Cambuskenneth’s lost harbour

The 12th century ruins of the Augustinian Abbey at Cambuskenneth (central Scotland) are often overlooked for the more impressive remains at Stirling Castle and currently sit in a quiet, sleepy village cut-off from main motorway networks. Yet for centuries Cambuskenneth was at the heart of Scotland’s government, it held Robert The Bruce’s baggage train during the Battle of Bannockburn and hosted his first post-Bannockburn parliament.  It is also the final resting place of King James III.

The Abbey is in a loop of the River Forth and as befitted its status it had its own road network and harbour, all of which fell into disuse following the reformation. Read more.

Muscovite sheets

Muscovite is a mica mineral dominated by aluminum in its structure. Mica minerals have some very neat properties – they have strong bonds between silicon and oxygen atoms that extend outwards in 2 directions, but only weak bonds between big potassium ions in the third direction. Mica minerals like muscovite are therefore extremely strong in 2 dimensions and weak in the third; they can be peeled off in very thin, transparent sheets, like those seen here.

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A summer gale was blowing up, so Algy flew over to a sheltered spot he knew, where a large mass of rock provided an excellent windbreak for the prevailing south-westerlies. Winter gales, spring gales, summer gales… and soon, no doubt, autumn gales. It seemed as though the wind had almost never stopped blowing this year - and the rain had rarely stopped raining. Algy gazed at the washed-out landscape as the mist swept in yet again, and wondered whether summer would ever return to the wild West Highlands…