1. Why is the motto of Clackmannanshire “Look aboot ye”? The story goes that when Robert the Bruce was visiting the area (Clackmanan Tower was once the property of the Bruce family) he lost a glove while out hunting. It is not clear whether this strange motto was said by the king or to the king, but one story goes that, not one to let a good glove go to waste, he sent one of the party back for it saying, “Look aboot ye.” The other story is that the king asked where his glove had gone and some witty person replied, “Look aboot ye.” Whatever the true tale, this phrase now makes a tidy slogan to bring in tourists.
2. “How pleasant the banks of the clear winding Devon, / With green spreading bushes and flow’rs blooming fair! / But the boniest flow’r on the banks of the Devon / Was once a sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr.” Scotland’s own poet, “Rabbie Burns”, wrote these words after a visit to the wee county. Read the full song here.
3. In 1563 Mary, Queen of Scots attended a wedding at Castle Campbell in Dollar Glen. And the truly amazing part? We’re still talking about it in 2012.
4. The town of Alloa was once a famous brewing center, home to at least nine breweries which brewed all manner of ales and “Graham’s Golden Lager”. Today only one brewery remains, Williams Brothers.
7. Do you have fond memories of Snoopy hunting downt he Red Baron in his trust Sopwith Camel? During WWI there was an aircraft factory near Alloa Harbour that built real Sopwith Camels, and during WWII a local engineering company made parts for planes and submarines.
|Heather Ale, a photo by Dick Edie on Flickr.|
8. If you’re in this part of the world long enough you’ll probably hear about Fraoch Heather Ale. It is produced in Alloa by the aforesaid Williams Brothers and it is unique in that it is brewed, not with hops, but with heather flowers. This is a prehistoric recipe, a tradition handed down for hundreds of generations, and is probably the oldest style of ale in the world that can still be purchased at random Whole Foods stores. Read a detailed appearance/smell/taste/mouthfeel report here, buy your own, or–if you’ve got some heather tips and Irish moss on hand–make your own!
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