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Robert the Bruce and the Declaration of Arbroath

Robert the Bruce statue, Bannockburn , Stirling , Scotland from Private tours Edinburgh, Scotland tours phone 07305-294773

In Robert the Bruce’s day, battles were short but wars were long. The First War of Scottish Independence, with England, lasted thirty-two years, from 1296 until 1328. Scotland, which had long understood itself as independent, kept having to repel the English, who disagreed. The Second War of Scottish Independence, still with England, ran for another twenty-five years. During these decades, the Pope served as a mediating figure, handing out punishments for unruly rulers. Pope John XXII would have liked the two kingdoms to stop fighting and to join him on the Crusades. (Did he have to do everything?) In 1317, he imposed a shaky truce on Scotland and England: no more fighting. It didn’t last. In 1318, Bruce recaptured a Scottish trading town that had been held by the English. The Pope—not angry, just disappointed—excommunicated him.

Robert the Bruce tours – the outlaw King of Scotland

By 1320, things were not looking good for Bruce at home, either. His brother Edward, briefly—and bloodily—the king of Ireland, had been killed in battle, leaving Bruce without an adult heir. (His grandson, next in line, was four years old, and rubbish with a sword.) Making matters worse, there were rumors of a conspiracy against him: the son of John Balliol, a former king of Scotland, was drumming up support for his claim to the throne. Meanwhile, both the Pope and England still refused, for various reasons, some of them murder, to recognize Bruce as the legitimate king of Scotland. Under mounting pressure at home and abroad, with his rivals circling, Bruce felt compelled to act. He wanted recognition, respect, and for England to back off. So he did what many of us might under duress: he wrote a strongly worded letter.

The Declaration of Arbroath has existed for a staggering seven centuries, and it looks its age. Physically, it resembles something a child might draw if she were asked to imagine an important document from a long, long time ago. It is written on sheepskin parchment, now the colour of dust, with ink made from oak apples. There are two large holes, obscuring portions of the text, damage inflicted in the eighteenth century, “possibly from damp,” a curator told me. The Declaration is conventionally broad and rectangular until the signature portion, which, instead of signed names, consists of long strips of parchment bearing the wax stamps of each signatory.

For most of its lifetime, the Declaration has been held and cared for by the National Records of Scotland, or its predecessors, in Edinburgh. The version we know today is a file copy of the letter sent in 1320, which has since been lost. It is kept in an undisclosed storage site, one of five around the country.

Later this month, however, the Declaration will make a rare appearance in honour of the seven hundredth anniversary of its signing. It will be displayed beneath a glass case alongside the medieval holdings of the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh. The Declaration of Arbroath is best understood as an official letter to Pope John XXII from Robert the Bruce’s government. Between forty and fifty Scottish barons and freeholders added their seals as signature, but the sentiment, if not the exact wording, is widely believed to have come from Bruce’s office. (Some historians have wondered whether the Scottish noblemen who added their names did so under pressure, as proof of loyalty.) It’s around a thousand words long and written in Latin, and begins, after flattery for the Pope (“devout kisses of his blessed feet”), with an overview of Scotland’s glorious past. 

The most famous passage in the document, where much of its enduring power comes from, is one that many Scots know by heart. It is a stirring and potent declaration of Scottish independence, one that has resurfaced through the centuries at critical junctures. “As long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English,” the passage goes. “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

what is The Declaration of Arbroath ?

The Declaration of Arbroath is a letter Robert the Bruce sent to the Pope to affirm the independence of Scotland in the face of a war against England. Robert the Bruce tours – the outlaw King of Scotland

when is the 700th anniversary of the signing of the The Declaration of Arbroath ?

the 700th anniversary of the signing of the The Declaration of Arbroath is widely acknowledged as one of Scotland’s most important documents, and the Declaration was sent from Arbroath Abbey to Pope John in Avignon on 6 April 1320. It was a major influence on the wording of America’s Declaration of Independence 400 years later

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Outlander season 4 episode 1

Outlander season 4 episode 1  America The Beautiful

Claire and Jamie have very often been strangers in a strange land, but Outlander fully commits to the framework of an immigration tale in its Outlander season four opener.

Outlander tours from Private tours Edinburgh

When we catch back up with Claire and Jamie in America The Beautiful, the wife and husband have been in Colonial America for four months now, and they have found happiness, but they have also found pain.

For one, their friend Gavin Hayes is about to be hanged for killing a man in self-defence. Jamie isn’t able to save Gavin from the noose, but he does save a man who was meant to hang beside him: Stephen Bonnet, an Irish pirate who clearly appeals to Jamie’s grief and sense of powerlessness over having just lost a close friend. Claire and Jamie risk their lives (or at least their freedom) to bring Bonnet to safety and, when a soldier injures Bonnet with his bayonet, Claire uses her medical knowledge to heal the vulnerable stranger.

