Best Place For A Joust-Linlithgow Palace, Scotland

When we were in Scotland one of the things our kids loved the best was the jousting tournament that was held at Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian. While the Palace is a place to remember in of itself, it is the jousting event that captured our imagination.

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The first thing that takes your breath away is the castle itself and the cobblestone walkway leading up to it.  Huge stone gates greet you and inside them you will find people dressed and acting as if they were locals of the area living in the 1400 and 1500’s. Once in the courtyard you will meet beggars and huntsmen, ladies in waiting and squires. Set against the backdrop of this magnificent 15th century palace in which Mary Queen of Scots was born; all the action that surrounds you makes you feel as though you have stepped back in time.

Exiting to the tournament grounds one of the first things you will notice is the enormous and sparkling Linlithgow Loch. Deeper into the venue you will see tents of the horsemen and find the living history camps. It was here on the grounds that we met this archer who shared with us his handmade arrows. Did you know that the feathers on an arrow must be from the same bird in order to fly properly? Neither did we.

Then it was time for the action to begin as magnificent and regal steeds flew across the valley their hoofs shaking the ground as they thundered across. The children were invited into the Children’s Army before the action began.Then men wearing armour and using weapons of the era battled it out on horseback and on foot using the chants of the crowd to spur them on.

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All in all a great fun-filled and educational day.

 

This year’s tournament will be held July 2 and 3, 2016. Admission is£6.30 for kids up to£10 for adults.

The Best Graveyard-Stirling, Scotland

If you are like me and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE genealogy than you will understand this post. Otherwise, you just might not.

Sometimes the perfect place to visit is the cemetery. Some people talk to loved ones and some take along picnic lunches. I love to look at the stones. Especially the ancient ones. Usually they are a piece of artwork and often the artists behind them have their own story to tell. I take pictures of these headstones and put the pictures of them up on http://www.findagrave.com so people can connect to the relatives in their past. To date, I have contributed over 5,000.

My favorite graveyards happen to be in Scotland. I am going to introduce you to the one in Stirling known as Old Town Cemetery. It’s a great place to go. Sitting atop a hill between the huge Stirling Castle and the Church of the Holy Rude it is the only cemetery in the UK that was laid out to celebrate the establishment of Presbyterianism. It is a vast place containing graves from the 1600’s up until the present. Because it encompasses so many eras you can really see how headstones change with the times.

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There are many Key Stones contained within the cemetery including Martyr’s Monument which recognizes those who suffered martyrdom in pursuit of religious and civic freedom in Scotland. The Reformer Statues stand in honor of those ministers who fought King Charles who was attempting to establish Episcopal teachings throughout the country. Here you will also find the ornate monuments of local businessmen who carved enormous headstones to honor their families.

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But my favorite monuments are the small unique ancient ones. Often devoid of names it is the unusual carvings that capture my fancy. Skulls, ancient symbols…they are all there.

So next time you are visiting a city take a trip to the local cemetery. It usually has a great view and you just might “meet” some interesting people too!