October 30th, 2008

And This Is What We Did Next

There was frost on the ground next morning. We hadn't made any plans, so we shuffled the tourist brochures we'd picked up along the way and went to Falkland. There's a palace there. It used to be a castle of the MacDuffs, but later passed into the hands of the Stuart kings. The present building was created by James IV and James V, using French masons, and is- essentially- a French Renaissance chateau beefed up for northern climes. it was a favourite retreat of Mary Queen of Scots. Cromwell's soldiers occupied it during the Civil war and managed to burn it down- the result not of deliberate vandalism but of an accident in the kitchen. It was restored- and turned into a modern country house- by a19th century Marquess of Bute. The Palace chapel still serves as the town's Roman Catholic church.  I lit a candle.

We shuffled the brochures some more over an all-day breakfast at the Hayloft tea-room (Falkland is the sort of pretty little place you expect to find tea-rooms) and drove the length of the Kingdom of Fife to St. Andrews, the university city and birthplace of golf. It was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland through the middle ages. The cathedral got smashed up in the course of the Scottish reformation and Civil War. The immensely tall square tower- St. Rule's Tower- predates the cathedral.