October 14, 2010

0 Scotland Trip; Sueno's Stone, Elgin, October 14

The view from the patio of our holiday apartment rental.  We got a great deal for the week located in a small village just 5 minutes from Inverness.  This view didn't hurt, either!!

Top of our list for the day was Sueno's Stone.   Located not far from where we were staying, it is an impressive work carbon dated at over 1000 years old.  The meanings of the carvings are debated, and I'll let you do your own further searches if you're interested, but the sight of an 21ft tall ancient stone is impressive.

The back of Sueno's Stone.  The glass enclosure is to protect it, and while it does make photographing difficult it doesn't detract from viewing too much.

We next headed to Elgin Cathedral.  Having first driven through Elgin on the 10th and stopped there for petrol, we were both anxious to return and see this beautiful site.   We asked the woman in the giftshop how the town is pronounced- she told us "There are 183* Elgins [ell-jiin] in the world and only one Elgin [ell-ghin]."   No, I'm not a super-English rules person, so that's my attempt at pronunciation writing. 
*- I can't remember the exact number she said, but it was something like 183.  So we'll pretend I know.

I decided early in our trip that the ultimate house would be a converted abbey.  Here I didn't know what these large shamrocky-square things were, until it dawned on me that they were broken pillars (yeah, I know, I can be slow sometimes...).  I do think they'd make fantastic tables or something, so I'm still up for my own ruined abbey if you know of any for sale!!

Some stone people.  I bet whoever they are, they'd love to know that their statues are still around now.  Except maybe the beheaded one in the middle...

The sun was at it's brightest this day, both highlighting architectural details and creating beautiful shadows.

This tomb, to Henrietta, Dutchess of Gordon, isn't any more splendid or interesting than any of the others around the property.  However, when we read the inscription both Paul and I stopped in our tracks- THAT'S A LOT OF KIDS.

Another dead person.  There were a lot of these around the cathedral.  Doesn't seem like a bad spot to hang out in...

The cathedral was first attacked when the Wolf of Badenoch burned it in 1390, retaliation of the bishop's having excommunicated him (for adultery).  This wasn't the first damage to the building, having already suffered a natural fire.  A subsequent attack in 1402 did further damage, but, as usual, the cathedral stood strong until the Reformation in the 16th century.

More moss-filled grave markers, but also an example of the skull and bones.  Not pirates, or a "secret" Yale society, just a symbol of death. 

The chapter house, the only part of the cathedral to never fall into complete disrepair.  The towns' merchants used it as a meeting hall after the Reformation and before the site was "restored" in the early 1800s.

From the top of the north tower.  The chapter house is just seen at the center left.  

This adorable little gingerbread cottage (built 1851, according to a stone carving on the side) is located across the street from the cathedral on the corner of the Biblical Gardens- a garden that includes most of the 110 plants mentioned in the bible, along with biblical statues.   If I can't live in an old abbey, can I at least live in a cute cottage across the street?!?!?

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