Scotland on Sunday Travel Wishlist – A Scottish Zen garden inspired by a Victorian adventurer’s travels in Japan

From Kyoto to Cowden, Eastern-inspired gardens are places of tranquility

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 10:25 am

Ella Christie in the Japanese Garden she created at Cowden near Dollar in 1908

A vibrant pink lily on the still waters, a lichen palette of green on grey stone, a tame robin and a bounding red squirrel were all magical in their own restful way.This sense of peace is what I remember from visiting Japan. Amid the relentless bustle of the cities there would be an unexpected haven of calm. Kyoto was the garden capital, but Tokyo and Hiroshima had their silent sanctuaries as well.It was in Kyoto that I first encountered the concept of the rock garden, or Karesansui. It was in Ryōan-ji’s Zen garden that I relished the challenge of finding the stones in the seemingly featureless expanse of grey. That step from bigger picture down to detail is a deeply calming experience.And that same feeling envelops me on the slopes of the Ochils. From the grand views across the Forth Valley, through the postcard-perfect scene of the garden itself, down to the water lily.Yet this peaceful garden is the vision of a woman who had a great energy for adventure. Born in 1861, Isabella “Ella” Christie travelled the world when most Scottish women of her social standing were running the Victorian home. Scotland has a long tradition of adventurers and explorers, but to travel as widely and freely as Ella did is noteworthy in itself.As her great-great-niece Sara Stewart explained: “She went to places that no Western woman had been. She was unbelievably brave and that was how she wanted to spend her life. Ella had been brought up as though she had been a son, so she had been very well educated and wanted to see more of

Covid in Scotland: Police break up hundreds of house parties

Police Scotland face masksImage copyright
Getty Images

Police broke up “at least” 300 house parties across Scotland over the weekend, with 14 arrests being made.

More than 100 fines were issued between Friday and Sunday, with officers having to force entry to three households.

Police Scotland said its analysis suggested house parties were being held “in every community and age group”.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said most people were following the rules – but “decisive action” would be taken where necessary.

  • New law to break up ‘super spreader’ house parties

New rules barring people from different households from meeting in their homes have been introduced in Scotland in response to increasing numbers of Covid cases.

Pubs have also been ordered to close by 22:00, and additional police officers were sent out to support councils over the first weekend of the new restrictions.

Mr Livingstone said officers would “use good sense and exercise discretion”, and that “the great majority of people are taking personal responsibility to do the right thing”.

But he added: “There can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party.

“It is against the law. Where officers encounter blatant, wilful, or persistent breaches, we will take decisive action to enforce the law.”

Image caption

Iain Livingstone said officers would take action against “blatant” breaches of the rules

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the figures had to be seen in the context of a country with a population of 5.4 million people.

She said “the vast majority” were abiding by the rules.

“Anybody who is not, and particularly anybody who is flagrantly breaking very clear rules against house parties, should really take a look at themselves,” she added.

“We know that house parties are one of the risk factors that can cause this virus to spread.”

While officers were