Today is my last day in Scotland before taking off for home early tomorrow morning. It is a bitter sweet moment. I can't believe that 2 weeks have flown by, but I am also eager to get home to my family and the love of my life, Barnaby Blue. I miss that lil muppet so much.
The rental car was due back at noon, but I called to extend my rental for a few more hours so I could get in another sightseeing adventure. Falkland Castle and a visit to Dunfermline were on my list of places to see and was worried I would run out of time, so I set for these stops before coming to an end.
There was supposed to be a big storm today, but luckily it turned into a glorious day of sunshine and a crisp fall breeze.
The castle grounds began in the early 1100s as a hunting lodge, but in the 1200s the property was converted to a personal estate and eventually into a palace by the Earls of Fife (Clan MacDuff). The castle changed hands a few times over the rough ages of the civil war as well as the Jocobite uprisings. In the 1600s, the castle fell to ruin when it was taken over by the English Cromwell troops as a military base - they destroyed several parts of the palace. It laid in ruin until the 1880s when the 3rd Marquis of Bute purchased it and set out for renovating the keeper's tower for a private family home with plans to eventually restore the royal apartments. He died before the royal apartments could be worked on so they continue to lay in ruin to this day. However, the restoration work done during the Victorian era to the keeper's gatehouse are immaculate. The most original and intact part of the original palace is the chapel which the hand painted walls are dated from the 1500s. In the gardens there is a Real (Royal) Tennis court dated from 1539 still exists - a small video exhibit in the tennis arena features history about the court as well as information on the difference between Real (Royal) Tennis and the modern tennis we know of today.
Across from the palace I picked up a ham and brie sandwich with crisps and set out for a scenic drive to the town of Dunfermline. I pulled off of the road to overlook the rich farmland in the Kingdom of Fife. What a beautiful view.
I drove through the town of Dunfermline - its greater area is very modern with suburban cul-de-sacs and large shopping centers, but the old part of the town is more of the iconic Scottish buildings one would expect. The heart sits the Dunfermline Abbey surrounded by old stone stores and homes. I didn't get a chance to stop and take photos of the town or to visit the abbey - I was running out of time and there was either a soccer or rugby game starting which made the whole city jam packed with people and cars. So, I just drove through and then headed for the airport to return the car.
After returning the car, I looked up to the sky and just above me appeared a vibrant rainbow. It was like Scotland was giving me a wink and saying 'thank you for visiting'.