Sep 18 Edinburgh

One place we had long wanted to visit was Edinburgh so, after leaving our friends, we moved on to the great city.  We treated ourselves to a 3 night stay on a campsite near to a bus route into the city.  This enabled us to spend 2 whole days in the city and one of those was dedicated to visiting Edinburgh Castle.

Hazy view of the castle from Waverley Bridge

The castle has dominated the skyline for more than 900 years.  It has served as a royal palace, arsenal, gunfoundry, state prison, place of safe keeping for the Scottish crown jewels, and more recently as an infantry barracks.   It is an enormous site with a lot to see.  We had a really good day there and felt it was worth the cost of entry.

View across Edinburgh from the battlements
Further battlements view
Mons Meg
Mons Meg information
St Margarets Chapel
Statue of General Haig

Edinburgh was well established by 1100 and was recognised as the capital of Scotland by 1350.  The old town stretches, like a Herringbone, down the ridge below the Castle with just one major street and a host of narrow closes (alleys) leading directly off it.

The Old Town was small and contained on all sides which led to the development of high rise housing.  By the late 1600s some houses were reaching 9 stories or more.  Gladstone’s Land, at the upper end of the Royal Mile, is one of the few old houses remaining from this period.  It was built in 1550 and has been recently restored by the Scottish National Trust.  I went for a guided tour which was most interesting and led by a sprightly 91 year old guide.  Her only difficulty was getting down the steep stairs!  There was nothing wrong with her brain.  I had a lovely chat with her after the tour about travelling in a campervan.  She and her husband had a campervan in the 1950s. She was astounded to hear that we have a shower and central heating in ours.

One of the original decorated ceilings in the house
View into the close from the top floor

We walked the length of the Royal Mile and then down to the Scottish Parliament.  There were many stops along the way as we spotted different points of interest.  St Giles Cathedral is well worth a visit.  The Scottish Parliament building was quite controversial when it was built and cost a massive amount of money.  The architect was Catalonian and died before the build was complete which was a cause of much concern at the time.  However, the building was completed eventually and even won a RIBA Stirling prize in 2005.  You can enter the building for free and view parliamentary proceedings in the debating chamber from the public gallery.  We decided it was a must for us and it just happened to be the first day of the new parliamentary year following the Summer break.  We listened to Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson before quietly slipping out.

Scottish Parliament building

 

St Giles Cathedral

There were so many interesting buildings and sights it is not possible to include them all.  We were only able to see a small percentage.

Outside the National Gallery of Scotland
Looking towards The Mound
The Scott Monument

We enjoyed our visit but were now ready to move on towards the West.  Next stop Falkirk.

 

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