The Monastery of North BerwickIt is impossible to state definitely the date of the erection of this building, locally known as “The Nunnery,” and, in the recent days, “The Abbey.” The correct name is “The Monastery,” which is that always used in deed granted the Prioress and on the Common Seal of the Convent.
All of my prints are book plates
from THIS book!
Total Miles Traveled: 3,390!
People have asked me about how much technology I have with me or what my routines are. It’s pretty simple. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro Laptop/Tablet computer with me and every night I copy onto it: 1) Memory card from Pentax camera 2) Photos from iPhone 3) Panoramas from Ricoh Theta. I also download my GPS log and convert it into a GPX file. I then copy all of the days data onto two external hard drives. So that’s my data.
Charging wise: Laptop and Pentax Battery in the wall and via my USB charging hub: My Internet Hotspot, Apple Watch, iPhone (not pictured – duh), GPS logger, Ricoh Theta and USB fan (for my comfort and the white noise).
I have 3 lenses but really only use 2 (10mm-20mm) and (18mm-200mm) and I also have a WiFi SD card which I only use if I need to remote the Pentax camera (usually attached to a monopod balanced on my chest). As a rule I don’t use a tripod but for matching the prints I am making an exception. It is a walking stick that converts to a tripod. Barely a tripod – barely a monopod either – but it has been useful in the tough hiking! Everything else is about protection and cleaning supplies, in total much smaller than you think.
And it’s raining!
My first stop in the rain. Easy angle, though a very unusual one. This is not a place most would stand. Church #28 – Print #34 – Dryburgh Abbey.
Another great example of one artist working from another. The print of Caerlaverock Castle is both impossible and improbable. It is impossible to see everything there at once (including the arch in the car park which I got in by fudging on the angle. More importantly, everything in the print looks parallel to the plane but the entire castle is designed in 45 degree angles which the engraver just didn’t get. Print #36.
Great angle. Shame about the car but then again it sort of dates the photo too 🙂 Church #30 – Print #37 – Sweetheart Abbey.
In the middle of farm country, in the middle of nowhere. It is hard to stand back very far! Lag Tower – Castle #63 – Print #38.
Friars Carse should have been easy. Sitting in Cleveland, I Googled it and found the operational Friars Carse Country House Hotel. Said to myself – check – it exists and put it on my list.
Then I get to the Friars Carse Country House Hotel, where people are preparing for a traditional Scottish wedding – all the men and boys in dress Kilts. I figured to avoid interrupting I would walk in and ask where my print was taken from. I walk into the hotel and on the wall is a picture of my print – so I am feeling pretty good. And then I asked and then they answered.
My print is dated, 1789. This painting by Alexander Nasmyth for Robert Riddell is dated 1787. However in 1771 Robert Riddell pulled down the old and ruinous buildings to create room for a new mansion, which itself was completely rebuilt in 1873. I’m in the right spot at the right building – it just doesn’t look the same. That’s all. Frairs Carse – Castle #64 – Print #39. But it gets better! The great Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne here!
One last funny story. On my long drive across the southern border, as I race to get these prints done and head north again, I see a sign that says “Welcome to England” and I was like No!! But then a few minutes later another sign that said “Welcome to Scotland” and since I didn’t get out of the car I can honestly say I didn’t set foot in England this trip!
Another long explanation. The volcanic hill is called North Berwick Law. At the top is the ruin of an Iron Age Fortress, which is one of my prints, and a whale’s jawbone.
Last night I stayed in Broughty Ferry, which is almost to Dundee!
Then back to Dundee… I love this castle! Funny story about this castle from back in 2000. I was visiting Broughty Castle, which is the next castle for today, and they told me that this place was awesome but also showed me a flier that the castle had closed for the summer the day before. Even closed they still told me to go there if only to get a good picture or two. So I hired a taxi to take me there and wait while I took some photos. As I am taking my photos a man comes out of the castle and asks me why I am not coming inside. I explained that over at Broughty Castle that they told me (and showed me on the flier) that he was closed for the season. He got upset because that’s why nobody had come all day and told me to send my taxi away and personally toured me through the entire castle. He even let me see into the rafters and also the modern toilet that they have in the office.
