Edinburgh, Scotland – Day 14

Today is our last full day in Edinburgh, and for some it is their last day of the trip.  Barbara and I are staying on to go for the Highlands of Scotland.
But for today, we did the Royal Scotland tour which consisted of a trip out to the HMY Britannia, the Royal Yacht.  It was christened by the Queen in 1953.

And of course, for me (ha ha), they had the find the corgi’s, so you know I had to.

And on to the bridge, which is usually not set up so high on the ship, for defensive measures.  and from the bridge looking down onto the bow.

And docked along side is the racing Yacht Bloodhound.  The classic 1930s ocean-racing yacht Bloodhound, owned by Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip in the 1960s and aboard which Prince Charles and Princess Anne learned to sail. She is usually on display alongside Britannia in Edinburgh as part of the Royal Sailing Exhibition.

one of the lifeboats.

The signal flag closet.

The breakfast area for the Queen (and corgi on cabinet).
This royal yacht also has place to store the Queen’s car. (and corgi in back window of course)

The ships bell and the Royal ER showing Queen Elizabeth and the date of the ship’s commission.

The Queen’s bedroom complete with corgi.

Prince Albert’s room (also with corgi).
The only double bed on the yacht, which was used by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. (they don’t get a stuffed corgi) 
A sitting room where Prince Albert used to paint (another Corgi). 
And now to another deck.

The officer’s area where they could unwind a bit. Notice the wombat in the fan and the monkey hanging off the silver ship in the case.  Oh yeah and the corgi.

Now it was the food preparing and serving areas.

and lots and lots of china, crystal and silver.

State functions are a big deal after all.

The communication desk for the Queen and corgi.

And the “living room” for the royal family complete with a piano that was bolted to the floor for obvious reasons.
This was Prince Albert’s communication room with corgi.

And Here’s Marta dressing with a Royal Seaman’s cap.

and for the crew some place to unwind,

or sleep (bunk comes with a corgi).

Here is the outside of the family area on the ship.

and now it was time for us to pose with our Walk for the Cure shirts – Valencia Lakes Women’s Club event coming up in Nov.

And Marta just wanted to be on the arm of this strapping bronze sailor.
Our trip to HMY Britannia was now over and on to visit Holyrood Palace.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse , commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining.  Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.  This was the official residence of Mary Queen of Scots.
Unfortunately, since this is still a residence, no photography inside the Palace is allowed, so all photos are of outside, the grounds, or the ruins of the Abbey.
 While inside, we did get to see where Mary Queen of Scots bedroom chamber, sitting area, where her secretary was murdered in front of her, some of Mary’s needlework.
 Even Bear managed to get out of my pocket and climbed onto the ruins for a photo op. 

Back to our hotel for some shopping, sleeping, or whatever.  Tonight is Cathy and Marta’s last night as I mentioned before and tonight we will have our Farewell dinner provided by Grand Circle Travel.
Now before we go – since I worked in insurance for xx years.  I thought it was very interesting that our hotel, The Principal, was formerly Caledonian Insurance building.


Edinburgh, Scotland – Day 13 last little bit

We just arrived in Inverness to the Kingsmills Hotel and I must say – what a spot.  We are about to head out to dinner, but I wanted to post those last photos from Day 13. (I still have Day 14 and today, but lets get caught up while the internet is good.)

In case you forgot, we were walking down the Royal Mile to Ramsay Lane.  At the corner was this pub named for Deacon Brodie.

and as you can see this is a down hill walk.  I had Cathy stop by the Whisky place.

We then crossed The Mound Pl which was across the street from The University of Edinburgh. and started down this long step stairwell.  Here it is from the bottom looking up. The Playfair steps.

As we walked across overlooking the gardens, these were our views.  
 and we walked by the Scottish National Gallery.

and even some entertainment.
Then the girls walked on towards our hotel while I went on the other side of the National Gallery for the Princes Street Gardens. View of the castle above the newly planted flowers.

A view of the Edinburgh Castle from the gardens – 

Then it was off to our hotel.  Tonight we are attending a performance at the Royal Lyceum theater of Cockpit by Bridget Boland.  In this play, you enter The Lyceum, but take your seats in Germany, 1945 in a provincial playhouse being used as a makeshift transit camp for displaced persons from across the continent. It was not a light play and does give you pause. An interesting way to bring to an almost close of our visit to Edinburgh. One more day, and then Cathy and Marta will be winging their way back to Florida, while Barbara and I shall continue on into the Scottish Highlands.

Edinburgh, Scotland – Day 13

This morning we went on a Discovery Walk with a local guide, Alister, who was a teacher previously.  Here is Alister standing to the right of to our driver Tam.  

