ISSUE 11, October 2004
Elias Ashmole: Masonic Icon
Travel: The magical beauty of Scotland
Honoured: By the Glovers' livery company
The Theatre: Strong links between Craft and stage
Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Mauritius: Fascinating Masonic history
Rochester Cathedral: Kent Masons' magnificent fresco
Clerkenwell: 25 years of Masonry
  Bravery award: One Mason's heroism is honoured
Christmas shopping: What to buy in London's West End
High flight: Helping terminally ill children
Jewels of the Craft: An essential part of Masonry
Library & Museum: John Pine exhibition and Library & Museum Trust report
Masonic education: Events for Masons; Quatuor Coronati Lodge; Mentors for new Masons
Charities: Masons provide emergency aid for flood victims; Charity news; Demelza gives voice
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Magical Scotland

Natasha Blair travels with a friend around Scotland visiting both the Highlands and the Lowlands, discovering its magical beauty.

Glorious Ben Nevis

With the advent of the low-cost airline, getting to Scotland by air can now be a very cheap way of visiting the country. Because we wanted to maximise seeing as much as possible, while at the same time having a break, we organised the trip so that we started off in a relaxed fashion.
     This we did by going directly to the Borders, namely Peebles. One of the interesting things about Scotland, as well as its scenery, is its lack of people. It boasts 10m sheep, 2m cattle and just 5m people.
     About a 40-minute drive from Edinburgh, Cringletie House, set in 28 acres, is an ideal place to chill out. Recently under new ownership, money has been spent on making it stylish, but comfortable, with facilities for wheelchair access.
     Built in the 19th century, the mansion is typical of Scottish baronial-style architecture, complete with its own walled vegetable garden. A real perk is its proximity to Stobo Castle health spa, for which Cringletie has a special arrangement so that guests can enjoy its facilities.
     I was impressed by the 25m ozone-treated pool as, after a swim, I didn’t come out smelling of chlorine. I also benefited from the many treatments on offer with a relaxing facial.
     Nearby, too, is Dawyck Botanic Garden, a woodland garden with over 300 years of tree planting, which is famous for its collection of trees and shrubs. For golfers, the Borders operates a ‘Freedom of the Fairways’ scheme of three days £65 or five days £90, which gives access to 18 of the 21 golf courses in the area. Apparently the courses, which include some championship ones, are never that busy, so it is comparatively easy to get a tee time.
     We also visited Traquair, part of which dates back to the 11th century, and said to be the oldest inhabited house in Scotland. It is presently the family home of the Maxwell Stuarts, including Catherine, 21st Lady of Traquair.
     You are able to wander around the rooms, many of which are much less prepossessing than one usually sees when visiting stately homes. They also have their own private chapel, a maze, and a working brewery, with tasting of the ales in the gift shop. Mary, Queen of Scots was a visitor to Traquair, and her rosary and crucifix are in the museum on the top floor, accessed by a narrow winding staircase. What is quite novel, is that there are three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, where you can stay on a bed-and-breakfast basis.