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Callendar House , Falkirk tours

A commemorative exhibition dedicated to the Battle of Falkirk is going on public display to coincide with the 720th anniversary of the event. Callendar House in Falkirk will be filled with a collection of historical objects from this Saturday, including a sword reputedly used by Sir John de Graeme, in a nod to the 1298 battle. The sword, donated to Falkirk Community Trust by the Masonic Lodge in Auchterarder, was passed down through the de Graeme family until it was handed to the lodge for safekeeping in 1792 by William Graeme of Orchill, its Right Worshipful Master. Sir John de Graeme was born in the Carron Valley and fought alongside Sir William Wallace, becoming a good friend and trusted advisor of the Scottish leader. He was killed in battle after supposedly being struck from behind through a gap in his armour by an unseen assailant as he fought an English knight. According to a later account of the battle, in a 1470s poem written by Blind Harry, Sir Wallace searched for Sir de Graeme’s body and carried him to the churchyard at Falkirk for burial, where he remains to this day. Grangemouth councillor Robert Spears, who played an instrumental role in organising the loan, said: “I am delighted that the sword will be in Callendar House in time for the commemorations and am sure that it will prove a major attraction to the Battle of Falkirk display during its special loan period.” The Battle of Falkirk Commemoration Community will hold a wreath-laying service and ceremony at 1pm this Saturday at Sir John de Graeme’s tomb in the Trinity Church. Members will then head to Callander Park to the 1298 Memorial Cairn.

Tour Falkirk and Callander House on our unique local tours

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Buachaille Etive Mor tours

Buachaille Etive Mor is the iconic mountain in the heart of the Highlands. The mountain has a distinctive pyramid shape and is visible from the main road up towards Glencoe . The waterfall on the River Coupall running in front of the mountain makes a great scene for some stunning photos .

buachaille etive mor 717, stock footage scotland

 

 

 

 

 

Our Buachaille Etive Mor tours take you up to the mountain . Your guide will take you to the best viewpoints for capturing great pictures of Etive Mor and the waterfall on the River Coupall in front of the mountain . Phone 07305-294773 for more details .

Buachaille Etive Mor tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo tours of the Highlands of Scotland
This private tour of the Highlands features a drive through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond National park , passing Loch Lubhair and Loch Lubnaig and going through Crianlarich and Tyndrum . We offer optional stops in Callendar or Doune Castle on the way as we head north into the Highlands .

This tour of the Highlands features a visit to Glencoe, Black Mount and Buachaille Etive Mor . Your guide will take you to the best spots for taking pictures of the beautiful scenery of Glencoe and the Highlands .
This photo tour is ideal for beginners/ intermediate photographers .

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Photo tours of the Highlands for visitors from China

As the first direct flight from China smoothly landed in Edinburgh, Scotland the new visitors must be asking themselves where they should visit .

The amazing scenery of the Highlands of Scotland should be at the top of their list . Photo tours of the Highlands can be booked online or by phone on 07305-294773 .  Photo Tours of Scotland are the ideal way to visit the outstanding natural beauty of the Highland landscapes .

glencoe , photo tours of the highlands
Glencoe , take a photo tour of the Highlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh is the second only to London as the most popular UK destination for Chinese tourist, according to Gordon Dewar, the chief executive of Edinburgh Airport. Also, more than 10,000 Chinese students are currently studying at Scottish universities.

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kindom. /VCG Photo

Top experiences in Edinburgh

Recognized as the capital of Scotland since the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland. The city of Edinburgh is divided in two by Princes Street Gardens. From the Old Town’s medieval street layouts and tenements, to the 18th-century New Town’s financial district, the city offers a respective but harmonious view. Take our five castles tour and visit 5 amazing ancient castles of Scotland .

Edinburgh Castle is a historic landscape which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh, Scotland. /VCG Photo

Edinburgh Castle

Located high on Castle Rock and dominated the view of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence – King Malcolm Canmore and Queen Margaret first made their home here in the 11th century – and as a military stronghold. It also was involved in many historical conflicts, making it an iconic place for the Kingdom of Scotland. Today it is one of Scotland’s most atmospheric and popular attractions, allowing the tourists to revisit history with present-day perspectives.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is the Queen Elizabeth II’s official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history. /VCG Photo

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Situated at the opposite end to the Edinburgh Castle, this palace is the royal family’s official residence in Scotland but is more famous as the 16th-century home of the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots. Taking a self-guided audio tour, you may find yourself immersed in the stories of Mary. The best bedroom of Queen of Mary in Scotland, the famous 16th-century murder scene of Mary’s secretary David Rizzio and the ruins of the Holyrood Abbey may bring you back to the era of the mid-16th century.