Our walk was on the  Royal Mile.  The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town of Edinburgh.  The road is approximately one mile long and runs between the Edinburgh Castle and the Holyrood Palace.  The Royal Mile is in the Old Town, and as the city grew, the richer people moved outside the walls into what became the New Town.  The poorer people stayed within the walls. 

The city is layout like a fish bone with the Royal Mile as the backbone and various side alleyways – called a close  shooting off to the side.

 pizza and kebobs in a shop called clamshell?  Well this is a popular tourist area. Pubs and
 where you can buy most anything.

The top of the castle represents the crown with the arches.

The Tron Kirk is a former principal parish church.  It is a well-known landmark on the Royal Mile. It was built in the 17th century and closed as a church in 1952.
Here you will find a statue to Adam Smith the founder of modern economics.
There is also a statue of Alexander the Great and one of the most famous horses of antiquity Bucephalus, from 1883.
and I love my rooftops and pubs.
Looking down one of the close.


EDINBURGH in the first half of 1700s was an overcrowded, unsanitary place – a medieval jumble of narrow wynds and towering tenement dwellings, running from the foot of the Castle to Holyrood Place.

More than 50,000 people were crammed within the city walls, livestock wandered freely down the streets and a holler of “gardyloo” gave passersby the message to move away – sharpish.  Coming from the French expression, “Prenez garde a l’eau!” – meaning literally ‘beware of the water’ – gardyloo was the phrase shouted from the upper floors of tenement buildings by residents as they emptied their chamber pots from the windows above. “I believe that in no city in the world so many people have so little room,” so wrote Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe after a visit to Edinburgh – and indeed, the overcrowded nature of the narrow alleyways in Edinburgh made the task of emptying a chamber pot even more tricky.  Tenements in Scotland’s capital during the 18th century could be as tall as 14 stories high and had no electricity, running water and or lavatories (inside or out). Toilets at that time were simply a bucket filled up during the day and it was the job – usually of the women and children – to empty them out. In 1749, the ‘Nastiness Act’ was passed, which decreed waste could only be tossed out between 10 pm, when the bells struck at the St.Giles High Kirk, and 7am the next morning, The person tossing the waste was also supposed to call out “Gardez l’eau!” meaning ‘watch the water,’ which later became corrupted to “Gardyloo!”
Now something nicer – Here is the door to where Robert Louis Stevenson lived.  In 1857 at the age of 7 Stevenson moved with his family to 17 Heriot Row in the New Town. He was a sickly boy and perhaps his febrile imagination had to compensate for a lack of physical exertion. In Queen St. Gardens, which he could see from his bedroom window, an islet in a small pond may later have given rise to his famous Treasure Island. His nurse’s stories coupled with his child’s fear of the dark further fired his imagination. The gas lamps, which may still be seen on Heriot Row, offered some comfort to the frightened young Stevenson
We drove around Holyrood Palace but we are planning on visiting tomorrow, so I didn’t take any photos (from a moving coach).  Now it was on to Edinburgh Castle.
like in most towns there are people who dress up for coins.

Celtic crosses outside the castle.
 Edinburgh Castle
 Alister explaining what we are going to see inside the castle.
 Nemo me impune lacessit was the Latin motto of the Royal Stuart dynasty of Scotland from at least the reign of James VI. It is the adopted motto of the Order of the Thistle and of three Scottish regiments of the British Army.  The motto also appears, in conjunction with the collar of the Order of the Thistle. It means No one “cuts” (attacks/assails) me with impunity.

 Guarding our entrance.
Walking up the narrow entrance.  to show you the size of these walls. Those are our heads down below.  That’s a big wall.

Looking down on the city.

Looking up at more of the castle.

Where the “governor” would live.
 marking Queen Elizabeth reign.

 another view of the city below – called New Town.
Here are some images from inside the Great Hall.

A wonder of medieval Scotland, the Great Hall was completed in 1511 for James IV and stands at the heart of the castle. Its wooden roof is one of the most remarkable in Britain. Giant beams rest on stones engraved with heads and important symbols like the thistle – a badge of Scotland. The king had little time to enjoy his Great Hall as he was killed at the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513 fighting the forces of Henry VIII of England. Later the hall became a barracks and its medieval splendor was hidden. Oliver Cromwell’s army began the military makeover in 1650 and the troops finally marched out in 1886. Now the walls bristle with weapons and armor. Among the swords and shields are strange-shaped pole arms, including the notorious Lochaber axe.

  From over a canon.

Off the main path at Edinburgh Castle, a small garden space holds a soldiers’ dog cemetery dating back to 1840.

The site of the cemetery may have once been a tower, but it now acts as the final resting place for honored canine companions of the regimental officers.

And then we started our walk down – and down and down out of the castle.

 Our group shot. 
Back to Royal Mile – and now some music.
 And a pub for lunch.
Then it was back on our walk down the Royal Mile to our hotel.

