Thursday 5 July 2018
- walked to Arthur’s Seat
- visited Greyfriars Bobby and Greyfriars Kirk
- went on guided tour at the National Museum of Scotland – ‘Historic Scotland’
- went on a guided tour of Gladstone’s Land
Once again, we all headed out early to catch the train into Edinburgh to walk up to Arthur’s Seat, a lookout in Holyrood Park. To get to Arthur’s Seat you can catch the number 6 bus from near Waverley Train Station or you can walk around 15 minutes. Ian and I chose to walk the 15 minutes which turned into 25 minutes. On the way near Holyrood Palace, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, we could see an area cordoned off and police standing guard. The flag was flying high and just inside the gates coming towards us was a Pipe Band in full dress playing Scotland the Brave. What a sight to witness! After talking to the police, we found out it was in preparation for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremony which was happening in half an hour. We continued around the palace where there were more police stationed and headed up the path to Arthur’s Seat. The 360-degree view from the path overlooking the City of Edinburgh is astonishing.
On our return we saw Her Majesty’s helicopter arrive to whisk her away at the completion of the ceremony. It certainly was a special event to see. The police, the guards and the amount of security required is unbelievable.
We then caught the No 6 bus back to town and walked to Greyfriars Bobby a bronze statue of a Skye terrier who became known in 19th century Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, an Edinburgh Police Officer buried in the Greyfriars Kirkyard, until he died himself on 14 January 1872. It is probably Edinburgh most loved and visited attraction. The Greyfriars Kirk is in a passageway next to Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar just behind the statue.
After lunch, we visited the National Museum of Scotland which is free. We went on guided tour of Historic Scotland for an hour. The guide led us to Level 1 where the Kingdom of Scots is located. We looked at fossils and the beginning of life in Scotland. We then progressed to Level 2 where we investigated the antiques and culture of Scotland and then on Level 3 is where the Scotland Transformed exhibition is which covers the Jacobite uprising. It is a fantastic place to visit but you need at least a half a day to see the extensive displays.
Last place today was Gladstone’s Land, one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, housing wealthy residential and commercial tenants in its heyday. It is run by the National Trust of Scotland and is free to members. To visit this site, you have to pre-book a one-hour tour at the centre. The tour we chose was ‘The Crichtons’. Following the guide, we climbed a curved stone set of stairs with iron railings to the second floor. The room where the tour began was an added addition to the original 1550 building which was used as an apartment for the wealthy. We then went down the stairs to the original rooms where we viewed hand-painted Renaissance interiors with deep hidden meanings, the kitchen where there is an original lamp powered by fish oil and a study and living room which has been furnished and restored by the National Trust allowing visitors an insight into the lifestyle of the period. At ground level, there are two 1600 stone arches built to shelter customers.
After another exhausting day, we caught the train back to Newcraighall and stayed in the Park and Ride for the third night. Michael and Pam left earlier in the day as they are heading to Europe, so we bid them farewell.