A restaurant alongside the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. /VCG Photo

Royal Mile

The Royal Mile runs through the center of the Old Town, connecting the Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Alongside the Mile, tourists can visit numerous historical sites including the St Giles’ Cathedral and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city. You may feel the heartbeat of this ancient city by walking alongside the Mile.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh and want some great photos of the city, there is nowhere better to get them than Calton Hill. /VCG Photo

Calton Hill

The Calton Hill is a hill situated at the east end of the Princes Street, providing you panoramic views of the whole Edinburgh city. The top of Calton Hill is a usually quiet place and is easily accessed. It takes no more than five minutes to get to the top of the hill through the staircases. By the way, don’t miss the sunset here. This place is included as one of the top five locations to photograph an Edinburgh sunset.

For Harry Potter Fans

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without searching for a little bit of Harry Potter in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House in Edinburgh is where J.K. Rowling penned the Harry Potter books. /VCG Photo

The Elephant House

The Elephant House is a self-proclaimed “birthplace of Harry Potter,” where J.K. Rowling started her writing of the story. If you step into this café, you will find the store itself has nothing to do with Harry Potter. However, your visit isn’t complete without a trip to the restrooms. The white walls are covered in Harry Potter-themed graffiti, everything from raunchy HP jokes to heartfelt odes to Rowling. The cafe used to crack down on these scrawls, but it’s now accepted, and people will not stop doing this.

Victoria Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom. /Photo via ewh.org.uk

Victoria Street / Diagon Alley

Lined with candy-colored shops, this curving cobbled street happens to be the main inspiration for Diagon Alley in the book. Victoria Street also featured in the Avengers Infinity War film.

Shops such as novelty joke shop Aha Ha Ha Jokes and second-hand bookstore The Old Town Bookshop should not be missed. Even muggles can see the similarities between the real-existing shops and the ones in the magic world.

Book your Highland tours     , Highland tours from Edinburgh    , Scotland tours from Edinburgh on 07305-294773

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Doune Castle Game of Thrones Castle in Scotland – Winterfell

Doune Castle was built in  1400 for the first Duke of Albany and provides the setting  for Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Visit Doune Castle on a unique private tour of the Game of Thrones Castle in Scotland – Winterfell . Phone 07305-294773 for more details or contact us online .

Doune Castle Game of Thrones tour costs £140 for up to 4 passengers on a private tour from Edinburgh .

 

doune castle tours, outlander
doune castle tours

Doune is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Scotland.
great hall ,doune , outlander

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period. The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

Doune Castle has featured in several literary works, including the 17th-century ballad, “The Bonny Earl of Murray”, which relates the murder of James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray, by the Earl of Huntly, in 1592. In Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, Waverley (1814), the protagonist Edward Waverley is brought to Doune Castle by the Jacobites. Scott’s romantic novel describes the “gloomy yet picturesque structure”, with its “half-ruined turrets”.

doune castle , outlander

The castle was used as a location in MGM’s 1952 historical film Ivanhoe which featured Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. The BBC adaptation of “Ivanhoe” in 1996 also featured Doune as a location. The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was used as a stand-in for the fictional “Leoch Castle” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

Game of Thrones Castle
Game of Thrones Castle

Find out more about Doune Castle tours – phone 07305-294773 or book online .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five castles tour
Our private group visits five castles used as film locations. This tour visits Doune Castle ( Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Castle Leoch ) ,  Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch ) , Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison ) , Aberdour Castle and Blackness Castle
The Outlander TV series continues to be a smash hit in the UK and America .  Five Scottish castles in particular feature heavily in the story lines – Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch ) , Doune Castle ( Castle Leoch ) , Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison ) , Aberdour Castle ( Sainte Anne de Beaupré’s monastery ) and Blackness Castle ( Fort William army headquarters ) .
1 Midhope Castle – Lallybroch
Those seeking a glimpse of the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser won’t find the real Lallybroch deep in the Highlands.
Scenes were shot at Midhope Castle on the fringes of the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.
Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.
Visitors are asked to admire Midhope from a distance as the interior remains largely derelict.

