Tales Twisted in Time

On Thursday evening, myself and my two friends (Katie and Katy, just to confuse things) ventured on a Dark Dundee walking tour.

We had chosen to go on their least dark tour Twisted in Time as we wanted to know more information about Dundee’s history that we could use in our classes (and social studies assignment) and if this would be a suitable thing to use as a class trip. The Dark Dundee tour guides said whilst we were walking they had only worked with secondary school pupils before, giving them not only the tales and facts they know about Dundee’s history but also knowledge about travel and tourism and running a business. They showed great interdisciplinary learning ideas but sadly they had never worked with primary schools. However, before we were even half way round the tour, the three of us had decided this would be a fantastic trip to do with children, if the tour guides would have a younger class and miss some parts of the stories out to keep it PG. We felt as a group, children would be much more engaged in this than going round a museum. Katie and I had previously already said, that although there would be a lot you could do, we would find a trip to the McManus Galleries (Rennie, 2017) hard to plan for and managed therefore at our stage of development we would not take a class there. On the other hand, we definitely felt we could take a class easily on a Dark Dundee walking tour.

Why did we decide this? To the tour, we go.

The Twisted in Time tour took us on a walking tour around things: statues, plaques, streets, in Dundee which I knew nothing about, things that I have never even

noticed in Dundee before but are all critical in the history of Dundee. As we walked around these different spots, the Dark Dundee tour guides, told us the famous tales that had been slightly twisted over time but took those tales back to what they could prove to be true.

We started at the tour at the Dragon statue in the city centre. The tour began here as this statue is actually Twisted in Time itself. The Dragon came to be here after the tale of the nine daughters of a Dundonian farmer. The farmer had sent one of his daughters to the well to get water one evening, after a while when the daughter never came back, he sent another of his daughters to find out what was going on, this continued until all nine daughters never came back. The farmer then went down to the well to see a serpent at the well and all nine of his daughter dead. The farmer, alongside one of his daughter’s lover, Martin and the rest of the town, went to find and kill the serpent. The town tried to drown the serpent but this did not harm the serpent eventually the crowd yelled for Martin to slay the serpent with the club he had. This apparently took place on Strathmartine Road in Dundee and it has been named after Martin striking the ‘dragon’ which killed his lover and her sisters.

The tour continued down to Castlehill. Yes there is no Castle or Hill in Dundee city centre, you are right. However, well before the city centre was what it is today, there was apparently a castle situated on a very high hill which was incredibly difficult to attack. The castle was eventually ordered to be torn down by the old town mayor. The rubble and remnants created Castle Street. Along Castle street, the site of the first known pub in Dundee, The Lion Tavren, was situated along one Dundee’s old, narrow, windy streets – the layout of old Dundee was vaguely shown on a very old plaque on the side.

 

 

 

The plaque showing the old and current streets of Dundee on the old Castlehill, now known as Castle Street.

 

 

Listening intently at the site of Dundee’s first known Pub.

 

 

 

 

Further down Shore Terrace, which was where the River Tay used to flow to, we learnt about Greasy Johnny and the Whale. A humpback whale once was spotted in Scotland, many people tried to kill and claim the whale but eventually the whale was auctioned off. Greasy Johnny outbid an Aberdeen University Professor, John Wood who wanted to dissect the whale, to have the whale. Johnny, made a business out of the Whale by keeping it in a warehouse, selling tickets to people, at least 10,000 on the first day alone, to view the whale. After the whale was clearly dead, Johnny invited Professor John Wood to Dundee to dissect the whale as he could sell more tickets for people to view the dissection of the whale. After the whale was dissected and all that was left was the whale skin, Greasy Johnny took the skin on a trailer around the country, getting yet more money for people to see the skin of the humpback whale. 

 

We were lead up to St Paul’s Cathedral in the city centre were the tour unpicked the plaque that states William Wallace started the battle for Independence here. The guides said it was an over exaggerated claim. What is supposed to have happened is Wallace stabbed and murdered a governor’s son, Selby, after an argument at school. Wallace left Dundee and hid out in Perth before he was returned to Siege of Dundee, hailed a hero as he got rid of King Edward and his troops from Scotland. 

A final memorable tale, was about the witch, Grissell Jaffery, who was supposedly burnt alive at the Seagate on this cross. There are two mosaics down one of the closes where the memorial plaque is, one of fire and one of water to symbolise that they tried to drown Grissell which did not work and then burnt her as the last known witch in Dundee.

