It’s Not Always Scotland

Jul 22, 2014 by

 

During my frequent travels through the internet world, fulfilling my mission to explore strange Celtic worlds, to seek new Celtic life and civilization, etc., etc., I sometimes see pictures that are mistakenly identified and shared–over and over again–as “Scotland”.

SPOILER ALERT: Despite what you may have heard, the things you see on the net are not always true or correct.

Where in the world is this castle tower? Image source

Where in the world is this castle tower? Image source

Take, for example, this lovely photo of a castle tower in a remote loch–it’s misty, it’s romantic, it’s magical, so it must be in Scotland, right?

Nope.

While the scene is perhaps reminiscent of beautiful Eilean Donan Castle in the western Highlands of Scotland, this tiny tower is dollhouse size by comparison.   It’s actually a folly tower (meaning it’s merely ornamental) set in the magnificent gardens of Pena National Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Sintra, Portugal.  Northern Portugal has a strong Celtic heritage, so at least the confused captioner is keeping it in the family, so to speak.   The “castle” is one of two such structures that are home to the park’s elegant swans and ducks, which sometimes sit at the base of the towers, preening their feathers for the tourists.

The Pena Palace Duck houses  Image source

The Pena Palace Duck houses Image source

 Photos are often shared as is, with the sharer unaware of the mistaken identity of the photo.  It happens to the best of us, usually with no one the wiser and no harm done.  Honestly, I do understand why the first picture above  has been repeatedly misidentified as a Scottish scene, but the research geek in me just has to set the record straight— for posterity, ye ken. 

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Can’t Stop Looking At Scotland

Apr 16, 2014 by

Do you have a favorite image of Scotland?  Matador Network, an online community of travel writers, journalists and photographers, recently posted a list of 30 Images of Scotland We Can’t Stop looking At, and a quick glance through the pictures shows why these shots are so compelling.  From outrageously beautiful landscapes to ancient castles and architecture, the images chosen are clear examples of why Scotland is a major tourist destination and a photographer’s dream.

It’s hard to limit myself when it comes to views of Scotland, but here are a few of my favorite images from the Matador list.

 

 

The Great Highland Bagpipe (GHB) is one of the most iconic symbols of Scotland, and is often used by civilian and military bands, as well as by soloists. Widely used in Europe for centuries, the GHB came into use in Scotland many centuries ago as war pipes played before and during battles.

 

Castle Stalker (Caisteal an Stalcaire, in Scots Gaelic, meaning castle of the hunter or falconer), is a 14th century keep in Argyll, set on a small island in Loch Laich.  This former home of the Clans MacDougall, Stewart and Campbell is one of the best-preserved medieval tower-houses surviving in western Scotland.  You might remember seeing it in the 1975 film,  Monty Python and The Holy Grail–it is from the top of Castle Stalker that the French soldier (played by John Cleese) famously taunts the English as “English pig dogs” and “silly English K-nig-hts [pronounced kuuuh-nig-its].”

 

 

Who doesn’t love a brawny red haired Highlander? The Highland cow, affectionately known as the Hielan Coo, is certainly popular with most visitors to Scotland.  This hardy breed is native to Scotland and comes in red, black, brindle, dun and yellow coat colors.  Females have horns that generally curve upward (as in the above photo), while the horns of Highland bulls usually grow straight out and slightly forward from the head.

 

To see the rest of the Matador images of Scotland, click HERE.

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