Edinburgh Castle

We used our sunny day to take a walk through Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle, as a cake topper
It’s only a model.  Shhh!

The approach to the castle winds a long loop around, so you can get views from many different angles.  Also, the archers have a lot of time to shoot you.  Good thing they’re all dead, or else this blog post would be a lot shorter.

It might have ended right here...
It might have ended right here…

Fortunately the weather was good, and not too windy.  We took our time making our way up to the gate.

View of Edinburgh Castle from Castlehill Lane
View of Edinburgh Castle from Castlehill Lane
I think this and it's partner across the path over the moat were torches used to light the entrance to the castle
I think this and it’s partner across the path over the moat were torches used to light the entrance to the castle

We found a statue of William Wallace guarding the castle walls:

Standing guard
William Wallace, standing guard.  He doesn’t look so much like Mel Gibson to me.

We paid our entrance and walked up to the lower walls.  The views even from here were breathtaking.

Upper wall cannons viewed from below
Upper wall cannons viewed from below
View from the lower walls over the Northern part of the city
View from the lower walls over the Northern part of the city
And looking Northeast towards the Scott Monument and Calton Hill
And looking Northeast towards the Scott Monument and Calton Hill
Ready... Aim...
Ready… Aim…

The road continues to spiral around the castle, going higher up.

Rooms with a view
Rooms with a view

for-scotland

Inner walls of the castle, viewed from outside
Inner walls of the castle, viewed from outside

Passing through the inner gate, we found the oldest structure, a chapel to Saint Margaret…

St. Margaret's Chapel, at the top of Edinburgh Castle, dates all the way back to the Twelfth Century
St. Margaret’s Chapel, at the top of Edinburgh Castle, dates all the way back to the Twelfth Century

…and the inner keep.  Here, they have a Scottish WWI memorial, a hall of weapons, and the Honours of Scotland, which were first used by Mary Queen of Scots.

World War 1 Memorial and the Royal Honours of Scotland
World War 1 Memorial and the Royal Honours of Scotland

The WWI memorial was particularly solemn, but touching.  Cameras aren’t allowed here, and that’s fine with me.  The building looks a bit like a cathedral, but instead of stations of the cross, they have large plaques describing the battle and the regions where it took place, below which sits a pile of books.  Each book has the name of a Scottish soldier who died in that battle, his rank, his hometown, and his survivors.  Needless to say, the memorial is quite large, and some sections have many books.

The hall of weapons was pretty interesting.  The swords all looked like they could be picked up and used right away.  I know where I’m headed in the zombie apocalypse.

The Honours of Scotland museum started out like a really hokey museum exhibit, but ended up being a pretty diet-coke telling of the story of Mary Queen of Scots.  It ended with a viewing of the Honours of Scotland themselves – a crown, a scepter, and a really big rock – which, if you’ve seen the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, other than the rock it’s very much the same sort of deal.  Somewhat interesting, but a solid skip if the lines are long.

On our way out of the castle, I noticed a little detail that made me chuckle:

If this end is not pointed towards the enemy, you will be blown to bits today
If this end is not pointed towards the enemy, you will be blown to bits today

Sometimes a simple sign is all it takes.

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