S: Normandy & British Isles Cruise - Book 2
FC: Holyrood Palace | Edinburgh Castle | Cawdor Castle | Urquhart Castle
1: We have breakfast early and watch from our balcony as Scotland comes into view.. We will visit Edinburgh and have an excursion to walk the Royal Mile from Palace of Holyrood to Edinburgh Castle.
2: We have to take a tender boat to shore this time. Our tour was the last to tender, but several other tours were waiting for their bus. Our bus was waiting and soon we were speeding off to Edinburgh.
3: At end port we have seen fields of gold and green. The golden yellow fields is oilseed rape used to make cooking oil. The fields of green - without grazing animals - would be barley. Mostly for cereals, but 35% is for Scottish Whisky. We saw a lot of farming animals - sheep, cows and pigs.
8: Palace of Holyrood, the official residence in Scotland of her majesty the Queen | Our guide
9: Normally the tour would include a tour, but some of the Queen's court was in Scotland on business..
10: We took pictures through the gate before beginning our walk uphill to Edinburgh Castle
11: We saw many guards in their kilts walking about along with a soldier in uniform
12: The green hil is Holyrood Park and does not allow cars except for the Queen, who drives herself through the park with her little dog. The modern building next to it is the Scottish Parliament. Each taxi seems to be a moving ad.
13: Along the side of the Scottish Parliament was a walk full of different saying - some in English and some in the native Gaelic language.
14: We slowly made our way up the Royal Mile pointing out some of the building as we walk by and told us the history.. One home,Quennbury Place. James (2nd Duke of Queensberry) lived here with his children. His eldest son, Lord Drumlanrig, existence was kept secret for many years. He was considered a 'wild madman', and lived chained up in it's ground floor. James was a very unpopular in Scotland after he accepted a 12,325 bribe to push through the 1707 Treaty of the Union with England. Whenever he left his house he would have to take bodyguards with him. During evening out, James returned home to a scene of horror. Lord Drumlanrig had 'gotten out' and was devouring the flesh of a young kitchen boy who was still roasting on the spit! The home is now part of the New Scottish Parliament.
19: Corner home is the oldest Edinburgh Royal Mile mansion belonged to John Know and Mary Queen of Scots. Windows were placed where needed, not were it looked good from the outside.
20: A 'Close' is a narrow opening with another exit. A 'court' does not have an exit, but is shared by all homes in the court. Named for first family that lived there..
22: St Giles Cathedral established 14 century
24: Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher and a pioneer of political economics. key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment and consider as the father of modern economics. | Parliament House, which is situated close to St Giles Cathedral, was the home of the Scottish Parliament from 1640 until its union with the English Parliament in 1707.
25: Side of St. Giles Cathedral has been one of Edinburgh’s religious focal points over for 900 years. It is dedicated to St Giles, patron saint of cripples and lepers – a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. Oldest parts of the building are 4 massive central pillars dating from 1124.
26: Over the years many chapels, referred to as 'aisles', were added, greatly enlarging the church and leaving it rather irregular in plan. In 1466 St Giles was established as a collegiate church. In response to this raising of status, the lantern tower was added around 1490, and the chancel ceiling raised, vaulted and a clear storey installed. | St Giles front entrance
28: Walter Francis Montagu Douglas Scott was particularly remembered for building Granton Harbour on Firth of Forth. This cost more than 500,000 and was located within the estate of one of his houses, Caroline Park in northern Edinburgh. His statue was built in front of St. Giles Kirk in Edinburgh in his memory.
29: The heart shows the spot where the gallows were located and where Brodie met his fate.
31: The gate was unlocked to give us an opportunity to see how the small courtyard looked.
32: Some of the walkways were very narrow.
34: Since our tour could not visit Holyrood Palace, we will visit the interior of Edinburgh Castle perched on an extinct volcano, Its story is Scotland's story.
35: Edinburgh’s Castle rock has been a stronghold for over 3000 years. Archaeologists have found evidence for human occupation of the Castle Rock reaching back to 900 BC, the late Bronze Age.
