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Queens View

Back refreshed after a couple of weeks in glorious Perthshire. We packed a lot into the holiday and I’ll be sharing bits and pieces over the coming days. First though one of my inevitable holiday snaps:

Queens View, Loch Tummel Perthshire

Queens View, Loch Tummel Perthshire

This is Queens View at Loch Tummel, a few miles from where we were based.The main hill in the picture is Schiehallion and if you follow its slope down to the right, you can just make out the hills of Glencoe.

This is widely regarded as one of the finest views in Scotland.

There is some doubt, though perhaps only a little as to how the name Queens View (or Queen’s View if you prefer) came about.  Some hold the notion that the Queen referred to is Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce, others that Mary Queen of Scots visited there. However this account from visitrannoch.com perhaps has more provenance.

Still impressive - even on a dull day!

Still impressive - even on a dull day!

“Victoria certainly visited it in 1866, when travelling privately, “incognita” as she so correctly puts it. Her Journal for Wednesday 3rd October tells of a long drive she took from Dunkeld. by Dalguise and Aberfeldy to Kenmore, in time for lunch by Loch Tay at 1:30 p.m. They went on by Fortingall and past Coshieville, up the very steep hill, and on to “a dreary wild moor, passing below Schiehallion one of the high hills – and at the summit of the road came to a small loch, called Ceannairdiche. Soon after this we turned down the hill again into woods and came to Tummel Bridge, where we changed horses. Here were a few, but very few people who I think from what Brown and Grant said recognised us, but behaved extremely well, and did not come near. This was at twenty minutes to four. We then turned as it were homewards, but had to make a good long circuit, and drove along the side of Loch Tummel, high above the loch, through birch wood, which grows along the hills much the same as about Birkhall. It is only three miles long. Here it was again very clear and bright. At the end of the loch, on a highish point called after me ‘The Queen’s View’ – though I had not been there in 1844 – we got out and took tea. But this was a long and unsuccessful business; the fire would not burn, and the kettle would not boil. At length Brown ran off to a cottage and returned after some little while with a can full of hot water, but it was no longer boiling when it arrived, and the tea was not good. Then all had to be packed, and it made us very late. It was fast growing dark. We passed Alleine (now Queen’s View Hotel). . . and then at about half past six, changed horses at the Bridge of Garry near, or rather in the midst of, the Pass of Killiecrankie; but from the lateness of the hour and the dullness of the evening – for it was raining we could see hardly anything.

“We went through Pitlochry, where we were recognised, but got through quietly enough, and reached Ballinluig, where the Duchess’s horses were put on, at a little before half-past seven. Here the lamps were lit, and the good people had put two candles in each window! They offered to bring ‘Athole Brose’ which we however declined. The people pressed round the carriage, and one man brought out a bull’s-eye lantern which he turned on me. But Brown..,” Needless to say, John Brown intervened, and protected the Queen from the vulgar people of Ballinluig. If the vantage point was known as “Queen’s View” before Victoria’s visit, perhaps it had been admired by Mary Queen of Scots. She had certainly visited the Atholl area on great hunting expeditions, and there are various legends about harps and harp-strings
which, though perhaps not totally authentic, might still have a basis of truth. In any case, the Queen’s view well deserves its regal title.”


On the Mary Queen of Scots Trail

My elder daughter has been doing a project (topic as they call it these days) at school about Mary Queen of Scots. It is fair to say that the story of Scotland’s most famous monarch has captured her imagination so much that it has almost become an obsession. Indeed the conversation at chez bigrab has revolved around MQS for some weeks. When I mentioned recently that we could perhaps go for a daytrip to take in Linlithgow Palace (MQS birthplace) and Edinburgh Castle (Home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and birthplace of King James VI), the pressure did not let up! So today with both daughters and leaving Mrs Bigrab to enjoy some solitude we took to the road.

dscf1691.jpgLinlithgow Palacedscf1685.jpgLinlithgow CastleSt. Michaels Church Linlithgow Palace

The photos above are of Linlithgow Palace which is essentially a ruin, albeit a very impressive one. Click on a thumbnail to view pics. Click Here for information about the palace and the adjoining St. Michaels Church.

After about an hour and a half there we progressed to Edinburgh where I took the following pics.

Edinburgh Castle entranceEdinburghEdinburghStained glass window edinburgh castleSt. Giles Cathedral and Sir Walter Scott Statue

Scottish parliament sign Church of Scotland Assembly Rooms

The highlight of the trip for Hannah was to see the Scottish Crown Jewels

Scottish Crown Jewels

Amazing to think that these were fashioned in the 16th century. The perfect sphere of rock crystal on the sceptre apparently took a craftsman 6 months full time work to complete.

More info about Edinburgh Castle is Here

It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip and I love Edinburgh (except for the traffic!) but a song kept coming to my mind. It was this from Mike Scott.

Edinburgh Castle – Mike Scott. Click Here to Listen

Mary Queen of Scots Watch

Thank you to the Watchismo Times for this fascinating piece about Mary Queen of Scots watch. I have reproduced the article here:


I'm celebrating the week leading to Halloween with a variety of spooky timepieces!

Not long before Mary Queen of Scots had her own head chopped off, she had this bone chilling silver skull watch made. The case is opened by dropping the under jaw, which turns upon a hinge, while the watchworks occupy the place of the brain.

Likely one of the earliest examples of horological "Memento Mori" (artistic reminders of ones mortality).

See all my past Memento Mori watch posts–>Link


The original engraved dial with 18th century modified to a balance-spring movement by J. Moysan of Blois, France.

Early representations of the watch
(before photography proved its existence)

It is believed Mary gave this watch as a gift to Mary Seaton, one of her maids of honor. The skull is of silver gilt and is engraved with lines of Horace, figures of Death with his scythe and hourglass, Adam and Eve, and the Crucifixion. The lower part of the skull is pierced to emit the sound when it strikes, being cut in the form of emblems of the Crucifixion. The works occupy the brain's position in the skull fitting into a silver bell which fills the entire hollow of the skulL The hours are struck on this bell by a small hammer on a separate train..

She sure must have been a barrel of laughs…

There's something about Mary…

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