Motorists visiting Tantallon Castle are politely requested not to block the entrance gate.
Brochs are an important part of the archaeological landscape. Several have been placed in State Guardianship in Scotland.
Western Lewis: Dun Carloway
Skye: Dun Beag
Mainland: Glenelg Brochs (Dun Telve, Dun Troddan)
Scottish Borders: Edin’s Hall
My study of Ministry Souvenir Guidebooks has appeared in the latest number of the Journal of Public Archaeology (2018).
The first formal guidebooks for historic sites placed in state guardianship in the United Kingdom appeared in 1917. There was an expansion of the series in the 1930s and 1950s. However from the late 1950s the Ministry of Works, and later the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, started to produce an additional series of illustrated souvenir guides. One distinct group covered Royal Palaces: The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Queen Victoria’s residence of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. This was followed by guides for the archaeological sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, the Neolithic flint mines at Grime’s Graves, the Roman villa at Lullingstone, and Hadrian’s Wall. In 1961 a series of guides, with covers designed by Kyffin Williams, was produced for the English castles constructed in North Wales and that now form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of ‘Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd’. These illustrated guides, some with colour, prepared the way for the fully designed guides now produced by English Heritage, Cadw, and History Scotland.
‘The Ministry of Works and the Development of Souvenir Guides from 1955’, Public Archaeology (2018). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14655187.2017.1484584
W. Douglas Simpson (1896–1968) prepared a series of Ministry guidebook for sites in State Guardianship. He was lecturer in British History at the University of Aberdeen (by 1924), and then He served as Librarian and Registrar for the University of Aberdeen from 1926 through to 1966. He served as Chair of the Ancient Monuments Board for Scotland. He was awarded OBE (1954) and CBE (1962).
In 1959 Simpson prepared Scottish Castles: An Introduction to the Castles of Scotland (HMSO, 1959). In the Foreword he wrote: ‘Those who read this little book will come to realise that, small and poor as it has always been, Scotland yet possesses a distinctive castellated architecture, and one of which any nation might be proud’. There are eight sections:
- The earliest castles
- Castles of enceinte
- The early tower houses
- Bastard feudalism and the later castles
- The later tower houses
- The royal palaces
- Firearms and the later “House of Fence”
- The Scottish baronial style
Several of the castles and abbeys he studied were located around Aberdeen: Tolquhon Castle (1948), Huntly Castle (1954), Kildrummy and Glenbuchat (1957); the Abbey of Deer (1952).
Kirkcudbrightshire: Threave Castle (1948)
Angus: Edzell Castle (1952); Restenneth Priory (1952)
Isle of Bute: Rothesay Castle (1952)
East Lothian: Hailes Castle
Roxburghshire: Hermitage (1957)
Lanarkshire: Bothwell Castle (1958)
Orkney: Kirkwall (1965)
The guidebook for Dunstaffnage (1981) contains his draft.
He also prepared (with V. Gordon Childe) the Illustrated Guide to Ancient Monuments … vol 6: Scotland (1954).
He prepared one guidebook for the National Trust for Scotland: Craigievar Castle, the rock of Mar (1966) (NTS). This castle is located to the west of Aberdeen.
Hall, A. (2004, September 23). Simpson, William Douglas (1896–1968), archaeologist and historian. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Retrieved 5 Aug. 2018, from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-49530.
A narrow staircase led to an opening in the riverside wall of Hailes Castle to provide access to a well. There is a possibility that there would also have been access to the river Tyne below.
The harbour supplying Threave Castle is currently inaccessible by members of the public. Its location is marked by a partially obscured sign. The information board erected by Historic Scotland provides additional information on the original nature of the harbour along with some of the finds made during the excavations.
Concerns are being raised about visitors creating piles of cairns that detract from the landscape (Michael Cox, ‘Beaches ‘spoiled’: Should rock stacking be banned?‘, BBC News 11 August 2018). John Hourston of the Blue Planet Society is quoted: ‘The first rule of the environment is leave no trace … If we educated people to understand that philosophy I think then people would have second thoughts about making a personal statement with a rock stack.’
The issue is not just one for Scotland. This summer we observed the phenomenon on Lindisfarne, Northumberland.
Tourists need to leave the landscape as they find it.