Scone Palace - Maze, Moot Hill and Mary Queen of Scots
For a while, after I left my home in Dundee, I lived in the town of Perth and from my window, across the Tay, I could see Scone Palace in the distance. That's the strange thing about this country, you can look from your modern-day window straight into the the past..and what an intriguing past Scone Palace has! This is the crowning place of the legendary kings of Scotland, and one of my favourite places to visit.
Scone Palace is currently the home of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield but since time immemorial it has been a site of deep historical significance. Like many of these revered places in Scotland, it has an unmistakable mystique. Ancient secrets still seem to hang in the air and pervade the structure itself, growing into it like the ivy and the moss...
Old entrance to Scone Palace
Built on the ancient gathering place of the Picts, the mysterious "painted peoples" it was once the site of an abbey, called the Palace of the Abbots. Although the current palace was built in 1800's for the earls of Mansfield, it was reconstructed from the ancient building and incorporates parts of the original structure.
Inside Scone Palace
Robert the Bruce was crowned here in 1306. The Stone of Scone, otherwise known as the Stone of Destiny, was stolen from Scone by Edward 1 in 1296 during the wars of independence.
Replica of the Stone of Scone
Though the actual Stone of Scone now resides in Edinburgh Castle a replica remains here near the place called Moot Hill. Moot Hill, also known as "The Hill of Credulity", is the ancient mound around which the elders of medieval settlements gathered to read proclamations, discuss their affairs and settle court cases... (hence the expression a "moot" point..thought you'd like to know that!)
There were once many of these "Moot hills" in Great Britain, but now only a handful remain.
The Palace of Scone holds some magnificent treasures, among them the embroidery sewn by the hands of Mary Queen of Scots, while she awaited execution as a prisoner near Loch Leven. The palace also holds a collection of priceless furniture, ceramics, ivories, and clocks.
Outside in the grounds, wandering by the white peacocks, you will find the beautiful Murray Star Maze which will fascinate fans of mazes..It is named after a famous Murray who was born in Perth, and the maze is shaped in the the "Murray Star" of heraldic symbolism.
Murray was a soldier and politician, and has many towns and settlements named after him..some in Australia..
Perth's famous son - Murray
When you find your way into the centre you will be rewarded by the sight of a beautiful statue and a fountain..
There is also a wild garden..wild flowers are often sewn in the grounds of castles and aristocratic houses in Scotland and England..(Highgrove House, Prince Charles' home..has a magnificent wild garden)
There is also a pinetum (a garden of pines, pronounced pine-ee-tum)..
As always in Scotland, there is more..
Hopefully you will also get a chance to see the town of Perth.
Perth is situated slightly north of Dundee, and it is a really scenic drive along the valley where the River Tay flows into the sea. As you look up on the side of the valley you will see a little tower on the top of Kinnoul Hill..
Folly on Kinnoul Hill
It's not really a castle, or a tower, it's actually a folly..a structure built strictly for decoration. Follies were a fashionable fad in the 17th and 18th centuries. Aristocrats and wealthy landowners, inspired by the romantic painters of the time, wanted them on their property to give the landscape a wistful and intriguing feature, just like the paintings. No-one ever lived in them and some actually were built to look partly ruined. The one on Kinnoul Hill overlooks the valley where the Tay flows to the sea..
The Town of Perth
Perth in past days was the home of the Scottish Parliament. It is a lovely town to visit..it was once considered a city, but it no longer has that status. Wander along the banks of the Tay in the park called the North Inch. A more delightful and peaceful walk, you will be hard-pressed to find....
The Salutation Hotel, affectionately known as "the Sally", is in the centre of the town, and is one of the grandest places to stay..
This is a view of a Perth Street with the Salutation Hotel at the far end...
Finally..here is map to show you the position of Perth in relation to Edinburgh and Dundee. It is within easy reach of both these cities..
You can drive, take the train or the bus and it takes less than two hours..Well worth the time!
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