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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Nov, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Mac's trip to Scotland (photos)         Reply with quote

I've recently returned from a most amazing trip to Scotland & Ireland, where I joined Vince & Grace Evans on one of their incredible research & study missions !

Sum 259 years late, 'ol Mac joins one of the MacDonald positions at Culloden Battlefield.
....................................................................................................................................................................................

Here's a list of where we went, and a brief account of what we were up to ! (Edited in from a post below.)

Oct. 13 - Glasgow Museums Resource Center
We were met and assisted by Dr. Tobias Capwell who was absolutely wonderful, helpful, and had a wealth of information to share!
Toby is certainly the right man to help bring the incredible collection at Kelvingrove into the 21st century !
I look forward to the museums reopening in 2006.
We spent the day handling, photographing, and getting the vitals on, some of the treasures that Kelvingrove had in storage there ..... an experience I will not soon forget ! (although I did keep my professional face on I could not totally hide my "kid in a candy store grin" :-)

Oct. 14 - The Burrell Collection & The Hunterian Museum
Again, assisted by Dr.Tobias Capwell.
We spent the morning researching Scottish swords & dirks in the storage rooms beneath the museum. Some really interesting pieces had me scratching my head as to why so many of these awesome items are not up on display ? We spent the second half of the day going through the museum collection , upstairs, as Toby had to depart ! (they have a nice display of medieval swords, and a few cool suits of armour, etc!) After leaving there we took the train back to the city we had just enough time to go visit the Hunterian Museum !
Not alot in the way of swords, etc., but I did take some really good shots of the 3 baskethilts, targe, ballock, that they had on display there ! Alot of other neat stuff is on hand, their old coin collection is really something !

Oct. 15 - Inverness Museum
We took the train up to Inverness (Ah so nice to be in the Hielands again ;-), and after we got settled we just had time to run over to the Inverness Museum and checkout its displays !
A few baskethilts, a few dirks, a targaid or two, and a lot of other neat things !
One surprise was that they had that Scottish singlehand medieval sword there, which was on loan from the Museum of Scotland, so it was awesome to finally see the piece that inspired Vince to make the one I now own. Truly a weapon that belongs on display !

Oct. 16 - Urquhart Castle
Took the bus out to reclaim Castle Urquhart for the MacDonalds (again ;-)
We spent the day exploring this amazing piece of history.
No swords there to speak of, one nice targe, and lots of little artifacts found at the site, etc!
The new visitors center is wonderful .... they did a great job of incorporating it into the hillside.
The little 8 minute movie they show, on the castles history, ends with the curtain opening to a sweeping curved window that dramatically presents Urquhart & Loch Ness in all its splendor. Really stunning !

Oct. 17 - Culloden Battlefield
As Id mentioned earlier, we spent the day of the 17th out at Culloden.
Vince had made arragements with the Museum of Scotland for permission to photograph in the sword room at the Visitors Center, and with the help of director Diedre Smith, we spent quite a bit of time doing just that ! Vince & Grace also got to see the baskethilt & dirk that they had donated to the Center for educational use, a few years back, and study the effects of their consistant use :-). Ms. Smith also was kind enough to let us handle several original pieces that are owned by the Trust and study them as well. Pretty cool !
Walking the battlefield was an incredible experience .... it was very special getting do it with Vince & Grace !

Oct. 18 - The Smith Art Gallery & Museum
Took the morning train to Stirling. Spent the afternoon at The Smith Art Gallery & Museum.
On hand was an awesome signed James Grant baskethilt, a few steel pistols, targaid, dirks, etc!
The also an interesting pole weapon type blade that was found at Bannockburn.
After departing the museum we walked up the hill to the Castle and explored the old graveyard, looking for possible stones of those famous hammermen, the Allans. (No luck :-)

