October 31st, 2008

And After That

We circled back to Kinross along the coastal road.

One of the Scottish Kings- it might have been James II or James VI (websites differ, so maybe it was just someone at the Tourist  Board) described the coast of Fife as "a  fringe of gold on a beggars mantle". That says it all really. The sun was going down and we drove from village to village, trying to see as much as we could before the light gave out.




St. Monans


Next morning we set off for home.  At a leisurely pace. It took us two days. 

We spent the morning in Dunfermline. There is a great abbey- with an abbey guesthouse that somehow morphed into a Royal Palace (now picturesquely ruined).  A 19th century Presbyterian church in the gothic style has been attached to the east end of the romanesque abbey church and the effect is remarkably harmonious. Robert the Bruce is buried in the Presbyterian half - and they've hoisted a pulpit over the pastiche medieval brass (created in Paris in the 1870s) that covers his grave. Bruce was a murdering sonofabitch and its curious to think of the Word of God being preached above his bones. 

There is so much history here. Charles I was born in the Palace. The 19th century steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie was born here- the son of a weaver- and came back after he'd made his pile in the USA and showered the town with money; his name is everywhere. The abbey church contains the grave of William Schaw, 1550-1602, who is credited with the creation of modern Freemasonry. Oh, and it was while he was sitting in "Dunfermline town, drinking the bloud-red wine" that the King of Scotland sent Sir Patrick Spens off on his fateful mission to Norroway.

The interior of the old abbey church. it was built by the same gang that built Durham cathedral. 

The old abbey and the new kirk. The stonework round the top of the tower reads KING ROBERT THE BRUCE.

The Royal Palace.

A late medieval/renaissance carving of the annunciation.

The abbey. Dig those massive buttresses.