I’ve been enjoying creating these photography series. They seem the best way to showcase the photos that I’d like to share with all of you. I have shared many doors since discovering Norm’s (host of Thursday Doors) blog.
I shared in last week’s Friday Faves that my mother and I would be traveling back to the United Kingdom in May. The logistics were still being worked out at that time, but have since been booked. I promised to share our plans so I thought that for today’s photography series we’d travel back to my time in Scotland.
Our time in Stirling, Scotland to be exact. I’ve chosen this location because Stirling is considered to be the “Gateway to the Highlands”.
You may recall that we took a day trip from Edinburgh to visit Stirling Castle. I’ve even showcased the King’s Old Building that is located at the castle. But I also admired the doors as I strolled through town.
The Hotel Colessio is located at 33 Spittal Street. Its architecture was quite magnificent. I’ve captured the end, but the entry has a portico with Doric columns to welcome you. My shot of the entry was through the fence as we were heading toward a lunch destination, so it didn’t do it enough justice to share. I’ve linked the hotel in case you’d like to see the entire building.
The hotel website shares that this building was a landmark in Stirling. I did a little digging because I know you all want the details. According to Canmore, it was designed by James Gillespie Graham and was built 1825-1827 as the Commercial Bank. It was converted to use as the first Stirling Infirmary in 1873-1874 and enlarged in 1878, 1883, and 1913. It was later used as the district library and offices for the Forth Valley Health Board.
The Stirling Highland Hotel.
I didn’t get any photos of the doors of the Stirling Highland Hotel, but the building was just too beautiful not to capture.
The hotel is located on Spittal Street and according to its history section, the property was once a Franciscan (or Greyfriars) Convent, founded by King James IV in 1494. The King who died at the Battle of Flodden often did penance at the Greyfriars. The Convent was demolished in 1559.
In 1852, it was proposed to build a new school house. Stirling’s old Grammar School merged with the English and Mathematical Academy, and in 1856 the new High School of Stirling moved into this site. The hotel has retained remnants of the old school in its interior design.
Since traveling and photography are still somewhat new to me, I am learning lessons as I go forward. One of those lessons is to take notes on the locations of my photos. Sometimes, I am able to use Google maps, taking into account where the photo falls in my sequence. It’s likely that this door was on St. John Street, but don’t take my word for it.
No. 2 Baker Street.
The doors aren’t really visible on this building, but the building itself looked amazing.
No. 2 Baker Street is a Belhaven Pub. This is where we stopped for lunch before catching the train back to Edinburgh.
While I am no expert on dining in Scotland, there was one thing that I noticed about many of the pubs that we frequented. Unlike at a “restaurant” where the waiter/waitress takes your order and serves your meal, at these pubs, your table has a number on it. You then order your food and drinks at the bar and let them know your table number.
I ate fish and chips at almost every pub we visited. You just can’t go wrong with fish and chips. In case you’re wondering, I did try a bite of my aunt’s haggis. Although this was not the day or restaurant in which she ordered it.
I liked that No. 2 Baker Street offered a flight of beers. I love trying beers that aren’t available (or at least, easily available) in the United States. I tried many different brands while in Scotland. The bartender helped me choose my flight because I prefer darker beers (think Guinness as opposed to a citrusy IPA). Another lesson learned about note-taking… I could barely remember the names of the three I had chosen by the time I sat down. It was hard enough to remember all the parts to correctly order for three people, much less remember beer names. Next time I’ll snap a picture of the taps. I do know that my favorite had “red” in the name and I’m pretty sure it included a man’s name. When asked which was my favorite, she informed me that one had the highest alcohol content. Big surprise that it was my favorite! Just kidding. I really like its flavor best.
39 St John Street.
It’s an interesting thing about 39 St John Street.
I took the photo of this door because it said Bothwell House. Documents vary on the birthplace of my great-great grandfather James Scott (1865-1925), but further research shows that it is Bothwell. He was born in Holytown, which was a village in the parish of Bothwell, explaining why they were used interchangeably. His wife, Agnes McLachlan (1865-1944) narrows it even more on her U.S. Naturalization Records, stating that he was born at Pollocks Hill, Scotland. At one time, I had found information on Pollocks Hill, but it is buried in my paperwork. Given that his father was a miner, I suspect it was an area of homes rented by miners.
The interesting thing about this door though is that I looked up its history. The townhouse was originally built in the 16th Century, although it has gone through many alterations. It is traditionally associated with the family of Bruce of Auchenbowie. Robert Bruce of Auchenbowie was the magistrate of Stirling in 1521 and Provost in 1556.
While I could tell you exactly where this is located or you could take a stroll along Google maps and find it, since I can tell that it is somebody’s actual residence, I won’t be publicly disclosing my information. The reason that I stopped to photograph the entry was that I loved that they had horseshoes hung on the entry, along with the hanging planters and window boxes (Cee’s “X” fun foto challenge)
I’ve always heard about horseshoes being hung for good luck but had never seen it done in real life. According to this website, horseshoes have always been a traditional symbol associated with good luck. They are often used as a part of a Scottish wedding ceremony. The “U” shape retains the luck.
Pre-Christian traditions hold that its supernatural powers were associated with the crescent moon. Many modern associations are associated with the 10th Century legend of St. Dunstan. St. Dunstan trapped the devil and extracted a promise not to enter the home of Christians, evidenced by horseshoes over the doorway.
A horseshoe was commonly held in place by seven iron nails, which has been considered an important number since the ancient times.
Given that this home has four horseshoes, I hope that it finds itself very lucky indeed.
The Turquoise Door.
I saved my favorite door for last. The Turquoise Door. I can’t tell if this was a private residence, but it’s extremely close to Stirling Castle. If you’ve been to Stirling Castle, then there is no way that you’ve missed a door this vibrant!
As to why I’ve decided to take you along a tour of Stirling, it is because this May my mother and I will spend some time visiting the Highlands.
We will be flying into London and spending a few days seeing some of the local sights (I know this is nowhere near enough time to see all that London has to offer). We have a pretty action-packed trip, mostly because my mom is not sure if she will travel overseas again (She said that the last time. I’m pretty convincing).
From London, we will fly to Inverness. We will be relying on public transportation, which makes the logistics a little harder, but I’m sure we’ll manage.
Isle of Lewis.
We fly over to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis because we have a dream of seeing the Standing Stones of Callanish. It is a one day over and back trip. We are also doing a day tour that will take us to see Eileen Donan Castle and the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye, as well as some other sights. While we haven’t booked anything, I don’t think we can go all that way and not do a boat cruise along Loch Ness to search for Nessie and take in Urquhart Castle.
I’ve also read about a bookshop (Leakey’s ) and a pub (Hootenanny’s. – this one, for traditional Scottish music, but also because “hootenanny” is an Appalachian colloquialism and I now live in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia) in Inverness that I must visit.
Any other words of wisdom, or must-sees, in Inverness?
We will then head to Edinburgh for a few days before traveling back to London to fly home. We plan to see things that we didn’t see before and may take the train over to Glasgow since that area is where our ancestral roots are located and we loved it so much when we visited before.
Those are our big plans.
If you’ve been to any of these places, share your favorite place and thing to see.
Let your light shine!