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United Kingdom - Stoneage Monuments and Medieval Castles

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Travel pictures from England, Scotland, and Wales

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn


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In August 2000 I spent 3 weeks in Western Europe in the United Kingdom for a conference. I took a few days off to drive through England, Wales, and Scotland. On two weekends I drove through Wales, the Lake District, and Yorkshire. During the last week I drove north into Scotland along the west coast, all the way to the north shore, then along the north shore east to the northern most point of the mainland. From there I drove back south along the east coast, with a visit to Loch Ness.

The most impressive sites for me personally were the stoneage monuments. They are all over the mainland. Stonehenge is the most famous and largest of these, but the others are also quite remarkable.

The other interesting kind of sites are the castles. They are abundant and worth visiting as well.

Here are some of the pictures that I took on my trip through England, Wales, and Scotland.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn


Today's UK

heatherHeather on the North York Moors. (887k)
morning fogMorning fog near Kilmartin on the west coast of Central Scotland. (421k)
lake meadowPasture in the Lake District. (881k)
wall stepsMany pastures are enclosed with stone walls. These stones are set in the walls so people can get across the walls without a ladder. (1168k)
amphitheatreMalham Cove, a limestone amphitheater in the Yorkshire Dales. (826k)
carstLimestone carst formation in the Yorkshire Dales on the plateau above the amphitheater. This makes for difficult walking on the plateau. (1090k)
glacier valleyA valley carved by glaciers with its characteristic U-shape somewhere on the west coast of Scotland. (661k)
north shoreThe north shore of Scotland at Duncansby Head on the northeastern tip of the mainland. (593k)
loch nessA view of Loch Ness in central Scotland. (685k)
nessieLoch Ness with the trail of Nessie clearly visible. (653k)
tree roadA road in southern England. There were many small roads like this, covered with trees. It's like driving through a tunnel. (979k)
narrow roadMany roads in Scotland are VERY narrow. They are not one-way roads. They have passing areas at more or less regular intervals. One such passing area is visible about 30 m down the road from my car. (1128k)
road passingA view of one of the narrow roads with regular passing bays. (1021k)
roundaboutRoundabouts are the way to handle traffic in the UK. If there is no real roundabout, a painted white circle in the intersection will serve as one. (1007k)
welsh nameThe Welsh names are somewhat different from other parts of the UK (807k)
jodrell bankSince I am an Astronomer, I had to visit the big radio telescope at Jodrell Bank. It is quite big! (727k)
whitbyWhitby, a picturesque coastal town in North Yorkshire, with a large cathedral ruin overlooking the town. (816k)
conwyConwy on the northern coast of Wales still has the medieval city wall all around the town center. (933k)
conwy soundThe estuary at Conwy in northern Wales. (756k)
stone houseA stone house in the Lake District. (1097k)
village innA village pub in southern England. (1043k)
thatched houseThatched-roof house in southern England. (1091k)
village churchVillage Church in near New Galloway in southern Scotland. (896k)
rowhousesNot everything is as picturesque as the preceding pictures. These row houses near Manchester are much drearier. (869k)

Castles

dunrobinCastles come in all sizes and conditions. This one is still lived in. It is Dunrobin Castle on the east coast of northern Scotland near Golspie. (894k)
gardens 1Many of the castles come with scenic gardens. These were at Dunrobin Castle. (827k)
gardens 2Another view of the gardens at Dunrobin Castle. (836k)
eilean donanThen there are the older castles. This is Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich, one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland. (1006k)
glenfiddich castleThen there are the castle ruins. This is Balvenie Castle, a castle ruin right next to the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland. (731k)
castle ruinAnd in some cases there is not much left. These are the remnants of a small castle on the west coast of northern Scotland. (510k)
cathedralAnd some of the Cathedrals didn't make it either. This is a Cathedral in Elgin in northern Scotland, east of Inverness. (k). (766k)

