Archives » Vikings

Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

Last March we had to take a trip across to the west to Tarbet which is on (freshwater) Loch Lomond side. A narrow stretch of land (and hill) separates it from Arrochar on (sea) Loch Long. There’s only about a mile between them.

The Vikings once dragged their boats over the pass on rollers in order to stravaig up and down Loch Lomond.

The War Memorial lies beside the A 83 a bit nearer to Arrochar than Tarbet but covers both villages.

Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

Reverse view:-

<Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial/center>

The dedication is unusual in using Roman Numerals. “In memory MCMXIV-XVIII. MCMXXXIX-XLV”

Dedication, Arrochar and Tarbet War Memorial

At the base of the memorial this plaque reads, “The villagers of Arrochar and Tarbet Commemorate 50 Years of Peace VE and VJ Days 1995. With gratitude to those who served.”

Arrochar and Tarbet Peace Memorial

Maeshowe Chambered Burial Cairn, Orkney

Maeshowe is another neolithic site in Orkney I’d always wished to visit. It’s a 5,000 years old chambered cairn, with three burial chambers, two of which dog-leg to the right, one to the left. The bodies were exposed to the elements to be stripped down to the bones before being placed in the chamber.

Unlike other sites on Orkney you can only visit Maeshowe on a guided tour. The car park by the access path has been closed and access is only via a bus from the Visitor Centre in nearby Stenness village. The guide said the road was too dangerous to allow cars to turn in and out and pedestrians to cross unsupervised. Apparently someone had been clocked going at 152 miles per hour along the road!

Unfortunately internal photographs are not allowed. The guide said that was for reasons of time.

You have to bend down and stoop for metres to get into the chamber proper through the access tunnel. You’ll find a photo of the tunnel here.

In deepest winter around the winter solstice a shaft of sunlight lights up the passage and enters the large central chamber. There is a webcam site which shows live pictures from November to February. They seem to have had some trouble with it last year though.

In 1153 some Vikings broke in to Maeshowe to get shelter during a snowstorm which lasted for days and spent their time carving runes. These can be dated fairly precisely as this type of runes was only in use for a short time. Some of the runes can be seen on the Orkneyjar web page.

Also inscribed was a fenrir which some people call the Maeshowe dragon.

Maeshowe from access path:-

Maeshowe, Orkney, From Access Path

Maeshowe showing ring rampart:-

Maeshowe Showing Ring Ramparts

From access path, showing entrance:-



Maeshowe Chamber  entrance  ce

Maeshowe from south:-

Maeshowe From South

From north:-

Maeshowe from North

Stones of Stenness (to left) and Ness and Ring of Brodgar (to right) from Maeshowe. Loch of Harray in middle ground, Loch of Stenness above and to left :-

Stones of Stenness and Brodgar from Maeshowe

Great Tapestry of Scotland and Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 10: TSB Bank London Road

A couple of weeks ago, mostly on the good lady’s volition, we travelled to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland which was on show at the Scottish Parliament building. Its exhibition there finishes sometime in September and it will eventually end up in Melrose when the new rail line to the borders is complete.

It’s quite an impressive collection – of embroidery rather than tapestry but Hey-ho – of over 100 panels stitched by volunteers from round Scotland each one illustrating a piece of Scottish history.

I may get round to posting other views of the panels but this one featured Dumbarton Rock, which in 870 AD (or 870 CE if you prefer) fell to the Vikings:-

on the way back to where we’d parked I captured the building below on pixels. I’d passed it many times before in the car but never stopped near enough by. It’s the TSB bank in East Norton Place (London Road) Edinburgh.

The pillars on the corners are good. The street sign on the bank also says East Norton Place. From the other side the pillars are again stand outs. The style of the number 30 is nicely deco too.

free hit counter script