Our iPhone application (St Andrews Walking Tour) is three months old this week! As one of its ‘parents’ I’m pretty pleased with how it’s developing.
I practically have its picture on my fridge, and before long I’ll be keeping all of its iTunes reviews in a special scrapbook. Oh, by the way – did you know it will soon be available on the brand new Windows 7 phones?
This review has pride of place so far:
"I got 110% out of my recent short trip to St Andrews thanks to this app. Not only does it have customised routes for different types of visitor, it also supplements the tours with complementary audio clips (such as a Bach piano concerto and archived recordings of historic events) which really enhanced the experience. I’ve downloaded dozens of apps but this is the first time I’ve ever been inspired to rate or write about one. The creators of this app deserve an award and I hope the app itself gets an awful lot more downloads. Having used it once, I’d definitely pay more for others like it. First class."
I love the app, and I loved being a part of creating it. What better excuse to get out in St Andrews on a sunny spring afternoon than to take pictures of our most famous landmarks?
While doing so, I learned a huge amount about St Andrews. I’m a regular visitor to all of the town’s museums, so I thought I was fairly well informed about our history. As it turns out; that was completely untrue, and here are just five of the many things I learned about the history of St Andrews while developing the app.
1. Look around on the cobblestones when you’re standing on Market Street near the Whyte-Melville Memorial Fountain (currently the town’s largest plant pot) and you’ll find a cross marked out in red cobblestones. This marks the spot on which the town’s Mercat Cross previously stood. This was the focal point of the town, and became a popular place for executions. Paul Craw became the first Protestant martyr to be burned here in St Andrews in 1433.
2. The Playfair Monument (next to the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse) has a tiny cupboard in its base, called ‘Carnegie’s Wardrobe’. It was named for Carnegie Grant, a local caddy who at the time (the 1890s) had taken to sleeping rough on the Old Course. He would leave his dirty laundry in this cupboard and his long-suffering mother would pick up his clothes and leave freshly-washed ones in their place
3. There is a small, square tower in the wall of the Cathedral’s cemetery, and it has become known as ‘White Lady’s Tower’. Legend has it that the tower was opened in 1868 and the body of a lady dressed all in white was found inside, remarkably well preserved. Twenty years later the tower was opened again and the body had disappeared. Since then there have been many sightings of a lady in white walking in and around the tower…Maybe you’ve seen her?
These stories form only three of the thirty-six ‘acts’ on the audiotour and there are plenty more nuggets of local history to be enjoyed. Why not make the most of the sunny weekend and take the tour out for a spin?