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The Ross fountain at Edinburgh Castle

Work to renovate the historic Ross Fountain was completed this afternoon as the last statue was crane-lifted into place. A mainstay in West Princes Street Gardens for more than 140 years, the A-listed Edinburgh landmark has been undergoing a £1.9m restoration since last July. The statue at the top of The Ross Fountain in West Princes Street Gardens was put back into place today marking the completion of the £1.9M renovation.

Buy t-shirts and prints of the Ross Fountain at Edinburgh Castle 

During the work a small crowd gathered to watch the lofty two-tonne statue being carefully dropped into its final position. It signalled the end of a meticulous repair job spearheaded by the Ross Development Trust and conducted by Wigan-based specialists Lost Art Ltd.

Vibrant new colour scheme for restored Ross Fountain Testing, ancillary works and landscaping still remain to be finished, with a final unveiling scheduled to take place in the next 5 or 6 weeks.

Among those in attendance was Lord Provost Frank Ross who seemed impressed with the restoration as the finishing touches were made. He said: “It’s fantastic. Once the scaffolding’s down and people get to see it, I really believe that the citizens of Edinburgh will get to love it”. Fiona MacDonald, Conservation Architect at Edinburgh World Heritage, who have helped to partly fund the project, said: “We’re delighted the project has now finally been delivered. It’s wonderful that it’s now here in all its glory”.

David Ellis, Managing Director the Ross Development Trust added: “It’s been almost a year since we were standing here taking her down and it’s been a huge amount of work but it honestly feels like it’s flown past. Seeing her go up though is obviously a fantastic moment, this is really the final piece of the puzzle. “They (Lost Art Ltd) have put in an incredibly strong foundation and a whole new modern pumping system, which will make sure there is no potential that the fountain will have to be switched off in the future – which is exactly what everyone wants. “What is most important is making sure it’s going to run properly for decades to come.”

Castles fan ? Take our five castles tour and visit 5 ancient historic castles in Scotland

Read more at: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/watch-ross-fountain-ready-to-flow-once-more-as-restoration-completed-1-4743385

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Doune Castle pictures

Doune Castle was built in  1400 for the first Duke of Albany and provides the setting for Castle Leoch in Outlander .  It was also the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones and Monty Python’s Holy Grail. Visit Doune Castle on a unique private tour of Outlander film locations .

doune castle tours, outlander
doune castle tours

Doune is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Scotland.
great hall ,doune , outlander

The Great Hall is 20 metres by 8 metres , and 12 metres high to its timber roof, again a 19th-century replacement.The hall has no fireplace, and was presumably heated by a central fire, and ventilated by means of a louvre like the one in the modern roof. No details of the original roof construction are known, however, and the restoration is conjectural.Large windows light the hall, and stairs lead down to the three cellars on ground level.

The hall is accessed from the courtyard via a stair up to a triangular lobby, which in turn links the hall and kitchens by means of two large serving hatches with elliptical arches, unusual for this period. The kitchen tower, virtually a tower house in its own right, is 17 metres (56 ft) by 8 metres (26 ft). The vaulted kitchen is on the hall level, above a cellar. One of the best-appointed castle kitchens in Scotland of its date, it has an oven and a 5.5-metre (18 ft) wide fireplace. A stair turret, added in 1581 and possibly replacing a timber stair, leads up from the lobby to two storeys of guest rooms. These include the “Royal Apartments”, a suite of two bedrooms plus an audience chamber, suitable for royal visitors.

Doune Castle has featured in several literary works, including the 17th-century ballad, “The Bonny Earl of Murray”, which relates the murder of James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Moray, by the Earl of Huntly, in 1592. In Sir Walter Scott’s first novel, Waverley (1814), the protagonist Edward Waverley is brought to Doune Castle by the Jacobites. Scott’s romantic novel describes the “gloomy yet picturesque structure”, with its “half-ruined turrets”.

doune castle , outlander

The castle was used as a location in MGM’s 1952 historical film Ivanhoe which featured Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor. The BBC adaptation of “Ivanhoe” in 1996 also featured Doune as a location. The castle was used as the set for Winterfell in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011–present), an adaptation of the A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R. R. Martin. The castle was used as a stand-in for the fictional “Leoch Castle” in the TV adaption of the Outlander series of novels.