Stone Age Remains

brochGoing back in time. This is the remnant of a Broch. These were circular towers, some 20 m high. They had a very small entrance, typically only 1 m high. They were used in Viking times as refuges. When the Vikings came, the villagers scattered their life stock and retreated into the Broch. With the small entrance and the high walls, there was no way to get in for the Vikings. The villagers didn't have a well in the Broch, but the Vikings didn't lay siege on these fortifications. When they couldn't get in, they left for their next victim. (739k)
broch descrSign with the description of a Broch. (870k)
noname cairnFurther back in time are the Stone Age remnants of which Scotland is full. Most frequently you see standing stones and cairns, the Stone Age burial mounds. This is a cairn and a standing stone that I just happened to notice. It was not marked at all. There are too many of them to mark them all. This one was in northern Scotland on the west coast, coming out of Ullapool on the way to the north coast of Scotland. (1005k)
standing stonesThis is near Kilmartin in southeastern Scotland. There are several cairns, standing stones and rock carvings in this area. (964k)
standing stones closeThere were two rows of standing stones in this pasture near Kilmartin. (1173k)
standing stones detailCloseup of the row with 4 stones. (972k)
cairn stoneringThis is a cairn with a stone circle around the center. It is in the same area as the standing stones. (1269k)
cairn overgrownThis is a cairn that was partly overgrown. It is in the same area near Kilmarin as the standing stones. You can see the burial chamber. (1014k)
cairn chamberA closeup of the burial chamber of a cairn in the same area. (805k)
stone carvingsStone carvings in the same area. (1159k)
open cairnThe Balnuaran of Clava, near Culloden, east of Inverness. This is a group of 3 large cairns with open burial chambers. (1152k)
camster cairns The Grey Cairns of Camster. There is one circular large cairn in the foreground, and the long cairn in the background. The cairn in the foreground is about 18 m in diameter, 6 m high. There are three burial chambers that you can enter, one in the round cairn, and two in the long cairn. The long cairn is about 70 m long. They are 4000 - 5000 years old! (693k)
cairn insideThe inside of the burial chamber of the round cairn of the Camster cairns. You have to crawl through the tunnel to get inside. The tunnel is about 1 m high. (710k)
many stonesThe \"Hill o' Many Stanes\", on the east coast of northern Scotland, south of Wick. There are 22 parallel rows of stones, each about 20 m long. The stones are about 40 - 60 cm high. There are currently about 200 stones left, originally there were about 600. Nobody knows why they put these stones there. Maybe kids playing after school. (975k)
stone ringThe Castlerigg Stone Circle, a ring of standing stones near Keswick in the northern Lake District of England. It is about 30 m in diameter and has a smaller rectangular enclosure inside, visible in the back on the left side. (648k)
stonehenge fullAnd finally the Big Kahuna of the stone rings, Stonehenge itself. (850k)
stonehenge closeA close-up view of parts of the Stonehenge circle. (996k)
stonehenge detailDetail view of some of the stones of Stonehenge. (796k)
stonehenge ringThe oldest part of Stonehenge is a ditch and earth wall around the central part with the standing stones. (375k)
And here is the explanation for Stonehenge and Easter IslandAnd here is the explanation for Stonehenge and Easter Island (59k)

Flora and Fauna

heather closeHeather on the Highlands of Scotland. (1212k)
fingerhutFoxglove, the source of the medicine Digitalis. (816k)
fingerhut closeA close-up of the foxglove flower. (824k)
bumble beeA bumble bee visiting a flowering thistle. (785k)
bee 2An even higher resolution closeup of that picture. (620k)
bird colonySeabird colony in Scotland. (1094k)
cattleScottish highland cattle. (1142k)


Sheepdog Trials

On the trip through the Lake District we happened to see a sign to a sheep dog trial. I had just a few months before seen a TV report about these events, so I jumped to the opportunity to see this live. It was really interesting. The shepherd was standing at the bottom end of the course and directed the dog through whistles only (see diagram). The dog had to drive 4 sheep through three gates, around the post where the shepherd was standing, and then into a pen. The sheep were fairly wild, so the ran from the dog whenever the dog got close. If the dog got too close, they would scatter, so the dog had to be careful not to spook them too much. The last part, getting the sheep into the pen was the most difficult, the sheep just didn't want to get into such an enclosure. Only one dog got the sheep into the pen while I was watching. sheepdog trialDiagram of the trial course. (100k)
sheepdog 1The dog starts stalking the sheep. They watch him closely. (1084k)
sheepdog 2He has them on the run right through the gate. Here he can drive them fast since they can't scatter because of the fence. A couple of times though one of the sheep decided to go around the fence instead of through the gate. That is a deduction from the score for that run. Now he has to run around the gate and in front of the sheep to steer them to the next gate. (1045k)
sheepdog 3He is working them around the pole where the shepherdess stands, slowly so they don't scatter. (982k)
sheepdog 4That's it! Got them all penned up. (1010k)


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© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
Retired
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