Susan Calman loves her tours of Scotland uncovering secrets for her Channel 5 TV series, ‘Secret Scotland with Susan Calman’. This time she was in Aberdeenshire and Angus. She began with a visit to Glamis Castle, the much-loved family home of Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Susan could not miss the chance to see Scotland’s tallest sundial while she was there, Continue reading
In the extraordinary world of Scottish historic sundials, the supreme sundial monument stands at Glamis Castle. It is the tallest and grandest sundial and is in the grounds of one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland. In August 2020 a TV crew were filming there for a future series. They asked Alastair Hunter to Continue reading
Summer Solstice 2020 in Edinburgh was a day of beautiful sunshine. What could be a better time to show off our Dihelion dual sundial, which can read the solstice and the equinox seasons and the daytime hours. Shifting patterns of sunlight and shadow and petals of the sunflower show through so clearly. There is a lovely Continue reading
The sundial obelisk at Drummond Castle in Perthshire has a long and distinguished history. It has its place in the architecture of the ancient castles and houses in Scotland. It is connected with the very earliest days of the British Sundial Society (BSS). And it is one of the most important free-standing sundials in the British Isles from the early 1600s still surviving.
In 2017 after almost four hundred years outdoors the sundial was showing serious signs of the stone deteriorating. The whole structure was feared to be unsound. Making it safe had become urgent. Continue reading
It is lovely when a new sundial and a new design of garden full of flowers go hand in hand. Very often a sundial finds itself a little out of place standing on its own, but look what happens when it fits into a whole design and planting scheme of a colourful garden. Continue reading
Restoration of ancient stone sundials in Scotland can be very successful. As a latest example, a multi-faceted sundial at Nunraw, East Lothian, was found in poor condition in the garden of a private estate where it stands. It has now been restored to full working order and looks spectacular. The restoration was completed in June 2019.
This sundial belongs to the great era of Scottish sundials in the 17th and 18th centuries. It consists of three multi-faceted stones with a total of 34 separate dials. Continue reading
Summer has come and days are warmer—holidays are round the corner—but longer days are here no longer… Well, it is past summer solstice already! It is true the days are shortening now in the northern hemisphere. But when will the days get longer again? This is a technical puzzle. Like everything solar and astronomical there is no easy answer to the question.
Each year in December the media speak about the shortest day and then go on to say the mornings will still get darker. They are correct but how can this be? I thought I ought to clarify the question for myself if I could. It probably will not relieve anyone’s confusion by starting with a graph, so I have put my own study of the shortest day into an article for The British Sundial Society.
It has turned out a longer read than I expected—A study of the shortest day, Alastair Hunter. BSS Bulletin Volume 31(ii) June 2019
The sundial at Drummond Castle in Perthshire is the earliest of the distinctive style of sundials in Scotland. It dates from 1630. Three years ago it was removed from the garden for major repairs and conservation work. This restoration is now complete and the sundial stands tall in its glory again.
A sundial reinstatement ceremony was held on Sunday 23rd June 2019 at 11.00 am. Continue reading
Nineveh in Mesopotamia is one of the oldest trading cities in the world. Sitting next to the Tigris river it lay at the cross-roads of trade routes to north, south, east and west. The ancient site is now Mosul in modern day Iraq. In 2019, it was a surprise to find the name of Nineveh carved on a historic stone sundial in the south of Scotland, which was to be restored. Continue reading
Sundial restoration is always interesting. Each case is different. Sometimes the sundial is historic and may need research. An eye for sculpture shapes and architecture is useful. There can be tricky calculations of geometry. The right use of materials and surface patination comes into it. And of course every restoration has to make the sundial work and read the time in sunshine.
The photo shows one of the dials on the monumental sundial in the walled garden at Saughton Park in Edinburgh. Continue reading