Devil’s Pulpit: a strange rock with a sinister reputation lurks within the crimson waters of this Scottish glen

The real name of the gorge in Scotland is Finnich Glen. The name Devil’s Pulpit comes from a rock formation that looks similar to that of a church pulpit, even if the red coloured water seemed more satanic than saintly, to early visitors. Originally, the name “the Devil’s Pulpit” referred only to the rock that sometimes pokes above the rushing stream, and some say it is where the Devil stood to address his followers, with the crimson current swirling at his feet. Others say Druids held secret meetings there, hidden…

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The remains of Buchanan Castle in Scotland

The eerie remains of Buchanan Castle are located west of the village of Drymen in Stirlingshire, central Scotland. Interestingly, although it bears the name of the Buchanan Clan, none of the Buchanans ever lived there. And in fact it is not even related with them, except that the original castle on the site (Buchanan Auld House) was the ancestral seat of Clan Buchanan for several centuries. Historically, the old house and surrounding lands had been the property of the Clan Buchanan but passed to the Clan Graham in the late…

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St Ninian’s Cave

St Ninian’s Cave stands at the rear of a collapse in part of the rocky headland at the north western end of the stony beach at Physgill, that looks out over Port Castle Bay,some three miles south west of Whithorn. To reach it, there is a car park at Kidsdale, which is signed for St Ninian’s Cave. The walk begins along the path which is signed from a corner of the car park. It then runs down the wooded Physgill Glen. At one point the path divides, with a higher…

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The secret history of Closeburn Castle, one of the oldest continually inhabited houses in Scotland~

Closeburn Castle is a tower house and one of the oldest continually inhabited buildings in Scotland. It is located 1 km east of the village of Closeburn, in the historical county of Dumfriesshire. The lands were granted to the Kirkpatrick family back in 1232, with the likelihood that the ancient fortalice was built thereafter. The tower house was probably built in the late 14th century, although some sources give a date as early as 1180 or as late as 1420. In any case, everything about the building was designed for…

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Tolbooth Tavern: now home to a drinking establishment, this Edinburgh building has a macabre history ~

Edinburgh is a very pictoresque city that offers visitors and tourists several nice locales to take a picture. One such place is located along the Royal Mile, in an area known to locals as the Canongate, and it is the Tolbooth Tavern, situated in an impressive stone building with an ornate clock tower. But what many tourists may be unaware of is that this building hides a quite macabre past. Originally built in 1591, the building that contains The Tolbooth Tavern was used to collect tolls from travelers who wished…

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The strange story of the Farne Island devils

The island that Saint Aidan (born around 590 and died in 651), an Irish monk that restored Christianity to Northumberland, (and later St Cuthbert) chose for his retreat was the largest and closest to shore of the Farne Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Northumberland, England. It is known as Farne Island (Farena Ealande), which may mean literally “Island of the Pilgrims”, and sometimes as Inner Farne. In summer, artic terns nest in the island’s carpet of sea campion and over-protective parents divebomb the heads of visitors treading…

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The legend of the ghost playing the bagpipe at Edinburgh Castle

Every self-respecting Scottish castle has its own ghost, whether scary or melancholy, based on the history of each individual manor. In Edinburgh Castle, the best known in Scotland, a ghost (and maybe even more than one) could not be missing. As story goes, on a summer night of an unspecified year a few centuries ago, a red-haired boy dressed in a worn kilt probably left by his father, and with even more worn-out shoes, was chosen for a mission that did not seem so dangerous. The access to numerous tunnels…

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12 Ways Halloween is celebrated around the globe

In America, people associate Halloween with pumpkins, costumes, candy, and spooky stories or ghosts but, around the world, it could be a little different. The holiday might look slightly different this year since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, but we can reminisce on years past. If most places in the U.S. celebrate Halloween in much the same way, one city that stands apart is New Orleans. This town loves both to party and voodoo, so one can find things here they couldn’t anywhere else, from…

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Meikleour Beech Hedge: the Guinness Record holder for largest hedge in the world is a verdant Scottish bulwark.

The Meikleour Beech Hedge, located near the village of Meikleour, in Scotland, measures 30 meters (98 feet) in height, making it the tallest hedge in the world. Planted in 1745, it now lies alongside the A93 Perth-Blairgowrie Road and can be viewed all year round. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the highest hedge in the world, and is most impressive to behold during Spring, when the young green leaves reflect the light, as well as in Fall, when the trees turn russet and gold. The…

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Barra Head: the highest lighthouse in UK that shines from an abandoned island

We are in the island of Barra Head, the southernmost in the Outer Hebrides, an island unprotected from the ravages of ocean storms. In the fall of 1833, on October 15, the Barra Head Lighthouse lighted on for the first time, meant to help sailors near the island’s cliffs deal with the incredible waves. The lighthouse identifies the southern entrance to The Minch, a strait in north-west Scotland, separating the north-west Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The 18-metre stone tower stands…

