Grand Structures of History
In 1915 the chapel was cleaned and had a protective coating added. In 1950 the roof was then coated with a layer of asphalt to conserve it. This method was used on many older buildings during this time period. Unfortunately, what the conservationists of the early 1900’s didn’t know was that this would ultimately cause more damage than it would prevent. In 1995 it was discovered that the earlier conservation methods had caused water to become trapped inside the stone, which allowed a destructive green algae to grow on the interior. This, ultimately, caused a great deal of damage to the chapel’s interior.
In 2004 the chapel was a major point of interest in Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’, causing a great increase in the number of visitors to this, once grand, chapel. This has allowed the chapel to become the subject of yet another restoration. It will be truly spectacular when finished.
While there Zane, Darian and Kerry were blessed enough to be able to sit inside for part of a service... just lovely!
Next, it was time to head back to North Berwick for a visit to the ‘Scottish Seabird Centre’, in search of puffins and gannets. We stopped in on the local fish and chip shop for some fresh fish and chips. Yum! When we were here last year Carol enjoyed a piece of fish here and loved it. We couldn’t resist giving it a go this time and were definitely not disappointed. Thanks mum!
Once at the Seabird Centre we paid £24.90 for 2 adults & 2 children (2@ £7.95 2@ £4.50) to go down into the bass rock observatory. There were loads of gannets on the rock this time. It looked completely white from a distance because of the mass of birds on it. Darian managed to find a few puffins with the viewing cameras. Such a sweet bird! The boys got a treat of a £2 mood ring each for being so super about the trip. They have been amazing!
On the way back to camp we stopped off at ‘Dirleton Caslte’ , another castle covered by our English Heritage cards. It was similar, in many ways, to Linlithgow Palace. Surrounded by a massive landscaped garden it is a huge tribute to history. It was built in the late 1200’s by John De Vaux and was at the centre of constant ownership disputes between the Scots and the English during their historic wars of the 1200’s and 1300’s, being taken over again and again by each country. It was Robert the Bruce who finally put an end to the hostile take overs after the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when he partly destroyed it. After being slowly rebuilt over the next 100 years by the Halyburtons and used for some time as a private estate it was finally destroyed during the time of Oliver Cromwell, in 1651, when it was used as a military base and, ultimately, blown up by canons.
Many of its original walls are still intact, along with an old Dovecote. It’s easy to close your eyes and imagine grand banquets as you stand on top in the Great Hall where the original fireplace and walls still remain. What a place!