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

111 comments

      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 🙂

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