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Edinburgh Castle pictures

 

edinburgh castle tshirts

Edinburgh Castle remains the most popular visitor attraction in Scotland according to figures released by Historic Scotland .

All saw a rise in visitors over the year before.The main reason for the increase is the fact that the weak pound made Scotland an attractive holiday destination for Europeans.

Edinburgh Castle t-shirts

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction,” Dr Murray said. “More than 1 million visitors are drawn each year by its spectacular location and history. They can see the Crown Jewels, the One O’Clock Gun and the Stone of Destiny as well as the Great Hall, St Margaret’s Chapel, and Mons Meg. “This new exhibition will explore more of the castle’s complex story, with links to Scots-born John Paul Jones – renowned in America as founder of the US Navy  and in Britain for capturing one of the Royal Navy’s warships – and the turbulence of revolutionary Europe at the end of the 1700s.”Edinburgh Castle is a world-class attraction and today’s well-traveled tourists have high expectations.”The vaults at Edinburgh Castle were constructed around 1500 and later used as soldiers’ barrack-rooms and a bakehouse. However they were used for many years as prisons of war from the 1750s into the early 1800s. Graffiti carved into prison doors reveal the names and sentiments of many of the men there, and some of them etched crude drawings of their vessels. One drawing shows a gallows and noose, with the inscription Lord Nord (North) – the British Prime Minister at the time of the American War of Independence. Another shows a ship flying what appears to be the stars and stripes: one of the earliest known depictions of the American flag.

The Castle is at the top of the Royal Mile . If you walk down the Royal Mile you can see a large number of gift shops , pubs and restaurants . At the foot of the Royal Mile is the new Scottish Parliament building and the Palace of Holyroodhouse , the official residence of the Queen in Scotland .
Kari Coghill of Historic Scotland said: “Our attractions enjoyed a good summer right across the country.
At the same time we obviously benefited from the fact that a weak pound made Scotland an attractive destination for Europeans. But we have also been doing a huge amount to market all that Historic Scotland has to offer, and the good value it provides, and that has seen our membership numbers pass 100,000 for the first time.” Historic Scotland is one of 2 main agencies in charge of Scotland’s castles , the other one being the National Trust for Scotland. more Edinburgh Castle pictures

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Lallybroch / Midhope Castle Outlander tours

Midhope Castle, a 16th-century tower house, is used as Lallybroch (also known as Broch Tuarach) in Outlander . Left to Jamie by his parents, Brian and Ellen, Lallybroch is also home to Jamie’s sister, Jenny, her husband Ian Murray and their children. With Lallybroch being an important part of the Outlander story, much use is made of Midhope Castle.

Midhope Castle tours can be booked on

Toll free number 1-866-233-2644

Freephone 0800-6190575

or online .

Outlander news is brought to you by Outlander tours Edinburgh.

lallybroch midhope castle tours

We see this iconic location several times. Our introduction to Lallybroch comes in a flashback scene during the second episode of season one , when Jamie attempts to rescue Jenny from the Redcoats, only to end up being whipped and carried off to Fort William. Later in episode twelve , Jamie returns with Claire. Then, in season 2 we see Claire and Jamie return home after their time on France.

In season three we find out that the story of Lallybroch is not yet finished. After Culloden, Jamie is returned home, where he hides from the British before eventually surrendering to the army.

Midhope Castle is located in Abercorn, just west of South Queensferry, on the Hopetoun estate. It is every bit as impressive as Lallybroch, with the familiar approach and entrance to the building.

Lallybroch ( Midhope Castle) Outlander tours, Lallybroch , real life Midhope Castle , is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser , visit the castle on our Outlander tours

If you’re looking for a glimpse of the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser you won’t find the real Lallybroch deep in the Highlands.
Scenes were shot at Midhope Castle on the fringes of the Hopetoun Estate near South Queensferry.
Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Midhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.
Visitors are asked to admire Midhope from a distance as the interior remains largely derelict.

Lallybroch castle Pictures, outlander tours

Midhope Castle is the external location for fictional Lallybroch, the family home of character Jamie Fraser , and it is located on the Hopetoun Estate .  Midhope Castle dates back to the 15th Century and although the exterior is relatively intact the castle is derelict inside.

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Outlander film location tours in Scotland

Outlander film location tours

Filming is currently under way for series four of Outlander .
Most of the filming has taken place in locations around Scotland . We have identified 11 separate locations where filming has taken place . Can you add any more to our list ?
Go to the bottom of this post to see our film locations list. Outlander tours can be booked on the Private Tours Edinburgh website .