The plaque and fire mosaic at the close remember Grissell Jaffery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tour ended with Grissell’s death. Both the tour guides gave fantastic accounts of historic Dundonian tales. This was a highly engaging way to learn about different stories of Dundee. I think older primary classes, perhaps primary 6 or 7, would thoroughly enjoy this experience compared to a museum or learning from textbooks. This can meet a lot of the experiences and outcomes in People, Past Events and Society, particularly SOC 2-03a and SOC 2-10a in People, Place and Environment (Scottish Government, 2009). Being able to walk around and physically be at the sites, see the plaques, mosaics and statues made the tales far more interesting in my opinion than seeing photographs or reading the stories. The three of us felt that children would take a lot more in from being on a Dark Dundee tour than being in a museum or the guides coming into the class to do a talk about the history of Dundee. This allows them, through active learning, to see different kinds of sources regarding Dundee’s history to build a picture and story of Dundee from the earliest years (the guides suggested the earliest story they knew they could place between the year 0 and 1000) to bring this back to the what they know as the present, for example from Castlehill to Castle Street. Again, this can help them meet different social studies outcomes such as SOC 2-01a.

After the Twisted in Time tour, the three of us decided we would definitely go on another and recommend the Dark Dundee tours. The guides were fantastics, the stories were entertaining and the whole evening was engaging and interesting to learn about the history in different way. This post has merely been a brief overview of the tour and if you wanted to hear the full stories, more tales and learn about Dundee’s history I would recommend going on one of their tours. We are considering their special event in Claypotts Castle next!

A video of my experience of the walking tour!

References: 

Scottish Government (2009) Curriculum for Excellence: Social Studies Experiences and Outcomes Available at: https://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/social-studies-eo.pdf (Accessed on: 06/10/17)

A Changing City.

Today, I drove from my parents house, where I have grown up for the last 21 years, in Portlethen through Aberdeen City to other other side of Aberdeenshire heading to Inverurie. Now although I have been to Inverurie before and out in this general direction, it is not a direction I usual travel in and an area of Aberdeenshire I am unfamiliar with.

Within the Social Studies Experiences and Outcomes, ‘local environment’ and ‘my/our community’ are reoccuring words throughout early to second level in the People, Place and Environment section (Scottish Government 2009, Pp. 6-11). However, as I have said in a previous blog post (Rennie, 2017a), I spent my summer this year, 2017, traveling Scotland seeing a variety of different landmarks and also traveling further such as New York, Paris, Berlin and Dublin. I have also spent the last three years, exploring a variety of different places in and around Dundee whilst I have been at university. The days I have spent exploring these various sites, such as Kirriemuir’s Neverland park (Rennie, 2017b), Crombie and Monikie Park (Rennie, 2017c), McManus Gallery (Rennie, 2017d) and Dundee in general (Rennie, 2017e), have been amongst my favourite days in Dundee. I always have a great day when I am out exploring somewhere new with friends. It has left me feeling very at home in Dundee but also as if I know more about Dundee than my home town lately.

This has left me with a wonderful sense of wanderlust and a desire to know more about our planet. On the other hand, it has meant I have neglected my home town. As I drove this route today, I realise how little I really knew about Aberdeen now. Aberdeen had been a city in which any kind of development never really occurred in as I grew up. As a city, we rejected new plans for the Union Terrace Gardens revival (BBC News, 2012) and have been waiting 17 years for a new football stadium (Say No to Kingsford Stadium, 2016), in my opinion, the place was slowly fading away due to the recession and Aberdonians’ unwillingness for change. Today, despite this, it is no longer the case. We still have not accepted plans for a new Union Terrace Gardens or football stadium but there is currently the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route development with sections slowly opening (Transport Scotland, 2017) and others well underway (Transport Scotland, No Date) and a new Exhibition and Conference Centre being built (Evolves, No Date).

On my way home from my course in Inverurie, I noticed as I drove along, there were so many tourist attraction signs for places I never even knew existed. I drove past them without even thinking until I past a sign for a Castle Trail. I thought to myself after passing it, that would have been very interesting for my social studies elective. In class, we had been looking at trails around the university campus in small groups, we were asked to create a trail. My group had opted to do a trail of places for relaxation or time out around the campus, we found places of nature such as the two university gardens or the mini bandstand gardens, the gym, the pool, the tennis courts and DUSA the union. Following this idea and to reconnect to my own home town, after passing the sign, I told myself I would stop at the next tourist attraction and look around.

Unsurprisingly with my luck, the only other tourist information on my route home, was a hotel. I am not sure this would have been of any interest to my social studies elective. Therefore, I decided once I was home and I still hadn’t been on any kind of trail or got to know my city any better that I would look into the castle trail sign that I had saw. Unknown to me, this castle trail took in all of the castles in Aberdeenshire. In 21 years, I had only visited 5 of the 18 on the trail (Visit Scotland, 2016). My favourite castle, Dunnottar Castle, was on this trail and I still had no idea it existed.