Oct. 19 - Wallace Monument & Stirling Castle
Took a taxi over to the Wallace Monument and did a quick tour of it !
We were hoping that they would have other swords there, besides that famous 16th century attribution to William, but they only had a reproduction of the very same ! I did take some really good closeups of the sword, though, as its interesting regardless of whether William dispatched the English with it , or not !
Next we explored Stirling Castle. Again no real swords to speak of, but the castle was very cool nonetheless ! (* We did notice a feature in the castles construction that may have been an inspiration on an aspect of the Allan/Grant baskethilt screens, as you know those guys probably drew some of their designs from the ordinary things they saw, day to day, around them.)
Near the end of the afternoon we went back to The Smith Gallery and got to talk with its curator Michael MacGinness, who was kind enough to actually pull out the James Grant baskethilt and let us handle & photograph it (as it has always been displayed in its scabbard we were not even sure what type of blade it had .... broadsword :-) Ill be able to post some shots of this one, soon .
Many thanks to Michael, like Toby hes a lot of fun to chat with and you learn quite a bit in the process !

Oct. 20 - The Museum of Scotland
Train to Edinburgh. Spent the afternoon snapping away at the MOS, and studing its many displays!
Most of our time was spent down in the lower level where all the Roman & Viking displays are.
I did eventually wander up into the Jacobite years, and spent quite a bit of time photographing, and rephotographing, various items that I'd missed, or needed to get better detail on, from my previous visit in 2004.

Oct. 21 - MOS Reserve Collection, with Jackie Moran.
Checked in through security with Jackie and got to go down to the basement storage room to pick out a selection of dirks to study, which we than brought upstairs. They had draws full of those babies :-) She also pulled LA 157 off of display (an unmounted inlaid basket by John Allan of Stirling, dated 1731) for us to study, weigh & measure, and of course photograph away on ! Some enlightening construction methods were noted by Vince .... too cool !
The selection of dirks we got to study were just wonderful .... it was interesting comparing just how close Vince & Graces grip was to some of these ! We also had a surprise visit from Dr. David Caldwell, Curator & author, who popped in to say hello, meet Vince & Grace, and spent a few minutes discussing Scottish swords with us! A fine gentleman, indeed !
The rest of the day we spent out in the museum !

Oct. 22 - Edinburgh Castle & The Museum of Edinburgh
Our morning was spent at the castle ... lots of swords & dirks to be seen ! Macs camera was on fire as usual (thank goodness for digital flash cards ;-). Walked the Royal Mile and checked out several antique shops ! Eventually ended up at the citys museum and explored it ! They had one really nice Stirling baskethilt, so I took a bunch of shots of that, and a pretty cool display of Greyfriar Bobbys artifacts !
The remainder of the day was spent going thru the Royal Museum, next door to the MOS, where I shot a bunch of their awesome Japanese swords, etc!

Oct. 23 - Scottish National Portrait Gallery
This was the day we were flying to Dublin, Ireland. We only had time that morning to get a taxi over to Scotland's National Portrait Gallery, on Queen Street, and see all the famous paintings they had on hand ! Than it was off to Edinburgh airport and the hours flight to Dublin !

Oct. 24 - The National Museum of Ireland
The museum was closed on Monday, but we had an appointment to meet Dr. Andy Halpin there, and were able to go inside ! As there was a little mixup in communication only Vince was allowed to go down to the crept and study the two swords hes requested to see (Grace & I were supposed to view their photo achieves but it turned out all that stuff is on computer files there ,and would require someone else to retrieve it, so that was a bust !) But thankfully Vince got to get the information he was seeking and that was the important thing .... mission accomplished !

Oct. 25 - The National Museum of Ireland
Spent the day going thru the museums displays, now that it was actually open, and got to see some pretty amazing pieces !
The Viking & Medieval Irish swords were incredible !
Many of the Viking finds had hilts that were a lot bigger, and thicker, than many of the ones I saw in Scotland ?
I was also surprised by some of the Irish swords proportions as a few were alot sleeker and more streamlined than Id pictured in my head ! Unfortunately the museum did not allow photography, which they are quite strict about, so a great Mac photo opportunity was lost here ! Boo :-(

Oct. 26 - Homeward bound ..... but what an incredible trip it was !
Many thanks to Vince & Grace, and to all the nice folks I met along the way !
Lots of cool photos forthcoming !