36: The views of the town below were amazing! We arrived just before Master Gunner fired the 1 PM cannon fire..
37: Fired almost every day since 1861, it is a tradition remaining from the days when it was a time signal for ships in the Firth of Forth and the port of Leith.
39: Below is the 12th-century St Maragret's Chapel
40: We were able to see the Changing of the Guard at The Scottish National War Memorial. Opened in 1927 as a tribute to those killed in the First World War.
41: The building occupies the site of St Mary Church, built in medieval times. The exterior emphasizes the nobility of those who fell, with statues representing Courage, Peace, Justice and Mercy. At the center, a figure rising from a phoenix symbolizes the survival of the Spirit.
44: Apart from the main building we found a pathway leading down to more buildings.
45: It provided more great views of the city below.
50: One side is field of gold - rapeseed oil. The other is field of green - barley.
52: Seals hanging out on the rocks | Views leaving the port | We spotted an old castle on one of the little islands
53: Can you guess what this is? We had to ask - it's Nessie - Loch Nest Monster | The top deck is pretty empty - makes you think we had the boat to ourselves. Nope - it's more than a tad chilly up here. I need to go get my coat!
54: By morning, Nessie became a turtle. We once again start seeing islands but surprise - we see drilling rigs as well close to shore. We may have even found the cave with pirates treasure.
57: The battle of Culloden Moor took place on 16 April 1746.The gunners of the Hanoverian army bombarded the Jacobites as they tried to charge. | The entire Jacobite army at Culloden Moor was killed in 40 mintues. Any that managed to flee to neighboring villages were hunted down by the Hanoverian troops and slaughtered along with those harboring the fugitives - even innocent women and children. . | The only surviving building after the battle was the Old Leanach Cottage which has been refurbished to look like it would have done in the 18th century. The surrounding barns were burnt down when Government redcoats found 30 wounded Jacobites seeking refuge within them. So they barricaded the barn and burnt the Jacobites alive.
59: Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around the legendary holly-tree. A magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale Castle, and just what every visitor is looking for ... Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day.
60: Although the House has evolved over 600 years, later additions mainly of the 17th century were all built in the Scottish vernacular style with slated roofs over walls and crow-stepped gables of local stone.
61: Since we were not suppose to take pictures inside, only a few somehow made it on my camera.
62: The legend says that Lord Cawdor was visited by an angel and told to put all his gold in bags on a donkey. Wherever the donkey stopped he was to build his castle. | The bags were heavy and the donkey wouldn't budge from under the thorn tree | After many attempts to move him, Lord Cawdor decided that must be the place to build. Even though the thorn tree died, it is still in the basement.
63: Many garden surround the castle including a hedge maze.
79: Urquhart Castle was one of the largest strongholds of medieval Scotland, and remains an impressive structure, splendidly situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness. It is also near the castle where the majority of Nessie sightings occur. | The earliest history of the castle may begin in the time of St. Columba in the 6th century, when the predecessor of the castle may have been mentioned in Adomnán's Life of Columba..
80: It is not known precisely when the castle was built, but records show the existence of a castle on this site from the early 1200s. The area had been granted to the Durward family in 1229, and most likely the builders of the castle. . | It was certainly in existence in 1296, as it was captured by Edward I of England at this time.
81: The castle was then largely destroyed in 1692 by Williamite troops who had been holding the castle against Jacobite forces. | Their intention was to ensure the castle could not become a Jacobite stronghold, an intention that was fully achieved as the castle was never repaired and remained as a ruin.
84: I went to the top hoping to spot Nessie, but no such luck.
96: From the main tower we could see the mounds of yellow sticker bushes growing on the hill. These native sticker bushes were everywhere - including gold courses. Needless to say, if a ball was hit in the bush - It stayed in the bush..
97: The small marching band played from the bus parking lot all the way down to the dock. They played several songs while we prepared to leave. As we pulled away, they completed a song and waved goodbye.
98: Our last day is at sea - time to pack for the trip home. | We passed an active oil field as the water changed from deep to light blue. Wayne tackled the wall in the cold wind. He quickly made his way up and rang the bell.