It’s so small and perfect – two towers and a keep – you could really live here! The funny part is that it is situated right in a residential neighborhood. It is like the corner lot in the ‘burbs just happens to be this castle. This is a castle I would own! Castle #52 – Claypotts Castle.
Then off to St. Andrews! No – I didn’t play the Old Course. St. Andrews is a really fun place. The entire city is steeped in history and it is also a college town. When I was in graduate school taking the History of European Photography they showed us this 1846 photo by Robert Adamson in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
And I was like, I was there in 2000 and took the same picture but 150 years later!
This is a great ruin. The castle was mined and counter mined. One way of taking down a castle it to dig a tunnel from the street under one of the walls and then collapse the foundation. This is how you mine or undermine a castle – it is also why they went for round instead of square towers. If you are in the castle when this is happening, you can see that they are digging a tunnel. So to defend against it you start to dig your own tunnel to meet their tunnel and fight them! The problem is that you are digging blindly – just listening for them. Your can dig this tunnel faster because it only has to be people sized. So back in the day the castle was mined and the people in the castle built a countermine and where the two tunnels meet a battle ensued and the castle one. The entire thing was filled in and only later excavated for you to get to explore. Back in 2000 when I visited it was raining. There I am on my hands and knees climbing through this tunnel with water running in it beside me eventually opening up into the cavernous space where a battle had taken place underground several hundred years ago. Pretty epic. Today though it was just tourists everywhere! Castle #54 – St Andrews Castle.
Now the challenge – St Andrews Cathedral – Church #18 – Print #16. I love how these prints are all not the “typical” point of view. It makes me wonder if these were the typical points of view back then and why and how our modern sensibilities might have changed.
Took a while to get the right angle! It is actually from a little around the corner but not easy with the phone because of traffic. I ended up having the camera on the monopod balanced off my chest and a remote triggering it. Church #19 – Print #17 – The Blackfriars’ Chapel.
Ooh a challenge! After being guided by latitude and longitude, I still couldn’t tell if the building was standing or if I was even in the right place . Luckily one of the buildings had a little plaque that said “The Priory”. The drawing is practically orthographic and these are in reality three buildings with a courtyard. As always I was able to do better with the real camera but the view in the print doesn’t exist and probably never did!! Church #20 – Print #18 – Pittenweem Priory.
I have two prints of this tower and it is fun to follow the clues. Note the door in the tower! Then the curved road and wall leading to a small building with a chimney! It’s 11th century and probably was a bell tower so it gets listed as Historic #13 – Print #19. Abernethy Round Tower.
This one is a little more challenging. No door in the print. The windows go all the way around. The clock was added in 1868 so that doesn’t help. The small window in the center might be in this picture but the scale would have this tower be 5 times its size. This print is probably a fiction 🙂 Print #20 – Abernethy Round Tower.
Overall day 16 was pretty productive – did 10 items and have driven over 2,000 miles. Tomorrow should be interesting as two of the castles require boats to get to them! It has rained every day! I’m almost back to Edinburgh to start my quick southern loop! I have 38 more prints to go!!! Since two of my prints the sites have been total demolished I am going to have to cut them off my list to save time. I might also have to lose the 2 museums in Edinburgh – this is about castles and prints!!!
Finally a hotel with Internet in the room. Strangely enough there was no TV though! For the third night in a row, in three different cities, I am the only guest at the hotel! Oh, the in room Internet sucks!
OK folks that’s day 15. I should get up in the morning and go back to my list BUT I am 1/2 a mile from the Royal Scottish Residence (i.e. the Queen’s vacation home) so I am going to compromise and wait until it opens in the morning but only do the exteriors and then book it! I tried to shoot it tonight but surprise surprise it’s pretty locked down…