Society member Jamie Sempill has recently embarked on a series of Marie Stuart tours and has submitted the following report on the first such tour. For further particulars:
The Inaugural Mary Queen of Scots tour.
Jamie can be seen extreme left while Society member Roy Johnstone who gave a fine talk to the Society earlier this month can be seen second right
The inaugural tour was a great success, with the notable exception of the weather, which decided in memory of Mary to replicate her arrival inIn fact, so bad was the weather that we arrived at
Leith some 450 years ago; grey,
misty and wet.
The following day saw us in the Borders, where the dreek weather had decided to park itself for the day. The Mary Queen of Scots' House in Jedburgh is a real gem. It is dedicated to her memory and has been open to the public since 1930. One of the rooms has painted panels of all the key players in her reign, which helps in putting faces to the names which crop up throughout the tour. It is also a great example of a 16th. century tower house, which stands as a good contrast to the castles and palaces where she lived.It is incredible to think that during her very short reign she travelled over 1200 miles and stayed in 80 different properties, one of which, Traquair House, was our lunch time destination. This house is still lived in by the Maxwell-Stuarts, whose ancestor was the Captain of Queen Mary’s Royal Guard. The group, by now enjoying a rapidly clearing sky, was met by Catherine, the current Mistress of Traquair. It is
The group’s last visit was toOver dinner that evening, which I hosted in my home, it was quite apparent that the tour had been a great success. Importantly, it had been entertaining whilst informative. One of the group, Pauline, who lives on the isle of Skye, had really enjoyed seeing a part of
Stirling , which recently won the
award for the most popular tourist destination in Castle . The restoration of the
castle by Historic Scotland has been a major achievement and is very much the
icing on the cake as far as the tour is concerned. The great advantage is that
the restoration takes us back to what it would have looked like during her
reign. This helps to show the power of the Stuarts and the impact of the
renaissance on Scotland ,
all of which is greatly enhanced by the performance of the guides dressed in
contemporary costume. They are a real tour de force. Scotland
It was the first time I had run the tour, and I really enjoyed it. The fact that my family had had been party to many of the events that occurred during her reign, enabled me to provide a personal view, albeit with a small touch of poetic licence!So if you are interested in knowing more about sixteenth century Scotland and the reign of Mary Queen of Scots, call at http://www.clansandcastles.com/mqs.htm, where you will find all the appropriate information about the tour.