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Dinosaur footprints at the Isle of Skye – Scotland

We are in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. Here there are lot of icons of the past, as ruined castles that are hundreds of years old stand atop an unusual topography shaped by glaciers during the last Ice Age, or the pictoresque Old Man of Storr, said to be the gravesite of an ancient giant. The island, famous for its dramatic landscapes, was recently voted the most desirable place in Britain to live. But the land holds traces of an even more ancient past as well. It seems that dinosaurs…

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The curious story of Glasgow Sherbet Factory ruins – Scotland

We are in Glasgow, Scotland. The city is not exactly short of interesting monuments and buildings, and one of the great pleasures of Scotland is that there is always something new to uncover, and each corner is full of rich history and little-known facts.If you’ve taken a stroll passed the River Kelvin, you may have come across a strange little sign. Or maybe not, because It’s easy not to notice this small plaque, that marks the reported location of where the Glasgow Sherbet Municipal Works once stood. Now a few…

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Robert the Bruce: the never-say-die king (and the spider)

Robert the Bruce, more formally known as King Robert I of Scotland, was born on this day, July 11 1274. He was a fierce warrior-king, who led the Scots in a number of battles trying to win independence from England, despite he is probably best known for his alleged encounter with a spider! Historically, he first took up arms against the English in 1297 when he joined the revolt led by freedom fighter William Wallace, the Scottish hero portrayed by Mel Gibson in the popular 1995 Oscar-winning movie, Braveheart. Robert…

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Fingal’s Cave, the “Cave of Melody” in Scotland

Usually you not hear, in the same sentence, names like Queen Victoria, Matthew Barney, Jules Verne, and Pink Floyd but, strangely enough, there is a place that they all share. We are on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Known as Fingal’s Cave, it bears a history and geology unlike any other cave in the world. At 22 meters tall and 82 meters deep, what makes this sea cave so visually astoundingly is the hexagonal columns of basalt, shaped in neat six-sided pillars that make…

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Burke & Hare Murder Dolls: the mystery of the dolls in miniature coffins

William Burke and William Hare were two serial killers who lived and operated in Edinburgh, Scotland, from November 1827 to October 1828. The duo, with the complicity of their companions, lured in and murdered their lodgers in a scheme to provide fresh bodies to the local anatomy school. Here Dr. Robert Knox, a brilliant and well-known local anatomy teacher, purchased the human remains and most likely knew that something was a bit suspicious about his “supply chain”. They killed 17 people and the crimes were exposed when another lodger discovered…

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The Old Man of Storr – Scotland

From rock-dwelling giants to mermaids and seals who steal the hearts of local women, Scotland’s islands still today teem with tales of their legendary pasts. We are in the Isle of Skye, a point of interest in the Scottish Highlands is a site of folkloric mysticism and natural grandeur. One of the most spectacular sights of the Trotternish Peninsula, in the northeastern region of the Island, which was formed by a colossal landslide in ancient times, is the Old Man of Storr, a rock pinnacle of 50 m in height,…

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“Half-Hangit” Maggie Dickson: the woman who survived the hangman’s noose.

Maggie Dickson was consigned to the gallows on Edinburgh’s historic Grassmarket on September 2, 1724. So, it was unlikely that anyone attending her public execution thought they would see her alive again afterward. The day of the hanging should have been just another ordinary day, with an ordinary routine on an ordinary schedule: just the hanging of another ordinary woman sentenced to death. Her public death was certainly observed by both court and church representatives, family members and relatives, and probably other people who, as usual, were there just for…

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The altered traffic signs of Edinburgh, Scotland

We are in Einburgh, Scotland. Scattered around the city center are a number of traffic signs that have been given new life through amusing graffiti stickers. A keen eye but not only may spot a sumo wrestler, a spilled glass of wine, or a cat, but are just a few of the nearly two dozen total altered traffic signs. They are the work of French artist Clet Abraham, 52, who hand-draws the designs, prints them onto sticker paper and goes out at night to place them. Clet first began placing…

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Greyfriars Bobby: the most loyal of little dogs, or a Victorian era publicity stunt?

An adorable scruffy dog looks out over Edinburgh, atop a granite fountain built in his honor. Popular stories said that this little skye terrier known as Greyfriars Bobby kept vigil at his owner’s grave for 14 years after his death. The best-known version of the story is that the dog belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a nightwatchman. When John Gray died of tuberculosis in 1858, he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby then spent the rest of…

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The Moffat Ram~

In Moffat, Scotland, you can see a large bronze statue of a ram proudly surveys the town’s central marketplace from his privileged vantage point atop a sandstone fountain. It seems that it has more ghosts than it has ears, which would probably make it the world’s only haunted, earless statue of an ovine! The town of Moffat had a considerable career as a cattle and sheep droving centre, with the main street serving as a market and corral. The wool from the local sheep was spun locally, woven and dyed,…

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Scotland: the curse of the Paisley witches.

