Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Firth of Forth

On from St. Andrews and heading back toward Stirling (and back into the rain), we took the scenic route along the coast overlooking the Firth of Forth. We stopped for a further, brief walk at a little place called Elie. It was very windy as we strode out towards Lady's Tower.
The tower was built in the 1770's overlooking Ruby Bay, on the east side of Elie Ness, as a changing room for the Lady Anstruther. It is said that Lady Anstruther liked to bathe in the waters of the bay and had a servant standing by, ringing a hand-bell all the while she was in the water to keep others away.
The views from the tower are spectacular, especially on a wild day such as it was last Tuesday. In the picture above, you can just make out the shape of the small island of Bass Rock in the distance.
Looking more to the west, in the direction of Edinburgh, the views are equally good.
The views out to sea toward the east, take in the Isle of May. About 7 miles from where we stood, the isle is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve. The Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick has three live cameras on the island, which can be remotely controlled by visitors at the Seabird Centre, to allow close viewing of the seabirds in spring and summer, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, shags, cormorants and terns and the Grey Seal pups in winter, without disturbing the animals.
The island was the site of one of the earliest Christian churches in Scotland, founded in the 9th century and built into an unusual mass-burial mound that probably dates from prehistoric times. Although radiocarbon dating of bones reveal them to date from the 7th century to the 10th century, remains of Bronze Age funeral urns suggest that the mound may be older. The current chapel on the site is dedicated to Saint Adrian of May, who was killed on the island by Danish invaders in 875.
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