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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Scotland pays its tributes
Edinburgh Castle guns
The salute sounded at Edinburgh Castle
Books of condolence have been opened at the Queen Mother's childhood home and her Highland residence.

Members of the public have the opportunity to pay tribute at Glamis Castle and the Castle of Mey from Monday.

It has emerged that the latter property will be opened to the public for the first time later this year.

And special military salutes have been fired from Edinburgh and Stirling Castles as Scotland continues to commemorate the life of the Queen Mother, who died on Saturday at the age of 101.

The Queen Mother held a very special place in the hearts of the Scottish people, and that's felt particularly so in the Scottish military community

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Lipscombe
The castles, which are the two official saluting stations in Scotland, were among a dozen sites across Britain and Gibraltar taking part in the salute on Monday.

Forty-one rounds were fired - one every minute - from 1200BST.

A crowd of about 300 people gathered to watch the salute at Edinburgh Castle, which was performed by 105 Regiment Royal Artillery (V).

They fired three 105mm light guns westwards over the castle walls.

Commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Nick Lipscombe said: "There's no doubt that the Queen Mother held a very special place in the hearts of the Scottish people, and that's felt particularly so in the Scottish military community.

"The huge amount of effort that our regiment has put in has been done with tremendous enthusiasm.

Castle of Mey

The Queen Mother rescued a dilapidated castle and made it her Highland home

  Castle of Mey: The Queen Mother's retreat

"Although the soldiers were stood down for the Easter weekend, as soon as they heard the very sad news they were very quick to contact their respective headquarters and to offer their services to assist in firing this salute."

At Stirling Castle the salute was watched by some 2,000 tourists.

The guns were fired by the Arbroath-based 212 Highland Battery of 105 (V) Regiment Royal Artillery, Territorial Army, augmented by the gun troop of the Glasgow and Strathclyde University Officers Training Corps.

Sergeant Billy Moffat, 34, from Arbroath, said: "We feel very privileged and honoured to do it because of the special links with Angus.

"But I would rather not be doing it because it is a sad day."

The Queen Mother's passing is being mourned across Scotland - particularly at Glamis Castle in Angus, where she grew up in the early years of last century, Crathie Church near Balmoral on Royal Deeside and the Castle of Mey in Caithness.

She was a regular visitor to Glamis Castle, where two rooms are named after her - the Queen Mother's Bedroom and the Queen Mother's Sitting Room.

Floral tributes

Formerly owned by the Queen Mother's father, the castle now belongs to her great nephew, the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

The book of condolence was opened on Monday and will remain open until Monday 8 April - the day before her funeral.

Floral tributes have also been placed outside the castle gates.

Floral tributes at Glamis Castle
Floral tributes have been placed at Glamis Castle
Another book of condolence was also opened at the Castle of Mey, the Queen Mother's Highland home, on Monday.

The Caithness property was bought by the Queen Mother in 1952 and restored in the following years.

In 1996 it was handed over to a charitable trust, which is carrying out a further programme of renovations which could cost up to 1m.

The trust's deputy chairman, local MP Viscount John Thurso, said it was expected that the castle would be open to the public by August.

"Queen Elizabeth had a vision which was to see the castle protected and kept available," he said.

Books of condolence

"She rescued it, she didn't want to see the work that she'd undertaken disappear."

A book of condolence has already been opened at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. It can be signed from 0800-1800BST until the funeral on Tuesday 9 April.

A number of Scottish councils are also making books of condolence available at public offices.

Politicians will have the opportunity to pay their tributes to the Queen Mother when both the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament are recalled on Wednesday.

BBC Scotland's Aileen Clarke reports
"The 41-gun salute rang out across the capital"
See also:

30 Mar 02 | Scotland
Scotland's Queen of Hearts
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