For you book lovers – they even have a book tour – notice the list of authors and more scarves.
I have 15 more photos but the internet connection has rejected my upload for the past 4 tries – so I am going to have to finish this post and the posting for our last day in Edinburgh – Day 14 – hopefully at the hotel in Inverness.   Sorry.

Transfer to Edinburgh – Day 12

Catching up, well on posts but not on sleep.  Not too many images today, because I seldom take photos from the coach with the reflections and bouncing.  So I figure get caught up – and tomorrow is a slightly later morning and I don’t have to pack for a day or two.
I do have to put this in – as it was in our hotel in the Lakes District. 
We checked out of the English Lake District and headed on our way to Edinburgh.   Our first stop was just a short hop up the road to Clifton.  We had a Scottish historian give us a 5 minute talk on a historical site. 

The village’s main claim to fame is as the site of the Battle of Clifton Moor, the last battle to take place on English soil, fought during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion between Bonnie Prince Charlie, ‘the Young Pretender’ and William Duke of Cumberland, younger son of George II. One of Clifton’s most famous sons was the industrialist John “Iron-Mad” Wilkinson, who was born in the village in 1728.

The story of the local Wyberg family, whose property was forcibly sold , by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1652, is related in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, ‘Waverley’, which also features the battle on Clifton Moor. The Wyberg’s had been staunch supporters of the Royalist cause during the Civil War.

The skirmish known as the Battle of Clifton Moor took place on the 19th December 1745, between a rearguard of Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite army as they retreated from Derby and elements of the Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian forces who were in pursuit of them.

Twelve Jacobite soldiers and ten government dragoons were killed in the skirmish four Hanoverian officers wounded. One British dragoon is recorded as dying in Clifton several weeks later, presumably of wounds received in the battle. The only prisoner taken on this occasion was a footman of the Duke of Cumberland. This man was sent back by Charles. A skeleton, wearing tartan was found near Stanhope in the 1920’s is believed to have been a Jacobite casualty of the skirmish, though this is uncertain. The Jacobite dead are buried beneath the Rebel Tree which stands on the southern edge of the village.   He told us that the English are trying to change history by stating they did not bury those men here.  He said carry this forward – it is important that they be remembered.  The area around the tree has been sold off and houses are going up. But the tree still stands.

Our next stop was to visit Hadrian’s Wall, also called the Roman Wall,  was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea,  and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire.

It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds.  We stopped at the ruins of one of the turrets.  
The view of the valley from this stop.
I liked the angle with the sheep on the hill – just if they could have turned to face me? Ahh, no, guess not.
Back on the coach and on to Lanercost, and a 12th century priory. Had no idea what a priory is – so here is the definition – A priory is a monastery of men or women under religious vows that is headed by a prior or prioress. That helps – sort of.
Unfortunately the priory itself was closed for a funeral service.

windy, curvy roads. 
A short break to stretch our legs and back onto the coach.  on the road again….
Guess where we are?

Marta and Barbara 
Marta and me
Cathy, Barbara and Lou Ann
Now where exactly are we?  Gretna Green is a village in the south of Scotland famous for runaway weddings. It is in Dumfries and Galloway, near the mouth of the River Esk and was historically the first village in Scotland, following the old coaching route from London to Edinburgh.  It has usually been assumed that Gretna’s famous “runaway marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act came into force in England. Under the Act, if a parent of a minor (i.e., a person under the age of 21) objected to the minor’s marriage, the parent could legally veto the union. The Act tightened the requirements for marrying in England and Wales but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent . It was, however, only in the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road passing through the obscure village of Graitney, that Gretna Green became the first easily reachable village over the Scottish border.  Scottish law allowed for “irregular marriages”, meaning that if a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony. The blacksmiths in Gretna became known as “anvil priests”, culminating with Richard Rennison, who performed 5,147 ceremonies. The local blacksmith and his anvil became lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings.
For some of you, you might have read of the name Gretna Green in literature.
We now stopped in Moffat, famous for Moffat toffee for lunch.

in the toffee store there were also tons of these containers of all kinds of candies that you could purchase by the pound.
Our next stop was to view this range of mountains, which are an extension of the Appalachian mountains in the United States.  We had a Geography professor with us who explained how all of this happened long before we were even a twinkle in an eye. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of Scotland, close to the town of Fort William.

And guess what folks … we have arrived.  Tonight was on our own after a very short walk around the block with our Program Director.  Here are just a couple of sights – more tomorrow.
 I could not pass up this image – poor king. And not sure who was walking who in this one.
OK, now you are up to date.  Tomorrow morning we get a tour of Edinburgh and going to a show tomorrow night  – Cockpit at the Lyceum theater here.
Off to bed with me – thank god for a later start time.