A Trip Down Memory Lane….

I took the kids to Pittencrieff Park in Dunfermline today, and it truely was a trip down memory lane for me, I used to live in Dunfermline for 24 years until I got married and moved away to the village where I now live..

Many a time my friends and I would spend time down the glen, long summer holidays spent there.   Some of it still remains the same as I remember it, the only real big change is the animal enlosure, now boarded up and closed down, which is a great shame.

At the bottom of the glen, which lies at the foot of the Old Dunfermline Palace, there are lots of caves and hiding places, some with historical interest… like Wallace’s Well


Just along the path from Wallace’s Well is this lovely bridge….

Pittencrieff Park or “The Glen” as it is known affectionately by the local populace extends to 76 acres and was given in trust by Andrew Carnegie to the people of his birthplace, Dunfermline.

Before it was purchased in 1902, by Andrew Carnegie, Pittencrieff Park formed the estate and grounds of the house, owned by the lairds of Pittencrieff. 

Pittencrieff House Museum

Pittencrieff House Museum is a historic house with a difference. The 17th century shell has a 20th century interior. Although there is no furniture, there are 3 display galleries with beautifully plastered ceilings. Here you can begin to discover, among other things, the history of “Dunfermline Toon”, who was Dunfermline’s giant and what clothes were worn in those days. The story of the house reveals a number of owners, the last of whom was Andrew Carnegie. He never lived in the house however, and eventually gave it to the citizens of Dunfermline.

Formal Gardens


Laid out, colourfully in front of the Glass Hall conservatory is a Formal Garden. In days gone by this area was used by Pittencrieff House as a kitchen garden and orchard. Now developed round the laird’s walk with its own breathtaking vistas of the Abbey and Palace ruins, the garden is a kaleidoscope of colour throughout the spring and summer. It is a peaceful, relaxing setting in which to idle away the afternoon in the warmth of a summer sun.


Completing the formal gardens is the 200ft Glass Hall conservatory. Built in 1973 on the site of the old conservatories the present structure is divided into three sections. The main area with its wooden bridge over the running stream and its regal display of flowers creates for the visitor an entire new world, the exotic plant world. Distributed throughout the three areas the visitor can see on exhibit plants from many countries. Look out too for the exhibit which features the fossilised trees.

We took a wander around the formal gardens which were full of beautiful flowers….





From the formal garden you can look over towards Dunfermline Abbey..


I enjoyed my trip down Menory Lane 🙂

Auld Lang Syne ~ Times Gone Bye


 The words that many of us join hands and sing at the strike of midnight are written in old Scots, the language commonly spoken in Scotland until 1707 when Scotland’s Parliament dissolved itself and was merged with England. The words were adapted by Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s National poet, from a traditional poem.  


Words adapated from a traditional song by Rabbie Burns (1759-96)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne


auld lang syne – times gone by
be – pay for
braes – hills
braid – broad
burn – stream
dine – dinner time
fiere – friend
fit – foot
gowans – daisies
guid-willie waught – goodwill drink
monie – many
morning sun – noon
paidl’t – paddled
pint-stowp – pint tankard
pou’d – pulled
twa – two

The Old Lighthouse North Queensferry Pier

The Old Lighthouse North Queensferry Pier Originally uploaded by Towniesmallholder

The Lighthouse (or Lantern Tower)
Built between 1810 and 1813 by John Rennie.

In 1811 the Ferry Passage was used by 1,515 carriages, 13,154 horses, 18,057 cows, 25,151 sheep, 2,615 dogs and 5,520 barrel bulk – not to mention people accompanying all of these!

The landing points and primitive piers were however really just slipways and there was no lighting system to aid navigation.

A lighthouse or lantern tower was needed!

This lantern tower was part of an overall construction scheme. The Town Pier underwent radical reconstruction. The Signal House was built to act as a waiting room for passengers on theground floor and a meeting room and office on the upper floors for the Forth Ferry Trustees. Improvements were made to the East Battery Pier and a West Battery Pier was constructed – both of these can be seen on either side of the Forth Rail Bridge. The roads in North Queensferry were also surveyed by Rennie and the alignment of the main route in the village changed dramatically to cope with the increased traffic.

This small hexagonal lantern tower is built of droved sandstone ashlar and has a copper dome from the top of which rises a cruciform metal flue.