Cheers, Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail


Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Sat 12 Nov, 2005 6:51 am; edited 3 times in total
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David Black Mastro




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas,

What was it like, actually being on the Culloden field?

I only ask this because I've felt a certain "presence" in at least one of the old (c. War of 1812) cemeteries here in the U.S.


Just Curious,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Black Mastro wrote:
Thomas,
What was it like, actually being on the Culloden field?
I only ask this because I've felt a certain "presence" in at least one of the old (c. War of 1812) cemeteries here in the U.S.
Just Curious, David


Hi David

It was very emotional !
Although I can't say that I felt any specific "presence" I certainly felt a sense of connection, and sadness, as we walked its hallowed paths !
I starred deeply into the 'Well of the Dead' .... but nothing looked back !
No headache, no sightings, no echo of cannon in my head, just alot of thoughts as to "Why here"?
"What the heck was Charlie thinking" ?
I suppose I also felt a little angry, and would dearly love to be able to rewrite history sometimes .... *sigh* !

We did rub the waters in the field on Vince's dirk handle, and I did use the Well of the Dead's water to bless myself and ask the Lord that everyone that died there find peace, as well as all the wretched rest of us who continue on !








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Alex McCracken




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Mac,

Welcome back... Glad you had the enjoyable, if partly sad trip that
you had there. And thanks much for the pic of the MacLean/MacLachlan
burial cairn. I really, really appreciate it.

Alex

Pray, n:. To ask that the laws of the universe be
annulled in behalf of a single petitioner
confessedly unworthy.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Nov, 2005 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The inevitable question must be asked: which museums did you visit on this trip? Did you make it to England at all?
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
The inevitable question must be asked: which museums did you visit on this trip? Did you make it to England at all?


Hi Nathan

No, we never did get over to England on this trip, as we flew directly in to Glasgow !
Here's a list of where we went, and a brief account of what we were up to !

Oct. 13 - Glasgow Museums Resource Center
We were met and assisted by Dr. Tobias Capwell who was absolutely wonderful, helpful, and had a wealth of information to share!
Toby is certainly the right man to help bring the incredible collection at Kelvingrove into the 21st century !
I look forward to the museums reopening in 2006.
We spent the day handling, photographing, and getting the vitals on, some of the treasures that Kelvingrove had in storage there ..... an experience I will not soon forget ! (although I did keep my professional face on I could not totally hide my "kid in a candy store grin" :-)

Oct. 14 - The Burrell Collection & The Hunterian Museum
Again, assisted by Dr.Tobias Capwell.
We spent the morning researching Scottish swords & dirks in the storage rooms beneath the museum. Some really interesting pieces had me scratching my head as to why so many of these awesome items are not up on display ? We spent the second half of the day going through the museum collection , upstairs, as Toby had to depart ! (they have a nice display of medieval swords, and a few cool suits of armour, etc!) After leaving there we took the train back to the city we had just enough time to go visit the Hunterian Museum !
Not alot in the way of swords, etc., but I did take some really good shots of the 3 baskethilts, targe, ballock, that they had on display there ! Alot of other neat stuff is on hand, their old coin collection is really something !

Oct. 15 - Inverness Museum
We took the train up to Inverness (Ah so nice to be in the Hielands again ;-), and after we got settled we just had time to run over to the Inverness Museum and checkout its displays !
A few baskethilts, a few dirks, a targaid or two, and a lot of other neat things !
One surprise was that they had that Scottish singlehand medieval sword there, which was on loan from the Museum of Scotland, so it was awesome to finally see the piece that inspired Vince to make the one I now own. Truly a weapon that belongs on display !

Oct. 16 - Urquhart Castle
Took the bus out to reclaim Castle Urquhart for the MacDonalds (again ;-)
We spent the day exploring this amazing piece of history.
No swords there to speak of, one nice targe, and lots of little artifacts found at the site, etc!
The new visitors center is wonderful .... they did a great job of incorporating it into the hillside.
The little 8 minute movie they show, on the castles history, ends with the curtain opening to a sweeping curved window that dramatically presents Urquhart & Loch Ness in all its splendor. Really stunning !