In one of the most interesting and later ironically tragic scenes of the episode, Claire and Bonnet bond over their fear of drowning, one that Claire has felt since she almost drowned last season and that Bonnet says has haunted him for his entire life. No doubt that fear is a metaphor for something larger (though, yeah, the sea is frakking scary): a fear of drowning in this new land with its often unkind rules, so far away from the support systems of community and family that can cushion so much of that potential pain in an ideal situation.

But, if we’ve learned anything from Outlander, it’s that even love and family and support can only go so far in a cruel world. Loved ones can help you move on from traumatic experiences, but they can’t completely shield you from pain. We’ve seen these characters tormented again and again, as often if not more so than they have been able to live happily and with some semblance of peace. One such example is brought up early in the premiere: the rape of Young Ian, and Jamie’s own history of sexual assualt.

“Some ghosts can only be banished by speaking their names and foul deeds aloud,” Jamie tells Ian in one of several nurturing, fatherly moments in the episode. He straight-up cuddles a sobbing Ian, and it is a thing of beauty — one we don’t normally get to see from our strapping male protagonists. Strength is far too often equated with emotional stoicism, but Jamie knows the truth: There are few things scarier and therefore braver than being emotionally vulnerable. And he’s passing that lesson on to Young Ian, as well, in a moment when he needs that kind of positive reinforcement of sharing his pain more than ever.

Thematically, this episode is very much about what the dream of America can and will mean for Jamie, Claire, and the little family they’ve created. Plot-wise, it is very much about trying to find a buyer for a gemstone Team Sassenach salvaged. It’s the kind of heavy-handed, ludicrous plot point that probably won’t matter in a few episodes and that Outlander endearingly makes use of all the time. (There’s a reason why the term MacGuffin is Scottish, amirite?)

In the process of showing off the gem to potential buyers, Jamie and Claire inadvertently sell something else: their status as white Europeans with friends they can convince to come settle and an aunt, Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta, in a position of power. The local governor offers Jamie a land grant in exchange for his loyalty to the crown and the promise that he will encourage more white Europeans like himself to come over.

Already, the fine print on the “American dream” Claire explained to Jamie is beginning to reveal itself. There are the indigenous people, who Claire tells Jamie will be slaughtered or, their ancestral homes taken from them and made to live in reservations. There are the many slaves who have no say in their own fates. There are the unconnected poor who cannot afford to pay the fees that come along with making their way to the New World and who don’t have rich and/or powerful relatives to make the deal possible. And there is anyone who isn’t “white,” by whatever definition those in power deem that to be in this time period.

“A dream for some can be a nightmare for others,” Jamie says wisely, understanding that the Jacobite cause is just one example of the powerful elite controlling, killing, and using the vulnerable masses to sustain and grow their own power and wealth. It doesn’t stop Jamie from wanting to stay in America, however, and try to have a positive influence on this land that will one day be his daughter’s home, but Jamie and Claire are going to have to get a lot more radical if they want to make a difference as white landowners in Colonial-era North Carolina. I await their community-organising subplot…

Jamie and Claire’s illusion of the American dream is also tainted by Stephen Bonnet, who comes back into their lives in a blaze of cold-blooded villainy. Boarding Claire and Jamie’s boat set for River Run (Jamie’s aunt’s place), Bonnet and his band of pirates slit the throat of the boat captain, beat up Jamie and Ian, and steal everything of value they have on them, including one of Claire’s wedding rings. Perhaps worst of all, they remind this family that the misuse of power is not something specific to the English or to Europe or even to institution. It can be anywhere, even in this new land of hope.

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Tours of Scotland – two castles and a distillery

Tours of Scotland – two castles and a distillery

Looking for things to do in Edinburgh ? How about taking a tour from Edinburgh of two amazing castles and a whisky distillery ?

Two ancient Scottish castles and a distillery feature in this tour –

  •  Stirling Castle
  • Doune Castle
  • Deanston Highland Malt Distillery
  • Callander
  • Balquhidder Church

Doune Castle featured in Monty Python and the Holy Grail , Game of Thrones and the Outlander TV series.

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and amazing architecture.

Deanston Distillery makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online . Shore excursions – all of our tours are available as shore excursions from the Edinburgh ports South Queensferry, Newhaven and Rosyth .

11 Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most impressive castles due to its imposing position and impressive architecture. Visitors to the castle can enjoy stunning 360 degree views of the Forth Valley and the Wallace Monument . Your ticket into the castle includes a dedicated castle guide (tours leave in the castle at regular times and are provided directly by the castle).

