Dumfries and Galloway

Trip Start May 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Having spent a couple of days after Christmas at Sian's Dad's, it was time to leave so we decided to stop in Dumfries and Galloway on the way back to do a bit of sightseeing. We saw a sign off the motorway for King Robert the Bruce's cave which turned out to be a small cave at the back of a campsite where he reputedly hid from the English king during the Wars of Independence. It was whilst there that he watched a spider spinning a web, falling and then getting up and trying again which inspired him further and he went on to defeat the King of England and re-establish independence for Scotland. It's a cool story if nothing else!! We carried on along the South West coast and stoppped next to look at the Ruthwell Cross. It's an 18ft cross from the 8th century which was smashed and buried during the Reformation. To be honest it was very uninspiring or maybe that was just the location as it's kept in a church, but we didn't think much of it!

Our next stop though was quite the opposite, Caerlaverock Castle - a picture perfect ruined castle which is easily one of our favourites. It's really characterful with a moat around it but bizarrely, inside is the Rennaissance style Nithsdale Lodging built by the Earl of Nithsdale during the 1600s - so its effectively a building within a building. We wandered in and around it, taking lots of pics, before heading further West along the coast to our last stop of the day, Sweetheart Abbey. Another good story - the abbey was founded by Devorgilla de Balliol from whom it takes it name. She carried around the embalmed heart of her husband (John Balliol, founder of Oxford college) for the last 22 years of her life until she died and was buried along with it, in a casket in the abbey. Although it was founded in 1273 it's pretty much intact apart from it's roof. Definitely worth a wander around although it was starting to get dark and wet so we didn't stay long.

Anyway that's it for now, more exploring Scotland to follow in 2006!

K & S.
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