I felt adamant that I would not find another castle like Dunnottar, it is simply stunning scenery. However, I am ready to go and explore and see some more beautiful castles. Therefore, when I am home next weekend, I will go on a drive to one of the the other castles I have not seen on the trail to explore my city a little bit more. There will be another post, very soon, about my exploration and the castle I chose!

References:

BBC News (2012) Timeline: Aberdeen’s City Garden Project Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-19332252 (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Evolves (No Date) AECC Evolves Available at: http://www.aeccevolves.co.uk/ (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Rennie, K. (2017) A Summer of Scottish Studies Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/krennieuodeportfolio/2017/09/30/a-summer-of-scottish-studies/ (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Rennie, K. (2017b) Take Me to Neverland Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/krennieuodeportfolio/2017/01/21/take-me-to-neverland/ (Accessed on: 06/10/17)

Rennie, K. (2017c) Take a Wonder Into The Woods Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/krennieuodeportfolio/2016/11/02/take-a-wonder-into-the-woods/ (Accessed on: 06/10/17)

Rennie, K. (2017d) To Trip or Not To Trip: The McManus Gallery Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/krennieuodeportfolio/2016/10/21/to-trip-or-not-to-trip-the-mcmanus-gallery/ (Accessed on: 06/10/17)

Rennie, K. (2017e) History and Literacy Outdoors! Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/krennieuodeportfolio/2015/12/03/history-and-literacy-outdoors/ (Accessed on: 06/10/17)

Say No to Kingsford Stadium (2016) Aberdeen FC and the ‘New Stadium’ – A History of Propaganda, Myth and Failure Available at: http://www.nokingsfordstadium.org.uk/2016/08/12/aberdeen-fc-and-the-new-stadium-a-history-of-propaganda-myth-and-failure/ (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Visit Scotland (2016) Scotland’s Castle Trail: Explore Aberdeenshire Available at: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/media/10248/scotlandscastletrail.pdf (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Scottish Government (2009) Curriculum for Excellence Social Studies Experiences and Outcomes Edinburgh: Scottish Government

Transport Scotland (2017) AWPR – New South Section Bridge Set to Open Permanently Available at https://www.transport.gov.scot/news/awpr-new-south-section-bridge-set-to-open-permanently/ (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

Transport Scotland (No Date) Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route – Balmedie to Tipperty Available at: https://www.transport.gov.scot/projects/aberdeen-western-peripheral-route-balmedie-to-tipperty/aberdeen-western-peripheral-route-balmedie-to-tipperty/ (Accessed on: 30/9/17)

My Journey to University of Dundee

I am Kim Rennie at the University of Dundee studying an MA (Hons) in Education. I decided to do this course in my third year at academy, after I went to my local primary school on work experience week. Before the work experience, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as I had many different options and careers paths that I thought I would enjoy. However, my work experience in third year was incredibly: I had a lot of fun working with the children and felt I learnt a lot from the teachers supporting me whilst in the classroom. This settle my decision that I wanted to be a primary teacher. Therefore, I went back to the same primary school in my sixth year twice a week, once in a primary 6 class and once in a primary 2/3 class. Throughout the year, there was not any point that I thought I was bored, each time was a different experience, with new challenges, experience and things to learn. The variety was what I thoroughly enjoyed.

To secure a place in at the University of Dundee as an undergraduate in education, personally meant a lot to me. I believe I haven’t worked more for anything than to secure a university place. I committed fully to getting my grades and experience since third year and it all paid off. Starting has a university student has made me grow up and take a lot more responsibility for myself and my studies. However, I think being an undergraduate in education has made me grow up more than any other course would, it has made me think about: my actions and the consequences; being a professional; acting in an appropriate way; my ethics and morals.

I believe even though it was a lot of hard work to get here, so far university has changed my life and I am grateful for all the hours I put in to get here. I am making the same commitment to my degree, to commit the full amount of time, effort, hard work and professionalism to achieve my goals.

My goal is to be able to engage fully with my degree to come out of university with a high standard of knowledge and profession attitude to be able to teach children and make a difference to any children I meet throughout my career as a primary teacher in an imaginative and creative way. I want to take all experiences possible whilst at university, to take away something from everything I engage in. Whilst on placement, I wish to be able to take away invaluable experience and to learn from the other teachers around me. In my opinion, children are at the heart of education and they are the reason we are there. I feel as if I am able to make a positive difference in even one child’s life as a teacher then it will be worthwhile.