Stirling castle tours

From Stirling Castle’s ramparts, visitors can take in views of the Forth Valley and Ben Lomond , as well as two of Scotland’s most important battle sites – Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). The castle is at the head of Stirling’s historic old town.Like Edinburgh Castle , Stirling sits on a volcanic rock dominating the city skyline .

stirling castle tours

Stirling Castle is not only one of Scotland’s grandest and most imposing castles, it was also a real favourite with Scotland’s kings and queens. And their investment in it demonstrated just how much they loved to use it, as well as their desire to ensure it both impressed all who visited it, and represented a statement of their power and wealth. James IV created the Great Hall, the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland, and James V’s Royal Palace, with its lavishly decorated Renaissance façades, was a masterpiece of the period.

Major conservation work has been carried out at Stirling Castle over many years to preserve the attraction as a major national and international monument. The refurbishment of the Great Hall was completed a couple of years ago . A particular feature of the Great Hall is stained glass windows featuring clan crests . A number of banquets and concerts are held in the Hall throughout the year .

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

Duration: 1 hour

12.20 Doune Castle

Doune has appeared several times on screen and was widely used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It also represented the castle Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

Your guide will give details of the history of the castle , information about the Game of Thrones filming plus all the other films made at Doune Castle including Monty Python and the Holy Grail .

Behind the scenes access

Visitors to the castle can get details about Game of Thrones filming in the Great Hall and courtyard of the castle .

Insider access

Take the audio tour of the castle narrated by Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Outlander’s Jamie Fraser ( Sam Heughan ) .

Game of Thrones t-shirts

Originally dating to the 13th Century, Doune Castle near Stirling plays Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenzie and his clan in Outlander TV series .

It also features in the 20th century episode when Claire and Frank Randall visit the castle on a day trip.

Once a Royal residence, Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany in the late 14th Century.

 

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

Duration: 45 minutes

1.20 Callander , 

the old gateway to the Highlands and explore the streets, this is also a great place to pick up a snack or lunch.

Duration: 30 minutes

2.30  Balquhidder Church Ruins, 

the old church remains of Balquhidder and the resting place of one of Scotlands greatest folk legends, the outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. 

Duration:  30 minutes

3.45  Deanston Distillery

In 1974 Deanston produced the very first bottle of Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The standard tour at Deanston costs £9 per person ( not included on tour price )

Each tour warmly welcomes you into the heart of the distillery, where Deanston makes award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Here you will see a traditional open top mash tun, gleaming copper stills and a must-see vaulted maturation Warehouse 2B. Join the experienced tour guides on a journey through time, taking you back to the past as a cotton mill and through the evolution of Deanston Distillery . The Standard Tour finishes off with a tasting of Deanston 12 year old whisky .

Guided tour of the distillery Includes a tasting of Deanston 12 year old , £5 voucher towards the purchase of any bottle of Deanston 70cl single malt whisky in the distillery shop Duration: 50 minutes

Every drop of Highland Single Malt is a marriage of the finest local ingredients and the skill of the craft to create the wonderful, fresh, honeyed sweetness that Deanston is known for. The Distillery has a commitment to using a traditional, hand crafted approach to our whisky embodies the honesty of our community. Our adherence to traditional methods combined with the skills and experience of our distillery team makes Deanston the unique single malt it is today.

Phone 07305-294773 for bookings or contact us  online .

Duration: 1 hour 

Private Tour –  price £300 for groups of up to 4 people.

Shore excursions – all of our tours are available as shore excursions from the Edinburgh ports South Queensferry, Newhaven and Rosyth . Private tours Edinburgh phone 0131-549-9785Private tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ?Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week

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Jamie Fraser Outlander tours featuring Lallybroch

Looking for Jamie Fraser tours from Edinburgh ? How about taking a unique tour of three key locations in the life of Jamie Fraser –  Lallybroch  ( Midhope Castle ) , Jamie’s ancestral home , Linlithgow Palace ( Wentworth Prison ) and  Blackness Castle ( Fort William ) .


Midhope Castle Outlander tours, This one of the best Outlander tours in Scotland
Midhope Castle Outlander tours

Lallybroch is Midhope Castle , a 16th-century tower house of five storeys and a garret, to which has been added a later and lower wing.

This one of the best Outlander tours in ScotlandLallybroch Castle tours can be booked on 07305-294773, toll free number 1-866-233-2644 or online .

Tours start at 10 am . Our private group tours take up to four people to three Jamie Fraser Outlander filming locations. We also offer bespoke private tours with the option of choosing your own itinerary . This tour costs £150 .

Free pickup from your hotel, accommodation or port in Edinburgh  .

Normal pickup point is Edinburgh city centre , your hotel or the airport .

Other pickup points can be arranged .

