After three weeks of rather hectic travelling, and being with each other almost 24/7, one or two tense moments were inevitable. So when we decided to visit Inchmahome Priory, I was delighted with the tranquility of this beautiful place.
We had a late start to the day. We had done all the things that were on my priority list for the week (visiting the archives and the ancestral farms etc), and we were checking the guidebook that came with our Heritage Passes to see what else was in the area. The two nearest were Doune Castle, which we never quite got to, and Inchmahome Priory.
The priory is situated on an island in the Lake of Menteith - Scotland's only lake (all the rest are lochs). There was a fishing contest taking place on the day we were there:
The entry fee covers a seven minute ride on a small boat.
There were about half a dozen to a dozen tourists on the island while we were there, along with the young woman who drove the boat, and her colleague manning the small Historic Scotland information centre and shop. It was the least crowded tourist attraction of any we visited.
The priory is mostly in ruins. The best preserved part is the chapter house which used to serve as the business office as the priory but was later converted to a mausoleum by the island's owners, the Graham family, in the 1750s. It contains some fine medieval effigies moved for safekeeping from the priory church.
The warming house was the only place that the monks were permitted to sit around the fire and warm themselves. It is the only part other than the chapter house which is still roofed, and I was intrigued to see that the moisture dripping from the ceiling was beginning to deposit small stalactites.
The priory's main historic claim to fame is that the four year old Mary Queen of Scots was brought here for safety by her mother in 1547.
We also spent some time strolling round the rest of the island.
This was taken on the way over to the island. The weather wasn't really quite this gloomy, but I loved the black and white effect that the backlighting produced:
And for something more colourful, the wee Post Office in the village of Aberfoyle, where we stopped to post our postcards on the way to the lake:
We finished up the day with our usual petrol, supermarket and internet trip through Stirling and returned through the villages of Doune and Callendar (but too late for Doune Castle).
Next day - we move on...