Edinburgh- city of kilts and bagpipes

The lion and the unicorns grace Edinburgh Castle

The lion and the unicorns gracing Edinburgh Castle

The first sound I heard as I hopped off the coach at the end of Edinburgh’s Princes St. was the wail of bagpipes, leaving me in no doubt at all that I was in Bonny Scotland.  Renowned for my lack of sense of direction, no matter how hard I look at a map, I wandered onto North Bridge, gazing around for a landmark.  The city rose and fell all around me and, with a little sigh of relief, I spotted the Castle on its lofty mound.  Destination one was established!  Of course, the direction was up.

I had timed it nicely to arrive for the one o’clock salute.  The press of people was tight as we waited for the cannon to explode.  At the same time that the cannon is fired, across the city on Calton Hill a timeball drops on Nelson’s Monument.  Visible from afar, its original purpose was to enable the captains of ships on the Firth of Forth to set their chronometers for accurate navigation.

A nice moment occurred as I chatted to a neighbour.  A native of the city, he had never before managed to witness the dropping of the timeball.  I told him that I hadn’t been sure whether to head for Calton Hill or the Castle itself for the event. Neither had he, but he proceeded to show me that he had successfully recorded it on camera for posterity.  I wish I could show you!

But you'll have to make do with the cannon!

But you’ll have to make do with the cannon instead!

The sky was beginning to lighten as I made my way to my next destination- the Scott Monument on Princes St.  Not that I knew the way.  I followed my nose down some steps and eventually ended up lost in enormous Waverley Railway Station. From there the only way was up again.

I could have been tempted!

I could have been tempted!

Next I headed for Calton Hill itself, curious to see up close the reason for the city’s nickname “Athens of the North”.  Sure enough, there was the incomplete Parthenon!  Funds did not allow for completion at the time of building.  It matters little now because it is part of a wonderful green space in the city.

I imagine you’re starting to tire a bit now.  I left the house before 7am to catch my coach, but the knowledge that I had just this one day spurred me on.  I won’t keep you much longer.

The day was sparkling as I headed downhill through a different cemetery to the Palace of Holyrood.  The queues didn’t allow me time to go in, but I managed a quick swish through the stylish Scottish Parliament building.  The sun was beginning to set and the lights to come on as I headed back up the Royal Mile.

Magnificent Arthur's Seat, viewed from Calton Hill

Magnificent Arthur’s Seat, viewed from Calton Hill

Just time to pop my nose in Jenners to see the Christmas tree and marvel at the rides in St. Andrews Place.  The kilts were still twirling and the pipes a-calling as I returned, most reluctantly, to the coach.

High riding at the Christmas Market!

High riding at the Christmas Market!

Jenners Christmas tree

Jenners Christmas tree


      1. I couldn’t believe it when their PR company approached me – it gave me such a boost to know they liked my blog. And as for the cruise I loved it – wasn’t sure I would!

  1. Very nice photo essay Jo. I haven’t been to Edinburgh in years, and it’s nice to see a reminder. When I worked in London, I made frequent trips to Aberdeen (oil business), but Terri and I only went to Edinburgh as tourists. In those days British rail had there “Upgrade to first class for £1” weekends, and we loved making trips to Scotland. ~James

    1. It’s about 15 since I was there, James, and I remember freezing last time. This was an impulse and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this beautiful city. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with me.

  2. Thanks so much for the wonderful tour of Edinburgh, Jo. Yes, I’m sure those knees must be frozen solid. 😯 Beautiful Christmas lights, and your legs must have got a good workout that day. Your photos are really great. Fabulous post! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ad. I love it when I have loads of interesting photos to choose from, and it really is a very photogenic place. Just wish I’d taken more photos of kilts. They were everywhere! Not a lacy tight in sight either. You’d think, wouldn’t you? 🙂

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed it, Cathy 🙂 Didn’t even stop to eat (shock! horror!) I ate on the coach going up, then just grabbed a rum and coke and some peanuts (very naughty!) before hopping back on the coach. It’s such a lively city- you’d love it!

  3. You put a big smile on my face this morning, Jo, thank you! Lots of memories for me, I always love seeing pictures of my home city. The Balmoral looks glorious in that late afternoon sunlight, and the Jenners tree is a shimmering wonder. They used to have birds tweeting in it, but I don’t know if they still do that.

    1. I didn’t get close enough to find out, Lorna. It was Saturday afternoon busy and I’m not fond of crowds. I was out of there in 5 mins flat! Beautiful city, though. Glad I made you smile 🙂

  4. Lovely pics.
    I had a whirlwind visited to see my friend a few years ago, and spend an afternoon at Edinburgh Castle.
    I’d like to visit when the Tattoo is on.

