I’ll Take the Low Road

Scotland, pt2 sights.

Our short break north of the border included three coach tours.  One I was particularly looking forward to was a day in the capital Edinburgh.  I am not a lover of cities but have never visited this historical place.  The morning started, as usual, in pouring rain.  The journey took the best part of two hours but the driver did a detour and took us to Queensferry to see the famous bridges over the Firth of Forth.  He drove us over the new crossing, round a roundabout and back over the old road bridge to a view point where I braved the inclement weather to grab some quick photos.

Forth road bridge

Opened in 1964 and with a total length of 1.5 miles (2.5km) it was, at the time, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges.  Now it is only used by public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.  In the gloom to the left you can just see the new road bridge.  To the right is the iconic rail crossing however with a scrapyard in the foreground it did not make a ‘nice’ image!

By the time we reached the City centre the rain had stopped and the skies cleared.  We made our way round the south of the castle and up to the start of the ‘Royal Mile’ by the castle gates.

Towering high above the City, Edinburgh Castle is an impressive sight!
Looking down the ‘Royal Mile’

There has been a castle on the remains of this volcanic activity since at least the 12th century.  The ‘Royal Mile’ (actually more than a mile) is full of fantastic architecture with shops selling as much whisky, kilts and woolly jumpers as you could shake a haggis at!  The Gothic spire is the former Tollbooth Kirk, though never a church it was built as an assembly house in 1845.  Now it is The Hub where the famous Edinburgh festival is organised.

Inside St Giles Cathedral

At the bottom of the ‘Royal Mile’ you come to Holyrood Palace which was unfortunately adorned in scaffolding and more unfortunately demanded a £17 entry fee, no thanks.  Also located here is, in my view, a modern eyesore, the new Scottish Parliament.  A mish-mash of dirty concrete and stone curves, blocks and other odd shapes surrounded by rusty steel railings.

In the shadow of part of ‘Arthur’s Seat’ my least favourite building
Dead centre of Edinburgh? New Calton burial ground. The three story tower to the right was the Watch Tower, built to deter grave robbers then used as a family home ’till 1955!

So that was Edinburgh, four hours of exploring but worthy of a much longer visit.  Another day out was to Glamis Castle (silent i) described as the most beautiful in Scotland it is home to the the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.  It was also the favourite residence of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who’s family have lived here since the 14th century.

Glamis Castle. I waited for an age to get a shot without any people in view!
Very nice garden ornament

Very often I will take a shot and not know what the subject was.  The photo above is a case in point, turns out this is Scotland’s tallest, grandest sundial!  350 years old and judging by the weather we had probably only used about six times a year!  Only joking, we had a great time, so much so we have already booked a return next June.

35 thoughts on “I’ll Take the Low Road

  1. Good to see views of Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities & so photogenic. Enjoyed the virtual tour. Inside the modern Scottish parliament is worth seeing with interesting shapes, architecture etc. and by design it’s meant to fold into and reflect the surrounding landscape. I went inside expecting not to like it, and was pleasantly surprised. It was free entry too!

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  2. At least it wasn’t raining for the whole time you were in Edinburgh! I didn’t like the Parliament building much either, although the new St James Quarter building which does a really good impression of the turd emoji now takes the prize for worst Edinburgh town centre architecture.

    Glad to hear you are coming back in June – I’d be happy to show you round a few local butterfly / bird sites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to google St James Quarter, your description is spot on! These are the sort of ‘Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud creams himself over. At one point we were very close to that pile of poo thankfully I didn’t step in it.
      You have a lovely city centre Pete, shame you have to share it with millions of grockles like me and the missus. Don’t think we are returning to Edinburgh next June, shame as I would have loved to gone up Arthurs Seat (oh, er Matron) butterfly hunting!

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  3. Thanks, Brian. This was a true pleasure. I hope to get to Edinburgh and some of these lovely sites in my lifetime, but since I haven’t yet, I enjoyed the photos and narrative you presented here. Thanks for waiting so patiently to get the Glamis Castle photo without people…it’s a stunning photo. Another lovely photo for the light: Inside St. Giles Cathedral.

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  4. I am always amazed at the length of time these historic buildings have stood. I suppose it’s because we live in a time where “out with the old and in with the new” is a phrase used more often than “if it’s not broken then why fix it?”…

    Is a haggis something you’d want to shake though, Brian? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m fascinated how all those centuries ago people managed to build these places like Edinburgh Castle way up on that rocky hill. Some cities are left soulless once the developers have installed their ‘grand designs’ Edinburgh has fared better than some I have visited.
      Those haggis take some catching Dries! They gave me the run-around all week, I could not get a photo. Had the last laugh though when I had one for dinner on my last night!

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  5. What an intriguing place B! Castles have always fascinated me (we didn’t have to defend our lands in the same manner, but we have “forts” that are no way close to the architectural beauties here. I’ll let Ron know to come check out that sundial – that’s his thing and has studied them for years. Thanks for sharing B!

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    1. Scottish castles look much different to our English ones, Glamis is more like a stately home.
      If I knew it was a sundial I might have crept across the immaculate grass for a closer peek.
      Thanks for looking B.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Outstanding photographic travelogue! There must be some incredible opportunities for exploration and discovery. You’ve made me long for the days of tramping the back streets of an ancient city again. Architecture, food, people.

    I’m too old to do that sort of thing any more. I rely on youngsters such as you to provide excellent articles such as this one. Thank you!

    Love that first photograph of the bridge! Perfect mood-setter.

    Liked by 1 person

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