Monday, September 22, 2014

St John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Bath

The foundation for St John the Evangelist church was laid in October 1861, and it was completed in October 1863. The tower and spire were added four years later. St John the Evangelist church was designed by the architect Charles Hansom, who designed some fifty Catholic churches in the UK. Hansom regarded St John's as his best and most rewarding work. St John the Evangelist was built on the site of an earlier priory by the Benedictines of Downside Abbey who handed it over to the Clifton Diocese in 1932.

St John the Evangelist church interior Bath

St John the Evangelist is built in the decorated Gothic style. Bath stone was used throughout the entire building. The stone tower and spire are 222 feet high, the highest in Bath.


St John the Evangelist is located adjacent to the River Avon and near such landmarks as the Empire Hotel and Pulteney Bridge.

St. John the Evangelist
South Parade
Bath
BA2 4AF
Tel: 01225 464471

St John the Evangelist map

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Hermaness National Nature Reserve

As Scotland goes to the polls this week to decide whether it remains part of the UK, it is interesting to focus on The Shetland Islands, that only became part of Scotland in 1468.

Fulmar, Hermaness National Nature Reserve
Fulmar
One of the most beautiful parts of The Shetland Islands is Hermaness, the most northerly headland of Unst, the northernmost inhabited island of The Shetland Islands.

Great Skuas (Bonxie), The Shetland Islands, Scotland
Great Skua
Designated in 1955 as a National Nature Reserve, Hermaness remains privately owned by the Edmondston family, and is world famous for its birds.

Lots of birds, including breeding colonies of Fulmars, Gannets, Great Skuas (Bonxie), Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Puffins and Shags.

Gannet, Scotland
Gannet
The numbers of birds is amazing. Over 25,000 pairs of Puffins breed in the Hermaness area every year, part of the total of 100,000 breeding sea birds in the summer months. The Gannets in Hermaness represent 5% of the entire European population of the birds.

Puffin, Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland
Puffin
Allow 3-4 hours for walking in the area. Access is unrestricted but please follow the marked paths to preserve this unique environment. The cliff-top setting is amazingly beautiful but also hazardous, especially in bad weather. Please take care near any drops and of damaging the delicate bog areas, though part of the path is covered with a boardwalk.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


The summer months in Hermaness National Nature Reserve are noted for their beautiful flowers and plants including bog bilberry, crowberry, heather and mosses. Seals can often be spotted on the rocks below the cliffs.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


Muckle Flugga Lighthouse is a local landmark and is Britain's most northerly lighthouse and dates from 1854, constructed to protect shipping during the Crimean War.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland


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Friday, August 1, 2014

Mousa Broch The Shetlands

Mousa Broch located on the island of Mousa in The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is the finest example of an Iron Age, drystone, round tower in the world and among the oldest buildings in Britain.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK


Archaeologists differ as to the purpose of "brochs" some arguing that they were early forts or castles, while other specialists see them as dwellings for the elites of their times.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, Britain


Brochs can be found in the Shetland Islands, the HebridesOrkney and parts of northern Scotland. There are around 570 brochs in total scattered throughout this wide, geographical area.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Mousa Broch is believed to date from around 100 BCE and is 13m high with thick walls and only one entrance. Mousa Broch is built in stone without the use of any mortar.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Inside would have been two floors built of wood. Mousa Broch is referred to in Norse sagas.

Mousa Broch is well known among bird enthusiasts for its breeding European storm-petrels and the island is a Special Protection Area for the birds. Other animals to be found on the island include common and grey seals, guillemots and Arctic Terns.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa has been uninhabited since the 19th century. The island of Mousa lies off the east coast of Mainland Shetland about 24 km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland

Mousa or "Mosey" means "Mossy Island" in Old Norse and Mousa has some lovely lichen and alpine-like flowers. Access to Mousa is by passenger-only ferry in the summer season from Leebitton, Sandwick, 18km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland


Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland


Resources
Shetland Heritage
Mousa Boat

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busta House Hotel

Busta House Hotel in the The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is an historic accommodation dating in parts from the 16th century and makes for an excellent base to explore the island. The garden and surrounding countryside are a delight.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, UK


Busta House Hotel is located between the village of Brae and the island of Muckle Roe and offers some excellent Shetland Islands cuisine.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK


Busta House Hotel has both WiFi in public areas and modem connections in the 22 bedrooms. The bar offers a fantastic range of wines and whiskies.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland


Busta House Hotel
Busta
Brae
Shetland
Scotland
ZE2 9QN

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Empire Hotel in Bath

The Empire Hotel in Bath was built in 1901, and it has been designated as a Grade II listed building. The Empire Hotel is located on Orange Grove near both Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. The Empire Hotel was designed by the architect Major Charles Edward Davis for the hotelier Alfred Holland. The Empire Hotel is built from Bath Stone.

Empire Hotel, River Avon, Bath, England

The Empire Hotel has six floors plus an octagonal corner tower. The architecture of the roof shows the three social classes: a castle on the corner for the upper class, a house for the middle classes, and a cottage for the lower classes. The Empire Hotel was remodeled in the 1990s and became flats and a restaurant.

Empire Hotel, Pulteney weir, Bath, England

Visitors to central Bath should also visit the nearby St Michael's church or take a ride on one of the Pulteney Cruisers.

The Empire Hotel map

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Viking Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, have a long Viking history and heritage.

Viking Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Islands were ruled by the Vikings for over 500 years, and many locals claim descent from Scandinavian raiders.

In fact, the Shetland Islands are closer to Norway than the Scottish capital of Edinburgh and did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century.

Viking Longhouse, Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Vikings colonised the Shetland Islands in the 8th and 9th centuries with the Norwegian king Harald Fair Hair taking over the Orkney and Shetland Islands in 875. The local Picts were both absorbed and annihilated by the Scandinavian invaders.

The northern islands were used as a base for raids on the British mainland to the south. The Shetlands Islands did not become Christian until as late as the 10th century and became part of Scotland in 1469 when they were mortgaged to Scotland as part of the dowry payment from Christian I of Norway to James III of Scotland, when his daughter Margaret married the Scottish monarch.

Viking Shetland Islands

The faithfully reconstructed Viking longhouse at Brookpoint is based on excavations carried out on Unst, with the timber for the building shipped from the Scottish mainland and assembled using traditional methods by local artisans.

Skidbladner Viking Ship

The adjacent Skidbladner is a full size replica of the Gokstad, a 24m-long, 5m-wide ship discovered in a Viking burial mound in Vestfold, Norway in 1880. This too was built using Scottish oak and assembled using traditional methods.

Viking Shetland Islands

Both the Skidbladner and the Viking longhouse can be entered and are the focus of various Viking-related events in the summer months. Unst is the northernmost part of the British Isles and has around 50 sites of Viking longhouses.

Viking Shetland Islands

The annual Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick celebrates the Shetland Islands' Norse heritage and culminates with the ritual burning of a replica Viking ship on the last Tuesday in January. The dramatic event draws visitors from around the world.

Further information on the Viking heritage of the Shetland Islands can be found at www.shetlandamenity.org and www.uphellyaa.org.

Viking Shetland Islands

Friday, July 4, 2014

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, has a unique and delicious cuisine, much of it organic.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The Shetland Islands are known for their high-quality fish and shellfish dishes as well as lamb. Fish include haddock, halibut mackerel, plaice and farmed salmon. Mussels are also a specialty.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

Shetland Islands' lamb is raised on both grass and seaweed and has a distinctive flavour.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

Beef is another delicacy from the Shetlands Islands and the local cattle produce some excellent butter, cheese, cream and milk.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The black potato is a local vegetable and beetroot, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, and turnips are all grown along with strawberries and peppers under glass.

Shetland Islands Cuisine, Scotland


The Shetland Islands have two small breweries to boot. One in Unst and the other in Lerwick. See here for more information on food and drink in the Shetland Islands.