    1. Hi Vicky 🙂 Thanks a lot! How’s Mum? The castle is magnificent and bigger than I remembered.
      I was in Pooley Bridge in the Lakes today, Chatsworth next Monday. All go at the minute! (I love it :))

  5. Wow, I want to go back tomorrow – and just as I remembered my visit to Edinburgh … quite a few years ago. Sunny crisp November day. Your photos are fantastic – glad you had time to poke your head and camera into Jenners – some shop!
    You manage so much on one day – you must have been total exhausted. Fantastic post and thanks for bringing me along – have to check out … flights to Edinburgh now.

    1. Glad you approve, Vivi 🙂 It must be 15 years or more since I was there, and there was so much I didn’t remember clearly (or it had changed!) A friend is there at the minute and we’d been talking about it (she always stays at Leith) so it was in my impetuous head.
      Yes, I can motor when I get my ass in gear! (how’s yours? appointment with specialist 10th December?) But I really enjoyed it. Not even time for food (I had buns and Christmas cake on the coach) but a swift rum and coke in a lovely traditional pub. 🙂

      1. *laughing – you’re mad as me!!! I’m very sore today, not in the best mood. But a trip to Edinburgh would have sorted that out – looked at January, but it’s too close to my trip to Stockholm and Michael Michael Bublé, so I have to come down – the money isn’t in the account yet. *smile
        If you go again – let me know and I will jump on Easyjet and meet up with you in Regal Edinburgh.

    1. Glad you liked them, Barb (still have a few to come Thurs or Friday) It’s a lovely place and that hint of sunshine made all the difference. Which border town, Barb? We were almost neighbours 🙂

  6. Wow! All this in one day, Jo..no wonder you’re so fit and trim. 🙂 I absolutely love bagpipes, I always get chills when I hear them play. Thanks for sharing your incredible photos. That Christmas tree was amazing!

    1. Well, if you like busy, and a little warmer, the Festival in August is a great event, Angela. I’m not so keen on crowds, but it’s a city that could captivate at any time of year. 🙂

  7. You caught a great selection of Edinburgh shots Jo…..and my you packed in a lot 🙂
    The pictures from the Scott Monument are really beautiful….as are the Arthur’s Seat ones…..all that lovely low golden light!

    1. It’s a cracking place, isn’t it? I thoroughly enjoyed myself, though I was sad to learn there’d been a suicide off Scott Monument the previous day. That sent chills!

  8. I’m exhausted Jo, don’t know about you! I have a good sense of direction, but all those ups and downs are hard on the old knees. You definitely put me to shame in the fitness league. But what a lovely whistle-stop tour of this city. I have never been there, other than to drive around en route to the Highlands. I keep meaning to go, but also keep moving in the wrong direction!
    Jude xx

    1. You can probably fly up there from Exeter, Jude, but it’s definitely an alien concept! My memories weren’t very vivid and mostly cold, so it was good to see this lovely city at my own pace (crazy!) and with a little sunlight. Thanks for all your comments 🙂

  9. I enjoyed Edinburgh when I visited, although it was during the summer and the comedy festival was a blast. I did take in all of those sights though, as well as surprising myself by getting to the top of Arthur’s Seat. I enjoyed your post, thanks Jo

  10. Your pictures are fabulous and I love your comments. Another commenter mentioned your energy. I wouldn’t have made it past the wee dram of whiskey in the first set of pictures. 🙂

  11. I love Edinburgh me. Last time I visited was a day trip too. First class rail travel up from Newc on the beautiful train ourney, a conference to attend, time off at lunch to shoot up to the castle, dash round an art gallery, and get lost in those strange up and down streets. Great city. Lovely photos and a nice personal reminder for me of that super place. I won’t bore you with my tales of staying at Heriott Watt with the OU and night clubbing in Edinburgh. Not to be repeated. But a good time was had.

  12. Seems as though you were jet-fuelled, Jo! What on earth did you have for breakfast? 🙂 Great to revisit. My memories are all of grey and drizzle and sleet, so fit perfectly with the grey skies you encountered!

    1. No time for breakfast, Meredith, but I munched my way there on the coach (ham and tomato sarnies and Christmas cake!) It started very grey but it did get out beautifully, and was warmer than I remember from my last visit 🙂

    1. I did the Camera Obscura many years ago on a grey day and couldn’t see a thing! 😦 I much prefer the Camera Obscura in my sunny Portuguese hometown, Tavira 🙂
      The bit I would have liked to see but didn’t have time for was the underground city at St. Mary’s Place.

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