Thursday, June 5, 2008

Final Report Card

Having made it back to Houston, I have some time to catch-up with the events of our whirlwind trip. As always it was not possible to fit everything in, but as well as the visits already reported, we were able to meet several members of the MBHS, and visit the memorial.

Evelyn and Colin very kindly opened their home, which has a wonderful panoramic view of Barra hill

On my first visit I met John Pirie, who was the inspiration behind the memorial.
He brought several aerial pictures, and was able to provide details of the original location of Bruce’s Seat (pre 1950s), and the location of the rock pile where it lay for half a century, before being rescued by the MBHS.
We were able to view the locations, through Colin’s binoculars, from the comfort of the living-room. Colin also directed us to a website where it is possible to “zoom – in” and view Barra hill in great detail.
The conversation roamed over a wide range of topics, about which John was a mine of information.

The second visit allowed us to meet Doug Smith, Jenny Beber and Jim Presley, all of whom were involved in making the memorial possible.
We had a very stimulating conversation on the battle and the numerous other MBHS projects, past and present.
Doug also recounted his memories of moving the stone figures, from Bourtie Kirk yard to inside the Kirk, during the 1950s. (More of that in a later post).
We also discovered that Jim’s sister lives close to us in the Tomball area, near Houston.But, “nae man can tether time nor tide”, and we had to say our farewells and head back to Aberdeen

On Saturday we visited my son Graeme’s new flat, in Aberdeen, and then brought him out to Meldrum, where we got our first close-up view of the memorial.This was followed by a visit to Haddo House, and then lunch, with Graeme, Neil and their Mum at Lochter outdoor activity centre.

Our trip was closed out with a visit to my parents in Forfar, where we had a mini family reunion,
I took the opportunity to visit the site of another little known, but significant battle; Nechtansmere, which is located close to Dunnichan, and was the site of a decisive Pictish victory over the Nothumbrians in 685. I was a little disappointed that the centennial memorial was looking a little shabby. I hope future Meldrum generations will sustain the work of the present MBHS.

On the way back to Aberdeen we visited a dreich, wet and windswept Dunnoter castle

Thanks to everyone who made this a wonderful trip.

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