Friday 11 February 2000
Highlights: Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Crown Jewels, Underground vaults
We got into Edinburgh just before 12 noon and managed to find a reasonable hostel that wasn’t on our map.
Today we visited Edinburgh Castle, one time residence of the Scottish Kings and almost always a Royal Stronghold. The Castle is situated on top of a large hill overlooking the city. It is difficult to approach and in the past almost impossible but despite this the Scots and English have lost the Castle to each other.
The visual impact of the castle is impressive which has existed in different forms since the 9000s with the oldest surviving part being built in 1130. The usual Royal residence is at Holyrood which is at the other end of the ‘Royal Mile’.
Perhaps the Castle is most famous for the birthplace of James VI of Scotland and later James I King of England the first joint monarch James was the son of Mary Queen of Scots. The Castle gives some fantastic views of Edinburgh but that view suffered today from the icy cold gale winds, even colder at this height. The Castle has also served as a prison especially during various wars.
Currently Edinburgh Castle houses the Scottish Crown Jewels. These jewels are old than the ones in London as Oliver Cromwell could not get his hands on the Scottish Crown Jewels to melt down like he did with the English ones. The jewels include the ‘Stone of Destiny’ used in coronations since 679 AD and still used today.
We finished the day with a Ghost and Witches Tour. The difference with the other similar ghost tours we had been on is we got to visit underground vaults. The guide was very good at scaring the group.