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Scotland Travel Blog February 07

"Soldiers, St Andrews & Ships"

14th February 2007 -

Today's entry in our Scotland travel diaries coincides with St Valentine's Day, but no time (or budget) for nice romantic meals for two at Secret Scotland just work, work, work. On the plus side, the weather has remained crisp, bright and sunny. A lot better than the snow bound territories of England and Wales.

This week our travels have taken us to Perth for more research for our Military Culture Tours and, in particular, a more leisurely visit of the Black Watch museum. Mike is a bit of a WWII buff and is really fascinated by museums like this. I have to admit that I enjoyed it more than I expected, but it is the small personal items on display that I found most interesting.

One of the most intriguing items in the museum is a homemade gun/rifle that was used by Kenyan Mau Mau terrorists. It seems to have been made from a sliding door bolt and a piece of pipe that were just screwed on to a crudely carved rifle butt. It would have taken some courage to try to fire this gun as it looked like a 50:50 bet as to which way the bullet would exit the barrel.

Among the exhibits at the Black Watch museum are some very life-like waxworks in full uniform. They seem so real that you almost feel like saluting when you see them. The photo below maybe doesn't do them justice, but you can see them for yourself if you follow one of our Military Culture Tours.

Trench Scene recreated at Black Watch Museum Perth


7th February 2007 -

After a very wet and windy start to the year, it has been wonderful to get some great weather for photography. I travelled over to Fife for a few days and managed to get some excellent pictures of St Andrews from the top of St Rules tower. Climbing the steep spiral staircase of the tower made me realise just how unfit I've become over the winter. It's also a bit weird to climb this tower as you have almost no windows to see out of, and its hard to gauge how much more you have to climb.

St Andrews viewed from top of St Rules Tower

St Andrews was looking wonderful in the sunshine and it is easy to undertstand why this university town appeals to so many international scholars. I did, however, feel very old in St Andrews as half the town's population seems to be students in their early 20's, at most.

Ruins of St Andrews Cathedral on a bright winter day

The other highlight from last week was a visit to Discovery Point in Dundee. This is one of my favourite attractions in Scotland and I would include it in a list of things that all Scots should see. The RRS Discovery is an amazing ship and a testament to the skills of the Dundee shipbuilders. I owe a big thank you to Kim at Discovery Point for organising my visit. Pictures below.

RRS Discovery in dry dock at Dundee

The wheelhouse of the RRS Discovery



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