Scratchings in the Dirt

Scotland, part II

We awoke on the 7th to sunshine, and a glimpse of the promised view from Lorraine’s lounge, but alas, we were off to Edinburgh. We were sad to leave Lorraine and David, as we knew we would not be taken care of quite like that for the rest of our trip!

We rented a car, and Lisa braved the driving on the left side of the road. I only screamed once, at the first round-about, or traffic circle, but it was a justified scream. The other driver was very courteous and didn’t honk or yell or gesture, but that would have been justified, as well. Britain is full of round-abouts, and they can be quite effective when used properly. We managed them by crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

We made a short stop in the city of Glasgow to see the cathedral, and I’m so glad we did. It is a magnificent building, started in the 12th century.
The building to the left is a hospital. The interior of the cathedral is amazing, with ornate carvings and many small chapels or altars dedicated to different people and groups.

This is the chapel and tomb of St. Mungo, more properly named St. Kentigern, who died in 612. The basement crypt is full of tombs and burial plaques.

Up the hill from the cathedral is the necropolis, with winding lanes and steep slopes. The view from the top is incredible.

After a quick tour of the oldest house in Glasgow, and a bite to eat at a little pub, we continued our short journey to Edinburgh. It is only about an hour and a half from Glasgow, although it was hard to tell where the cities ended and began. We were terribly lost when we first got to Edinburgh (error on the part of the navigator!), but again, we got to see more of the city than planned. This monument to Walter Scott stands along the famous Prince’s Street.

This is a short part of High Street. That is the British name for main street. It runs from Edinburgh castle on one end, to Holyrood palace on the other.
Edinburgh is called the city of seven hills, and it seemed that we were constantly going up one! Our B&B was about a mile downhill from Prince’s street. The morning walk was a bit tough, but the walk home in the evening was a breeze. There are many little “mews”, or walkways that connect streets, and can make getting places a little easier, or get you very lost.

We took a one-day bus tour to Loch Ness – a 400 mile round trip. We stopped at lots of nice spots along the way. This was in Glencoe, a long valley in which Loch Ness and other lakes are situated.

We fell in love with the thistle, which was just starting to bloom.
Foxglove grows wild everywhere, and some were about six feet tall. The heather was just starting to bloom. Lots of purple!

At Loch Ness, we were able to tour the remains of Urquardt Castle.

Note the little bridge over the moat.
The views were breath-taking, and I took numerous shots!

The next day, we toured the old part of Edinburgh on foot. We started at Edinburgh castle, seen here from Prince’s Street.
The oldest part still standing is St.Margaret’s chapel, built about 1130 by David I in honor of his mother, Margaret, who died in the castle in 1093. Another old stone building was St. Mary’s church, replaced by this, the Scottish National War Memorial.

These are the “Lang Stairs”, originally the main way up into the castle.
A cobblestone street was added later to facilitate the movement of artillery.

This is the Portcullis gate, built after the Lang Seige of 1571-3. It became the principal gateway into the castle.

This is Paul MacCrae (no relation, as far as I know!), a very friendly worker at the castle.

The Royal Palace is in the Crown Square, created in the 15th century. Mary, Queen of Scots, lived in the palace and gave birth to the future James VI in this room.

This is the Great Hall, built in 1511. The high hammerbeam roof is original to the building.

This is another great view of Edinburgh from the castle.

Better go get some work done. I think this blogging is going to take longer than the trip itself!
Bye for now.

One thought on “Scotland, part II

  1. Such wonderful pictures and a great description of your time away.Although I’ve never had much of a desire to go to the British Isles in the past, I now think that it would be rather”Grrreat” and it would probably be a lot cooler weather than we are experiencing at present. From this morning’s news, it seems you were very fortunate to have missed the deluge of rain in England,at least, in the last few days.
    Looking forward to more vacation highlights on future posts.

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