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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.