The small circular staircase, with 24 steps climbed by the keeper to trim the wick and top up the oil reservoir, is still intact.

Advice was taken from Robert Stevenson (1772-1850), constructor of the Bell Rock Lighthouse on lighting arrangements. The most likely method of illumination would have been the Argand oil lamp with a 21-24 inch diameter parabolic reflector. This was invented in 1780 by Aimi Argand, the Swiss chemical engineer and was a great improvementon existing oil lamps, producing a light equivalent to about 2000-3000 candle power. It had a circular wick mounted between two cylindrical metal tubes so that the air channeled through the centre of the wick,as well as outside. A cylindrical glass chimney around the wick wasused to steady the flame and to improve the flow of air.

The fuel first used to light the warning signal was probably spermaceti – whale oil – which was commonly in use until about 1850 when the much cheaper paraffin became available.

The light given out by this little lantern tower would not have beenvery bright but it was sufficient to guide sailors into the safety of thepier. 

Forth Rail Bridge

Forth Rail BridgeOriginally uploaded by TowniesmallholderThis is a photograph of the Forth Rail Bridge, taken this afternoon.   The view is taken from the village of North Queensferry looking over towards South Queensferry, Edinburgh.

The huge cantilever sections of the rail bridge spanning The Forth are one of the most familiar landmarks of Scotland. Completed in 1890, the Forth Rail Bridge was constructed from 54,000 tonnes of steel, 194,000 tonnes of stone and concrete, and in excess of 21,000 tonnes of cement. This was the largest steel bridge in the world, using approximately 7,500,000 rivets produced by The Clyde Rivet Company. Success was not without its casualties and, throughout the course of construction, 57 men lost their lives.

This wide expanse of river had always been important to trade, and the crossing was notoriously difficult at times. Storms were often experienced, resulting in the loss of possessions and life, the ferrymen were unreliable, and it was not uncommon to encounter pirates during the eighteenth century. With a steady increase in both passenger and freight traffic, Parliament recognised that action needed to be taken to improve the facilities and make the route safer. Several suggestions were put forward early in the nineteenth century to provide some kind of ‘fixed link’ across The Forth, but it was with the arrival of the railway that discussions became serious. In 1854 Thomas Bouch, a consulting engineer to The North British Railway, submitted his proposals to bridge both The Tay and The Forth. Following initial scepticism, Bouch’s plans for The Tay Bridge were finally given approval in 1864 and construction began in 1871.

By 1873 Bouch had been commissioned to design The Forth Bridge, similar in concept to his original drawings of the late 1850s. With The Tay Bridge under construction, work on the new Forth bridge was delayed for five years, but the foundation stone was eventually laid in 1878. Thomas Bouch had subsequently received a Knighthood for his Tay crossing, but his career ended abruptly in December 1879 when the bridge collapsed in a violent storm, resulting in the death of 75 people. Pending an enquiry into the safety aspects of Bouch’s design, work was immediately halted on his Forth suspension bridge.

When The Forth Bridge Railway Company were formed in 1882 to construct and operate the new bridge, they adopted the rather radical design proposed by Benjamin Baker and Sir John Fowler. Parliamentary consent was given in July to begin construction on the innovative cantilever structure, and the contract was awarded to William Arrol on 21st December. The three main cantilevers were completed and in place by 1887, but the final operation of joining the girder booms to close the gaps rested on the prevailing climate. In less than eight years The Forth Rail Bridge was completed, the official opening ceremony being performed by HRH The Prince of Wales on 4th March 1890. On this prestigious occasion, attracting members of the Royal Family, MPs, consultant engineers from home and abroad, and directors from other railway companies, The Prince of Wales placed the final gilded rivet in place.

Today the bridge, now a ‘listed structure’, still carries about 150 trains each day across The Forth, and has been regularly maintained over the years. An extensive five-year refurbishment programme was undertaken at the turn of the millennium, costing in excess of £40m, and employing somewhere between 150 and 300 men per day, six days a week. At an average height above the general water level of some 361ft (109m), the exposed conditions on the Forth Rail Bridge can prove very hazardous but latest techniques, and anti-corrosion products, have greatly reduced the maintenance involved. It used to be said that as soon as the painting team had reached the far side of the bridge, it was time to start over at the beginning.