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The Lothians Unveiled

Lothian Ancient Sites Explorer Days

Tours available: April – October 2019 on Saturdays and Sundays.

These days can be booked by contacting us for available dates.

You will require your own transport for these tours, minimum 4 guests per tour. 

If you are part of a larger group, please get in contact and we can organise travel arrangements for you.

 

Highlights

  • A  full explore and explanation of the significance and role of Cairnpapple Hill a very important Neolithic ceremonial site over 4000 years old.  The sites has commanding views over the whole of the central belt of Scotland and has clearly been strategically placed, find out why.
  • An investigation of Torphichen Preceptory, founded in the 11th century and home of the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem a group wholly distinct from the Knights Templar. 
  • A fascinating insight into these Knights and their who forsook all, but became some of the most powerful and wealthy men in Medieval Europe. 
  • The Preceptory is said to be built over a very ancient site including a manmade island and causeway; Grahame will explain the significance of the siting of these structures.   Within the precincts of the Preceptory is a neolithic standing stone and marking the boundaries of the three kilometre square sanctuary area surrounding the Preceptory marked by refuge stones.  
  • Explore the ancient church of Abercorn linked with St Ninian as far back as 400AD.  There is an ancient yew grove outside the church grounds and many interesting and wonderful early gravestones in the churchyard.  There are many ancient stones including a Viking hog back stone, an ancient and special place.
  • Discover the delights of an award winning farm shop.

These tours are led by Grahame Gardener a specialist in archaeoastronomy and geomancy with him you will explore the full meaning of these powerful sites and hosted by Sarah Ewing.

 

Full Itinerary

 

Meet at 10:30 at Linlithgow train station car park.  

Next we move onto the dominantly located Cairnpapple Hill with its ancient Neolithic henge and Bronze Age burial cist.  Cairnpapple commands incredible views over the entire central belt of Scotland from Ailsa Craig in the west and the peaks of the Isle of Arran in the Hebrides on a very clear day to Berwick Law in the eastern sea from Schiehallion, the fairy mountain in the Northern hills to the borderlands to the South.  Around 3800BC Cairnpapple was used for ritual and for living, but 1000 years later the site shifted to be come a burial place. Grahame will explore with you the reasons for this change in use. He will guide you around the site, explaining the relevance of it’s siting and its importance and explain the significant alignments that run from the site. 

We will then move on to the next exciting destination Torphichen Preceptory, where in 1132 the Knights Hospitaller were given a charter to build a church, a truly fascinating place.  Grahame, your guide will explain the architecture of the church and its placement geomantically (from a feng shui perspective).  There is a tradition that there is an older church on which the Hospitaller built the site, which is associated with King Arthur visiting here in the 6th Century.  The Preceptory was also home to William Wallace and King of England Edward I as part of its long history.  It seems this was a place of power and Grahame will explain why!

One of the incredible Torphichen Sanctuary Stones

After a delicious lunch we move on to our final destination the atmospheric Abercorn Church.  Set just above the shores of the Firth of Forth, it feels ancient before you even step in the church.  The earliest records of the site are a visit from St Ninian in the late 400s and then later as a monastery in the 7th century founded by Lindisfarne Priory and the earliest parts of the present building date back to the 12th century.  The graveyard contains many early gravestones which are fascinating to explore.  The place has a very special feel to and Grahame will help explain this important ancient site from a geomatic perspective.

This is a fascinating day tour where you will gain insight into these places from a very different perspective as to what the guide books tell you!  We look forward to seeing you.

Yew grove at Abercorn

Early Carved Stone at Abercorn

Abercorn church detail

Neolithic Standing Stone at Torphichen

Early gravestone

Pricing and Booking

 

The total cost of this day tour is £75 per person, pick up is from Linlithgow train station, if you do not have your own transport.

If you are part of a larger group, please get in contact and we can organise travel arrangements for you.

Dates available at present are 19th May, 2nd June and 8th/9th June.  Please specify which date you are booking for on the confirmation page.

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What is included in the tour?

  • Personally guided tour with a specialist guide
  • Intimate tour group
  • A delicious lunch 
  • Admission to all attractions listed on the tour itinerary

For more details,  please see additional information 

 

Additional Information

Whats included in the tour?

  • Personal full-time tour guides with specialist expert local knowledge
  • Admissions to all attractions listed on the tour itinerary
  • Delicious lunch in a local eatery 

Whats not included in the tour?

  • Travel to the sites (except where by separate negotiation)
  • Expenses before and after the tour
  • Any side trips or excursions guest do outside of the set itinerary
  • Gifts, souvenirs, laundry, cleaning, telephone calls, telexes, faxes, cables, wines, liquors, beer, mineral water, soft drinks and incidental expenditures
  • Porterage – we carry our own bags, always
  • Tips for tour guides, hotel staff

What to bring?

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers, walking pole
  • Sturdy shoes or walking boots

What if the weather is bad?

Scotland is a land of sunshine, mists, wind, rain and anything else it feels like doing.  Conditions can change quickly but tours will not be cancelled due to poor weather.  There might be slightly altered itineraries but tours will still go ahead.  The most important thing is to be prepared for all weather conditions to ensure you are comfortable.  Some of the most amazing photos can be taken just before or after storms the light can be incredibly intense and certainly brings you closer to nature!  Highland locals would say it is possible to experience all four seasons in one day and if you don’t like the weather – just wait 20 minutes!

What is the Cancellation Policy?

Full refund if cancellation is more than a week (7 days) prior to the tour date.

Cancellation 7 days or less from tour date or no show – no refund

All cancellations must be received in writing.