We are in Paisley, Scotland. Here, any tragic events and misfortunes in the town over the last 300 years, they say, were caused by a curse. In the middle of a busy intersection sits a largely unremarkable circle of cobblestones surrounding a steel horseshoe centered within an anonymous circular bronze plaque. A person almost certainly wouldn’t notice it if they didn’t know it was there, but this modest memorial marks the final resting place of seven people convicted and put to death on charges of witchcraft. As story goes, It…

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The mystery of the missing keepers at the Flannan Isles Lighthouse

The Flannan Isles, off the coast of northwestern Scotland and named after an Irish priest called St. Flannan, have been the subject of a mystery lasted over 100 years. On December 15th, 1900 a boat called Hesperus set sail for the island of Eilean Mor, one of the seven islets (also known as the “Seven Hunters”) of the Flannan Isles. Captain James Harvey was tasked with delivering a relief lighthouse keeper as part of a regular rotation. The journey was delayed a few days by bad weather, and when Harvey…

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983 Followers: the spooky mural in an abandoned house in the countryside of Scotland

Spanish artist and illustrator Daniel Munoz, aka “SAN”, made a mural in Scotland, where he spent a few days working in an abandoned building somewhere in the Scottish countryside. Entitled “983 Followers”, this beautiful piece of work was painted on concrete using acrylic and brushes, a different way of painting than the traditional spray-cans murals, and it is showing hundreds of monochrome silhouettes giving a rather impressive effect. The mural covers three of four walls of an abandoned building and portrays the images of a large number of men (really…

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Time me, gentlemen! Robert Liston: the legendary Scottish Surgeon nicknamed “The Fastest Knife in the West End”.

Robert Liston was born on 28 October 1794 in Ecclesmachan, Scotland, and his father was the Reverend Henry Liston, the village minister and a pipe organ inventor. His name was the same of his paternal grandfather, who was the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The young Henry studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and became a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1818. He had a reputation as an argumentative and intimidating man, and another disagreement wit led him to open his…

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The William Wallace Monument, in memory of the Glorious Battle of Stirling Bridge.

The proud and combative Scottish, since ancient times, proved to be a people who, despite not having a single political, cultural and linguistic identity, gave a hard time to anyone who tried to invade their territory. Not did they surrender to the Romans, the conquerors of nearly the entire known world of their time, and who had occupied the rest of Britain. But not only that, the Scots were to make raids in the territories dominated by the Romans, so that the emperor Hadrian decided to build a defensive wall,…

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Pinch ‘n’ Sip: in Edinburgh, you can assemble your cocktails via kitschy claw machine! ~

Here we are: Yes. It’s all true! Strange but true! At a subterranean Edinburgh bar, in Scotland, every drinkers can assemble their cocktails via kitschy claw machine. At Hoot the Redeemer, a subterranean bar in Edinburgh, alcohol comes in many crazy and unusual forms. Hoot the Redeemer is a 50s-styled New Orleans funfair-themed dive bar and here, amidst the 1950s-themed decor, sweet-toothed patrons spoon boozy ice cream straight from the carton, and competitive drinkers play board games on the backs of menus. Furthermore, arcade gamers can win a bespoke cocktail…

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Fairies: Mysterious ladies of the Celtic Folklore.

The fairies…magical creatures we’ve heard of since childhood. Fairies are imagined of small stature, dressed in green or red and intent to occupy the day doing the same tasks as men. However, it could be very dangerous to meet them, because, staying with them, people could lost the notion of time and risked “aging” hundreds of years without realizing it (lot of stories tell of people who were entertained to dance with the fairies, but when go back home, they find no more their homes, and centuries have passed!). Also…

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Maggie Wall’s Memorial: a misterious Witch memorial in Scotland.

We are outside of a small village of Dunning, located in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, where there is a misterious monument. It’s a collection of stones about 6 meters high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors, like pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. Looking at it from a distance, it seems a sort of battle memorial, and seen close up, the monument quickly tells its story: the stones records the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here…

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MV Glenachulish: the last manually operated turntable ferry in the world.

Most people decide going the Isle of Skye from mainland Scotland drive over the Skye Bridge. But those who decide to reach the Isle of Skye by crossing the Kyle Rhea strait, will an extra special experience: a ride on the world’s last manually operated turntable ferry! The MV Glenachulish is a small but charming vessel: The nearly 50-year-old ferry in the past had made other crossings, but since 1982 has been making the winding route between Glenelg and Kylerhea. About six cars can board onto the ferry, and once the…

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