Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice, I always look forward to this day as I feel that we are at least on the way to the lovely long light summer nights that we enjoy here in Scotland, and that doesn’t half cheer me up.
You might find the video below interesting. We visited Maeshowe Chambered Cairn a few years ago when we had a holiday in Orkney, we enjoyed the islands so much we’re going again this coming summer – all going well! You can read about Maeshowe and the Winter Solstice here.

River West Water near Edzell Castle

When we visited Edzell Castle last week we realised that there must have been a source of water nearby, although it certainly wasn’t obvious, so we went on a wee walk in search. About a half a mile as the crow flies from the castle and maybe double that by the road we found the West Water which if you were travelling by car you would have no idea it was there as it’s down quite a steep and wooded path off the road. It’s lovely and clear, quite fast running, and with rocks to sit on it would be a lovely place for a picnic.

River West Water, near Edzell Castle, Scotland

As you can see the surrounding rock is red sandstone, the same rock which Edzell Castle was built from, presumably there’s an old quarry nearby.

River West Water, by Edzell Castle, Scotland

River West Water, Geology, red sandstone

We walked across Pirner’s Brig, which is quite a high and not very steady feeling metal bridge, but we survived!

River West Water, from Pirner's Brig

The photos below are the ones I took on my phone.

River West Water , near Edzell Castle, Scotland

River West Water , near Edzell Castle, Scotland

River West Water, near Edzell Castle, Scotland

Some of the surrounding rocks are conglomerate, with big pebbles stuck in the sandstone, when they are washed out by the water it leaves big indentations in the sandstone.

River West Water geology, near Edzell Castle, Scotland

And just to finish off, here’s photo I took of the view of the castle gardens from a window seat within the castle ruins. You have to imagine how it would have looked with cushions on the stone seats and maybe a nice tapestry to lean back on, and of course glass in the window. That would have been my favourite place to read a book, but the view of the garden would have been a distraction!

Edzell Castle window, near Brechin, Scotland

A Mithraic Temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland

After we visited the Roman fort at Chesters we drove on to see the remains of a Mithraic temple which is in the middle of a field. I have to say though that the temple itself isn’t very well signposted, so we ended up yomping over a field full of indignant sheep towards what was definitely a ruin in the distance, but that turned out to be the ruin of a farm building. Oh well, it was all good exercise and we gave the sheep something else to think about other than grass!

We eventually got on the right track, the signpost was on a small fencepost just the width of the wood, so about 3 inches square.

This is the road by the car park at Carrawburgh, Northumberland, as you can see the road is very straight so presumably this was originally the Roman road.

The temple is quite small but as the god Mithras was popular with soldiers it was probably quite well used by the men at Chesters Fort.

Mithraic Temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland, Roman ruin

Temple Information Board, Mithraic temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland

Mithraic Temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland

Mithraic Temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland, Roman ruin

The middle column of the altar has a stone offerings dish and visitors have been leaving coins, sweets and a big piece of wood as worshippers would have done. I was a really big spender and offered up 2 pence!

Votive Offerings, Mithraic Temple, Carrawburgh, Northumberland