DRUMMOND CASTLE

Drummond Castle Gardens, Perthshire, doubles as the palace of Versailles in the series Outlander

Drummond Castle Gardens, near Crieff, Perthshire, doubles as the magnificent pleasure grounds of the French royal palace in a new episode of time travelling drama Outlander.The grounds, which date back to 1630, are considered “the best example of formal terraced gardens in Scotland”.

Now they feature in VisitScotland’s new online guide to Outlander locations.The map contains 11 new sites which feature in the second series of the drama, based on the bestselling novels by American author Diana Gabaldon and starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.Much of the action in the second series of Outlander is set in France, where the Frasers take on a new way of life after leaving Scotland.

DRUMMOND CASTLE

The stunning grounds date back to 1630

However, locations such as Drummond Castle Gardens — as well as Gosford House in East Lothian, Glasgow Cathedral and Dysart Harbour in Fife — served as ideal substitutes for French scenes.

Drummond Castle Gardens, which are protected as a category A listed building — in contrast to the B listed castle — already attract thousands of visitors per year, and are included on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.The gardens — complete with peacocks — feature ancient yew hedges and the remaining beech tree planted by Queen Victoria in 1842.But the grounds — which also featured in 1995 feature film Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson — could now see a huge boost in tourist numbers thanks to the so-called “Outlander effect”.
Fans from throughout the world flock to filming locations.Head gardener Edith Barnes said: “The team here puts a lot of effort into making the gardens look their best and we’re delighted that fans of the series got to see them on screen in all their glory.”We hope visitors will see the hard work for themselves and maybe even be transported to another place and era through their beauty.”Outlander centres around Claire Randall, a World War Two combat nurse living in the 1940s with her husband Frank. On a second honeymoon to Inverness, Claire goes to a stone circle and is mysteriously swept back in time to the Scottish Highlands in 1743.View more Drummond Castle Pictures

DRUMMOND CASTLE

The gardens are protected as a category A listed building – unlike the B listed castle

She meets a young Scottish warrior, Jamie Fraser, and falls for him, leaving her torn between her 18th and 20th century lives.Although the storyline moves to France in the second series, Scotland still provides much of the stunning scenery.Fans of the hit Sony Pictures TV show can follow in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire and visit locations shot in regions such as Dumfries and Galloway, Fife and and The Trossachs.The new map is VisitScotland’s biggest ever guide to Outlander sites, and also includes 18 locations from series one.Drummond Castle Pictures by David Rankin

Outlander castles tour

Blackness Castle(Fort William)

Drummond Castle Gardens (Palace of Versailles) (May – Oct only)

Midhope Castle ( Lallybroch )

Tibbermore Church (Witch Trials)

Hopetoun House (Duke of Sandringham & French scenes S2) (April-Oct)

Tullibardine Chapel (Where Rupert loses his eye)

Culross (Cranesmuir)

Falkland (Inverness)

Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison)

Dysart (Le Harve)

Castle Leoch (Doune)

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Almond Castle video

Just over 300 metres north of Muiravonside Church are the remains of Almond Castle.  The tower castle is in the middle of a derelict site which has been marked for development . The tractors have moved in but it is not clear what the plan is for the site .

Property videos by Photogold .

In 1928 Manuel Brickworks was set up on this site and it expanded rapidly during the 1930’s and 40’s, but local housing struggled to keep pace. Kenneth Sanderson’s book, Stein of Bonnybridge, notes that in the early years “Manuel had no houses,” so John G. Stein’s grandson made repeated trips to Westminster to petition for an allocation of 80 homes. The new village of Whitecross was the result. Tied housing wasn’t unusual in the brick industry: Allandale village was built at the start of the 1920’s to house Stein’s workforce at Castlecary.

Manuel grew decade by decade until there were 20 acres of buildings, a labour force of 1200 people, and over 200,000 tons of bricks were fired each year. The works offices expanded several times, and housed the first computer to be installed in a British brickworks. Steins even wrote their own computer programmes!

Manuel reached its peak in the 1960’s, but fundamental change came when the oxygen steel-making process was introduced: demand for refractories plummeted. In reaction, Steins merged with General Refractories in 1967, then two years later the group was taken over by Hepworth Ceramics. Manuel won the Queen’s Award for Exports in 1987 although by then production had dropped to less than a quarter of its capacity.

