Yesterday we went on a family outing to Scone Palace. This was the first time that any of us had ventured onto these hallowed grounds. Scone of course is the site of the place where Scottish Kings were once upon a time formally crowned. The palace is a much later creation and for centuries has been owned by the Murray family, aka the Earls of Mansfield, Viscounts of Stormont, Lords of Balvaird and of course plain old Lords of Scone. Quite a successful family. Scone palace is still the family home, so only part of the building is open to the public. Big rooms with lots of tables and china and big paintings on display. Alas you are not allowed to take photos inside, so you will have to take my word for it. Here though is a photo of the outside, and a pretty impressive building it is too.The palace has extensive grounds open to the public so there is plenty to see and do outside. The star attraction is of course the Stone of Destiny itself. The place where the Kings of Scotland were crowned. The royal personnage sat on the stone, out in the open, to be crowned. The stone lay on a little mound, formerly known as Caislean Credi or Hill of Credulity, but now known as Moot Hill. In 1296 Edward 1 of England captured the Stone and removed it to Westminster Abbey where it remained until 1996 when it was returned to Scotland and its current home in Edinburgh Castle. The mound was still used for crowning the Kings of Scotland and Robert the Bruce was one of many Kings to be crowned there in 1306. Charles 11 was the last king to be crowned at Scone in 1651. Here it is, a replica of course.
The village of Scone used to lie in what are now the grounds of the palace, but the whole village was moved a few miles away to become New Scone. All that remains is this fine Mercat Cross.In the grounds of the palace there are all kinds treasures to enthrall the visitor. When we visited, the place was full of autumn colour as you can see from the photos below.
A particularly impressive feature is this fine specimen of a Douglas-fir, which was planted as a seed from British Columbia in 1826. The name Douglas-fir was given to this tree to honour the Scottish botanist David Douglas who came from Scone. The following photo is a detail of the knobbly bark.Another of the attractions is a lovely maze laid out in the shape of a star. The first photo shows part of the maze from the viewing bridge and the second shows the lovely sculpture in the fountain in the middle of the maze. We alas could not find our way to the centre and as it had started to rain we gave up.The grounds are also home to various kinds of animals and birds. These include a wonderful collection of peacocks, including the rare white peacock. Here are some to savour.Beautiful and graceful though the peacocks are, our hearts were stolen by a group of Highland cows, peacefully munching away in the rain. One came right up to us and what a beautiful creature she was too. So we say farewell to Scone Palace with these photos of our very own Highland cows.