Oct. 17 - Culloden Battlefield
As Id mentioned earlier, we spent the day of the 17th out at Culloden.
Vince had made arragements with the Museum of Scotland for permission to photograph in the sword room at the Visitors Center, and with the help of director Diedre Smith, we spent quite a bit of time doing just that ! Vince & Grace also got to see the baskethilt & dirk that they had donated to the Center for educational use, a few years back, and study the effects of their consistant use :-). Ms. Smith also was kind enough to let us handle several original pieces that are owned by the Trust and study them as well. Pretty cool !
Walking the battlefield was an incredible experience .... it was very special getting do it with Vince & Grace !

Oct. 18 - The Smith Art Gallery & Museum
Took the morning train to Stirling. Spent the afternoon at The Smith Art Gallery & Museum.
On hand was an awesome signed James Grant baskethilt, a few steel pistols, targaid, dirks, etc!
The also an interesting pole weapon type blade that was found at Bannockburn.
After departing the museum we walked up the hill to the Castle and explored the old graveyard, looking for possible stones of those famous hammermen, the Allans. (No luck :-)

Oct. 19 - Wallace Monument & Stirling Castle
Took a taxi over to the Wallace Monument and did a quick tour of it !
We were hoping that they would have other swords there, besides that famous 16th century attribution to William, but they only had a reproduction of the very same ! I did take some really good closeups of the sword, though, as its interesting regardless of whether William dispatched the English with it , or not !
Next we explored Stirling Castle. Again no real swords to speak of, but the castle was very cool nonetheless ! (* We did notice a feature in the castles construction that may have been an inspiration on an aspect of the Allan/Grant baskethilt screens, as you know those guys probably drew some of their designs from the ordinary things they saw, day to day, around them.)
Near the end of the afternoon we went back to The Smith Gallery and got to talk with its curator Michael MacGinness, who was kind enough to actually pull out the James Grant baskethilt and let us handle & photograph it (as it has always been displayed in its scabbard we were not even sure what type of blade it had .... broadsword :-) Ill be able to post some shots of this one, soon .
Many thanks to Michael, like Toby hes a lot of fun to chat with and you learn quite a bit in the process !

Oct. 20 - The Museum of Scotland
Train to Edinburgh. Spent the afternoon snapping away at the MOS, and studing its many displays!
Most of our time was spent down in the lower level where all the Roman & Viking displays are.
I did eventually wander up into the Jacobite years, and spent quite a bit of time photographing, and rephotographing, various items that I'd missed, or needed to get better detail on, from my previous visit in 2004.

Oct. 21 - MOS Reserve Collection, with Jackie Moran.
Checked in through security with Jackie and got to go down to the basement storage room to pick out a selection of dirks to study, which we than brought upstairs. They had draws full of those babies :-) She also pulled LA 157 off of display (an unmounted inlaid basket by John Allan of Stirling, dated 1731) for us to study, weigh & measure, and of course photograph away on ! Some enlightening construction methods were noted by Vince .... too cool !
The selection of dirks we got to study were just wonderful .... it was interesting comparing just how close Vince & Graces grip was to some of these ! We also had a surprise visit from Dr. David Caldwell, Curator & author, who popped in to say hello, meet Vince & Grace, and spent a few minutes discussing Scottish swords with us! A fine gentleman, indeed !
The rest of the day we spent out in the museum !

Oct. 22 - Edinburgh Castle & The Museum of Edinburgh
Our morning was spent at the castle ... lots of swords & dirks to be seen ! Macs camera was on fire as usual (thank goodness for digital flash cards ;-). Walked the Royal Mile and checked out several antique shops ! Eventually ended up at the citys museum and explored it ! They had one really nice Stirling baskethilt, so I took a bunch of shots of that, and a pretty cool display of Greyfriar Bobbys artifacts !
The remainder of the day was spent going thru the Royal Museum, next door to the MOS, where I shot a bunch of their awesome Japanese swords, etc!

