acres. It’s a bit bigger than a village. Big enough to have a reasonably large Primary School which has some Art Deco styling.

I suspect, though, it was built in the 1950s when there was still a hangover of Deco style from pre Second World War days.

I took care to photograph it in summer when there were no children around.

Markinch Primary School from John Dixon Park:-

Markinch Primary School

Seen from northwest. Rule of three in windows, brick “portholes”, flat roof, square chimney tower:-

Markinch Primary School Part of West Side

West side Close-up:-

Markinch Primary School West Side Close-up

North side from northeast. Porthole window, canopy, rectangular chimney block, metal railing on wall, metal gate:-

Markinch Primary School, North Side from Northeast.

Old “boys” entrance. Canopy with porthole window above, frieze:-

Markinch Primary School Entrance

South side from southeast. Canopy, porthole window. Old “girls” entrance.

Markinch Primary School South Side from Southeast

East side. Rule of three in some windows. White “portholes”:-

East Side, Markinch Primary School

Fife Pilgrim Way

A project to resurrect the mediæval Fife Pilgrim Way is now well in hand.

There were two main routes across the county (or kingdom as the locals still refer to it at times,) starting at Culross and North Queensferry and ending up at St Andrews.

The ancient route went through the nearest small town to Son of the Rock Acres, Markinch, the ancient capital of Fife.

There are some hopes the restored route(s) will bring modern day pilgrims (and other tourists) to the town.

A year or so ago there was an information day about the Pilgrim Way at St Drostan’s church. On display were several representations of monastic and pilgrim life, rendered in knitwear.

Trees and pilgrims:-

Knitted Trees and Pilgrims

Church:-

Knitted Church

Monks:-

Knitted  Monks

Monks’ garden:-

Knitted Garden

Monastery vegetable patch:-

Knitted Vegetable Patch

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