Saturday Saunter: World Heritage Sites

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time all about World Heritage Sites in Scotland. They are occasionally in the news as UNESCO threaten to take that august status away from certain places, like Edinburgh or Liverpool. It’s a cool claim to fame though and there are five in Scotland plus one we share with England and Germany. They are:

Forth Bridge

Frontiers of the Roman Empire

Heart of Neolithic Orkney

New Lanark

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

St Kilda

I have been to parts of all of these except St Kilda, which is most definitely on my bucket list. Some I know better than others but they are all special and vital to understanding Scotland’s past and present.

Forth Bridge: a light tower with a red bridge behind.​
Forth Bridge: a light tower with a red bridge behind.

Forth Bridge –

There are three bridges that cross the Forth at Queensferry but UNESCO mean the Forth Bridge, the red and girdery railway one, opened in 1890. It is glorious and I can’t help smiling and staring at it whenever I’m nearby. For best effect, it’s worth crossing it on a train and getting the views up and down the Forth, including to Inchgarvie which is under the bridge.

Bearsden Bathhouse: Roman ruins set out amidst grass and trees.
Bearsden Bathhouse: Roman ruins set out amidst grass and trees.

Frontiers of the Roman Empire –

The Scottish bit is the Antonine Wall, which crossed central Scotland and was the edge of the Roman Empire for a fairly short time in the 2nd century AD. The bit of the Antonine Wall I’ve explored most recently is the Bearsden Bathhouse, a bath house on the edge of the Wall with traces left in a housing estate in Bearsden, not far from Glasgow.

Ring of Brodgar: standing stones spread out around mossland.​
Ring of Brodgar: standing stones spread out around mossland.

Heart of Neolithic Orkney –

Orkney is incredible with internationally significant historical places scattered every few hundred yards or so it feels. I’ve been once before and particularly loved the Ring of Brodgar. For lack of something to do, I hugged one of the stones but desisted from running around them in the scud, as Billy Connolly did. Scara Brae was also very cool and it was worth hanging around for a few minutes while the hordes looked then left.

New Lanark: mill buildings amidst trees and by a river.​
New Lanark: mill buildings amidst trees and by a river.

New Lanark –

New Lanark is a planned village built for mills and their workers. It is in a beautiful part of the Clyde Valley under the Falls of Clyde. I’ve only been once and was blighted by hayfever at the time so I remember the beauty of the place and my head being like a bowling ball.

New Town: looking down a street towards trees, houses, hills and water.​
New Town: looking down a street towards trees, houses, hills and water.

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh –

This is the one I know best. Of the two, I prefer the New Town with wider streets and the possibility of seeing the Forth. I’ve done psychogeography in both, with three of the Intercity posts in the area, the High Street, St. Vincent Street and Dublin Street. Edinburgh Castle is at the top of the Old Town but it isn’t even the best castle in Edinburgh.

St Kilda –

I’m yet to visit St Kilda so can recommend one of the many good books about the archipelago including The Life and Death of St. Kilda by Tom Steel or the excellent essay ‘Three Ways of Looking at St. Kilda’ in Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has a section about St Kilda in the Cultural Survival gallery.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 17th July 2021. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow will be here again on Wednesday and then the blog will be on hiatus until Wednesday 11th August. The next Saturday Saunter will be here on Saturday 14th August. During the hiatus I will probably get round to some Streets of Glasgow adventures and that might include the 100th instalment of that series. Any suggestions for the 100th, as long as they’re in the City of Glasgow area and I’ve not done them before, will be gratefully received. Until next time, mar sin leibh agus madainn mhath.

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