Oct. 23 - Scottish National Portrait Gallery
This was the day we were flying to Dublin, Ireland. We only had time that morning to get a taxi over to Scotland's National Portrait Gallery, on Queen Street, and see all the famous paintings they had on hand ! Than it was off to Edinburgh airport and the hours flight to Dublin !

Oct. 24 - The National Museum of Ireland
The museum was closed on Monday, but we had an appointment to meet Dr. Andy Halpin there, and were able to go inside ! As there was a little mixup in communication only Vince was allowed to go down to the crept and study the two swords hes requested to see (Grace & I were supposed to view their photo achieves but it turned out all that stuff is on computer files there ,and would require someone else to retrieve it, so that was a bust !) But thankfully Vince got to get the information he was seeking and that was the important thing .... mission accomplished !

Oct. 25 - The National Museum of Ireland
Spent the day going thru the museums displays, now that it was actually open, and got to see some pretty amazing pieces !
The Viking & Medieval Irish swords were incredible !
Many of the Viking finds had hilts that were a lot bigger, and thicker, than many of the ones I saw in Scotland ?
I was also surprised by some of the Irish swords proportions as a few were alot sleeker and more streamlined than Id pictured in my head ! Unfortunately the museum did not allow photography, which they are quite strict about, so a great Mac photo opportunity was lost here ! Boo :-(

Oct. 26 - Homeward bound ..... but what an incredible trip it was !
Many thanks to Vince & Grace, and to all the nice folks I met along the way !
Lots of cool photos forthcoming !

Cheers, Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail


Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Mon 07 Nov, 2005 4:40 pm; edited 20 times in total
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mac,
What an amazing trip. Just to get over to Scotland and see all those museums is something that I will do someday. But, to travel with the Evans', and get into the inner sancta of the museums would have been a rare treat, indeed. And to deal with all of those places, and only experience one snafu (your mention of the Museum of Ireland photo archives), you all must have had angels sitting on your shoulders!

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Eric L.




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indeed an experience of a lifetime, i would love to go to Scotland i love the way the country looks. I was thinking of going this year but it did not happen...one day maybe.
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

my wife and i were tehre on our honeymoon. she said she felt a tad errie or weird when walking around the battlefield. hehehe

nice pics
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Guys !

Here's a few more snaps of some of the fun, in between doing our duty over there, but I promise I'll start adding some swords & stuff next, so don't let the smiling faces fool ya ;-)

Mac














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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

did you get to see blair castle while u were there? huge baskethilt armoury
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chuck Russell wrote:
did you get to see blair castle while u were there? huge baskethilt armoury


Hi Chuck

No, we had to pass on Blair this time as our scheduling was rather tight !
I visited Blair Castle last year, and they do indeed have quite the baskethilt collection !

Mazansky new book 'British Basket Hilted Swords' has numerous photos of some of Blair's extensive collection !

Thanks, Mac

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All of a sudden, I feel thirsty!!

Thomas McDonald wrote:
...Here's a few more snaps of some of the fun,...

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Nov, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, looks like you had a fine time there, Mac. Thanks for the great pics and reports. As Linda and I are planning a 2-week trip to Scotland and Ireland next July, this is really helpfull!!!
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Ron Luciano





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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2005 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Mac! It sounds like you had a terrific time! Tobias really is a nice guy. I too, cannot wait to see the museums reopening. The parts of the collection I saw were spectacular! Take care!

Ron

I have not tarried in long journeys over the surface of the sea, nor have I feared the threats of enemies or wild beasts, O strong leader, Maurice, go well good friend; I discern through such sweetness, the beauties of the country life, a safe return and nobility. Lift high the wine vessel. Such things are worthy of remembrance.

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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2005 5:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mac


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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2005 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Continued ....


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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail


Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Thu 10 Nov, 2005 8:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some medieval swords on display at the Burrell, and a few Scottish pieces from the Hunterian ! Mac


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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sun 06 Nov, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

wow those were great. thanks
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Eric Nower




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PostPosted: Mon 07 Nov, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice!!
May God have mercy on my enemies, for I shall have none.
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