The refractory industry was in retreat: Hepworth was taken over by Alpine in 1997, renamed Premier Refractories, then the firm was bought by Cookson in 1999.  Manuel Works was operated by Cookson’s subsidiary Vesuvius until it finally closed in December 2001. Decommissioning began in the New Year.

Sensing an opportunity, Tom Farmer’s firm stepped in.  Morston Assets bought the brickworks in August 2002, then drew up plans for a £150m redevelopment consisting of 1000 houses and half a million square feet of offices. Objectors argued that the proposals went against the intentions of the Local Plan: after much debate, planning approval was refused.

Morston regrouped and tried again. In 2006, they approached financial institutions to raise £1bn to fund their many brownfield projects, including Manuel – but the Great Recession came along in 2007 and the project was placed on hold. Meantime, the giant sheds were leased out to a catering firm, car repairers, a structural steel fabricator and builder’s merchant.

A couple of years later, the scheme re-emerged as a so-called SIRR or Special Initiative for Residential-led Regeneration, and joined the ranks of the SSCI or Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative projects. Cadell2 formulated a masterplan joining the Manuel site and Whitecross village, which now ran to 1500 new houses, 225 of which were classed as “affordable”. The scheme included offices and industrial units, a science park campus, a primary school and new village centre.

The project represents a five-fold increase to Whitecross, which currently consists of around 340 houses and 800 people; despite that, it was allocated in the Falkirk Local Plan in January 2010.

In June 2010, Farmer’s company announced an architectural competition to lay out the first section of the site, which Malcolm Fraser’s practice won in conjunction with Stewart Milne Homes. In parallel, Morston Assets moved forward with the intention of demolishing the brickworks. In October 2010, the masterplan was agreed, and it achieved planning approval in principle in May 2011. Demolition began swiftly afterwards, but that’s as far as the regeneration of Manuel Works has gone.

Four years later, Manuel remains a wasteland of clay, rubble and clinker. When asked about the future of the Whitecross regeneration, neither Morston Assets nor their administrators KPMG had got back to Urban Realm by the time the magazine went to press.
At this point, it’s worth examining the motives of the main players. Cookson were presumably keen to sell the land and rid themselves of its liabilities, such as ongoing security and maintenance, plus eventual remediation. The site includes old fireclay workings and former Haining tip to the north, as well as the former brickworks.

Morston Assets bought the site and took the role of land developer. They planned to remediate the site, gain approvals, construct infrastructure – then invite other developers to build out smaller parcels of land. Falkirk Council saw an opportunity for the regeneration of derelict land, and potentially many new jobs. By allowing a private developer to carry out the regeneration, they minimised the cost to their taxpayers, although they retained some control over it through the planning process.

This was once the principal seat of the Barony of Manuel and, anciently, the castle and its immediate lands were known as Haining. William de Crawfurde de Manuel is on record in 1417. It remained with the Crawford family until the middle of the sixteenth century. William Crawford, the last of the male line, died in or around 1542. He was married to Margaret Livingston and he was survived by their two daughters, Agnes and Margaret. Agnes was married to Thomas Livingston, third son of Alexander, Lord Livingston of Callendar and, Margaret once she came of age, sold her half to Agnes in 1551. The estate was held by this branch of the Livingstons until the middle of the seventeenth century. Sir James Livingston, the younger son of Alexander, Lord of Callendar and Earl of Linlithgow acquired the lordship of the castle and lands sometime around 1640. He had been honoured with the title of Lord Almond by King Charles I in 1633 for his past services and, as was not uncommon, his title became attached to the property. A writ of 1694 has ‘Hayning now called Almond’. After the forfeiture of the Livingstons of Callendar in 1716 the castle and lands were held by the York Buildings Company until they were purchased by William Forbes in 1783.

The castle appears to have been first built as a tower-house in the fifteenth century by the Crawford family; the surviving part is that earliest structure. Major additions were made in the sixteenth century superficially transforming it into a mansion house. By the time it came into the hands of Forbes it was uninhabited and ruinous. In recent decades the ruin has survived within the work premises of Stein’s of Manuel.  The recent closure of the works and the planned redevelopment of the area offers hope for repair and stabilisation of the castle in the future.

Information about Almond Castle provided by the Falkirk Local Historical Society