Day 19 – 9/14 – Glasgow, Scotland

Our ship docked at Greenock, on the River Clyde, about 15 miles outside of Glasgow.

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After discussing both Glasgow and Edinburgh with Tina, who has been to both, we elected to take the two hour bus ride from our port, in Greenock, to Edinburgh to see the castle.  We drove first through Paisley, Scotland, famous as the ancestral home of my friend Valerie Williams, and also as the place that the “Paisley” cloth pattern originated.  We then passed through Glasgow crossing the Clyde River.

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We have been so lucky with the weather – no rain and mostly sunny days – it looks like Scotland will be our weather downfall, with rain in the forecast.

The trip passes quickly and in no time we are headed into the city center of Edinburgh, the nations capital.  As if on cue, a gentle rain starts and the clouds reach ground, creating fog with rain.   The bus drops us at Waterloo Place in the center of town and we commence our walk to Edinburgh Castle.

A hotel/restaurant on North Bridge Street, the main route to High Street which leads to the castle.

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At the corner of North Bridge and High Street we turn right to begin the walk up to the castle.  This turn adds a cold, strong wind to the fog and rain – we feel like genuine Scots!

The section of High Street is known as the “Royal Mile”, and it is not clear whether the name is derived from the presence of Royal functions, such as the courts, the treasury, etc., or is derived from the hundreds of shops along the stretch of road.

The Royal Mile – the cobblestones of High Street heading up to the castle.

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Step one – load up on some Pounds Sterling for this port and the next one in Northern Ireland.

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As we make our way up toward the castle we pass dozens of shops selling woven goods and single malt Scotch whiskey plus a goodly number of pubs.

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A little local color.

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At the end of the Royal Mile – we reach the castle.

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Edinburgh Castle is built on a natural volcanic rock uplift.  While human habitation of the area has been traced back 3,000 years, and has been a fortified location since the iron age.  It has been a royal center since 1093.  Edinburgh became the capital of Scotland by the 1300s, and the castle became the Royal Palace in the 1400s when occupied by James III.  At the other end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood House, developed by James V as a more comfortable Royal residence, which caused the castle to be used primarily for military purposes.  The castle was central to the Wars of Independence (1296-1356) and wars in the 1540s, 1570s, and 1600s.  It later became an army garrison and housed Oliver Cromwell’s troops.

 

The castle is home to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held for three weeks every August, initially established to display military bands of of pipes and drums, it is now one of the worlds great spectacles attended annually by over 220,000.  The temporary stands were being taken down at the time we approached the castle.

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Bit of a queue to get in.

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Edinburgh from the castle wall.

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An arms display in the Great Hall.

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On our way back down the Royal Mile we stopped at one of the mills to pick up some Tartan gifts.

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We strolled back to the bus pick up point, caught the bus back to Greenock and boarded the boat, headed for Belfast.

 

Tina’s Take:

I love love love Edinburgh.  I have been with Ru, my business partner, several times and once we discovered that my parents had never seen it, I voted heavily for this port.  The weather was a bit misty and cool but I haven’t been to this magical city when the weather was perfect.  We toured up the Royal Mile and shopped a bit then on to the Castle.  I got extra points for going all the way to the top and we toured around.  After a bite to eat, more shopping and then some more shopping, we headed back to our coach and the boat.  We didn’t see as much as Edinburgh has to offer but we took advantage of the time we had to give my parents the flavor.  We drove through Glasgow as well and got a bit of that flavor.  I always want more time in Scotland and perhaps we will have to do just a trip around this area one time soon.