  • Lallybroch – Midhope Castle, ancestral home of Jamie Fraser
  • Linlithgow Palace – Wentworth Prison
  • Blackness Castle – Fort William
  • half day Outlander tour
  • Take in unique views of three historic castles featured in Outlander
  • Small private group tour with up to four people

Itinerary

1 . Lallybroch – Midhope Castle

The first location on this Outlander tour is Lallybroch – Midhope Castle, ancestral home of Jamie Fraser . Outlander scenes were shot at Midhope Castle on the fringes of the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.

Midhope was built in the 15th Century by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.

The interior of Midhope is inaccessible .

Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle) Outlander tours, Lallybroch , real life Midhope Castle , is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser , visit the castle on our Outlander tours
Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle) Outlander tours, Lallybroch , real life Midhope Castle ,
Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle) Outlander tours, Lallybroch , real life Midhope Castle , is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser , visit the castle on our Outlander tours

Midhope Castle, a 16th-century tower house, is used as Lallybroch (also known as Broch Tuarach) in Outlander . Left to Jamie by his parents, Brian and Ellen, Lallybroch is also home to Jamie’s sister, Jenny, her husband Ian Murray and their children. Lallybroch is a crucial part of Jamie Fraser’s life in Outlander .

Jamie Fraser Outlander tours can be booked on +44-7305294773 or toll free number 1-866-233-2644 or online .

The castle was owned by the Martin family in 1478 , but passed it to the Livingstones soon afterwards. James Lindsay, Lord Lindsay, had a ratification of 1592 for the lands of Midhope, with the tower and fortalice thereof. Midhope belonged to the Drummonds of Midhope, who were in possession during part of the 16th and 17th centuries, and Alexander Drummond of Midhope remodelled the tower in 1587 and his initials with those of his wife Marjorie Bruce are on a former lintel now above a gateway. Alexander Drummond of Midhope is on record in the 1640s, then Sir Robert Drummond of Midhope in 1647 and 1661.

Jamie Fraser t-shirts and gifts, Outlander
Jamie Fraser t-shirts and gifts, Outlander

2 . Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle goes back to 1440 . The castle provides the setting for Fort William, as the original fort no longer exists. Jamie is whipped by Black Jack Randall at Fort William .

Blackness Castle in the Outlander TV series
Blackness Castle in the Outlander TV series

The castle is long and narrow because of the shape of the rock on which it is situated and it is sometimes called ‘ the ship that never sailed ‘ . It guards the bay at Blackness and is only a few miles from Linlithgow Palace . The first castle was built in the middle of the 15th century by Sir George Crichton , Earl of Caithness , a member of one of the most powerful families in Scotland .

Jamie Fraser Outlander tours can be booked on 07305-294773 ,  toll free number 1-866-233-2644 or online .

3 . Linlithgow Palace

This royal palace is where Jamie Fraser was imprisoned and it featured some of the most harrowing scenes of the TV show Outlander . The Palace is also famous as the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots .

Linlithgow Palace and Loch , Wentworth prison in the Outlander TV series
Linlithgow Palace and Loch , Wentworth prison in the Outlander TV series

Depicted as Wentworth Prison, the prison corridors and entrance were used in episode 15 of the first series when Jamie Fraser was brutally incarcerated by his adversary, Black Jack Randall.

Built in the 1400s and 1500s, the now-ruined palace is set among the spectacular surrounds of Linlithgow Loch and Peel. Visitors can climb to the top of the palace for a magnificent panoramic view of the Loch and Palace . 

Optional extra

Hopetoun House Outlander tours
Hopetoun House Outlander tours

The standard tour features a visit to three Outlander locations . We also offer an optional extra of a visit to Hopetoun House . Please ask the driver for more details .

This one of the best Outlander tours in Scotland . Phone 07305-294773 to make a booking .

Jamie Fraser t-shirts and gifts

All pictures are copyright David Rankin/ Private tours Edinburgh 2019

 

Private tours Edinburgh phone 0131-549-9785

Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week
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Outlander untold

Today during a live stream, Outlander executive Producers Toni Graphia and Maril Davis announced that four all-new bonus scenes featuring fan favorite characters will be included along with all of the season’s episodes when Outlander sEASON FOUR comes to Digital May 27 and Blu-ray and DVD May 28. Dive deeper into the story with these extended stories that feature Lord John Grey’s life as a single father to William, Murtagh and Marsali navigating a confrontation with deceitful landlords, Young Ian meeting Rollo for the first time, and Aunt Jocasta teaching Phaedre & Lizzie a lesson about working together.

Also revealed during the live stream were additional details about a limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, which will include exclusive packaging, an excerpt from the ninth book in Diana Gabaldon’s  series and early access to the Season 4 soundtrack. The Outlander sEASON FOUR Collector’s Edition is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Full details about the OUTLANDER: SEASON FOUR Digital, Blu-ray & DVD release, including additional bonus features, will be announced in April.

Private tours Edinburgh – unique tours of Scotland 7 days a week – phone 0131-549-9785Private tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ?Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week