Edinburgh, Scotland


This weekend I spent a few days in Edinburgh, Scotland.  This has been one of my favorite weekends to date!  Scotland is gorgeous! As soon as we got there, we went on a walking tour of the town.  On the tour we got to see many of the big sights including Edinburgh Castle, the cafe where JK Rowling wrote most of the first two Harry Potter books, the cemetery where she got some of the names for the books, and many of the churches.  After the tour, we went to a little pub where I tried haggis for the first time.  It tasted delicious, and I enjoyed it as long as I didn’t think about what it was made out of (leftover sheep organs all mashed up and stuffed into its stomach and boiled for four hours).  That night, we went on a ghost tour of Edinburgh.  Edinburgh is one…

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On the hunt for Edinburgh’s Ghosts

it's that little feeling of ... Wanderlust

Back in June I visited my friend in Edinburgh. After not seeing each other for over a year it was promising to be a pretty exciting affair. Sure enough, as I hopped off my train and made my way down the platform towards her she almost walked past me…Ok, I haven’t changed that much have I? :p No really, she was just looking further into the distance so all was forgiven 😉

Having lived in Edinburgh for a good year I had the perfect tour guide to show me the town. And, oh behold, the good weather must have followed me from London because we had sunshine for the most part (one very very cloudy day on Arthur’s Seat) while I was there. Sunshine in Scotland?? Yep, I was as amazed as you are.

So what do you do when it is not raining in Scotland? I can’t…

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Scotland Travel Photos

Peace, Love, and Jetlag

On Friday morning, we stopped in the town of Stirling and visited the castle. For the majority of this trip, we’ve been lucky and dodged the rain. This morning was a different story, as it was cold, windy, and rainy. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. This was the best I could do in the wind and rain!

The castle overlooks a hill where the monument dedicated to William Wallace (a.k.a. Braveheart) is located. Below is one of my attempts at a picture of it, but I couldn’t get a very clear shot because of the weather. The castle and palace were lovely. In the middle courtyard, you can see the outline of the foundation of the chapel where Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months old.
















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Edinburgh Castle

Peace, Love, and Jetlag

I hit up Edinburgh Castle first thing Tuesday morning. They have optional guided tours inside the castle that are included with your ticket. I joined one of the tours and learned some interesting things about the castle. There is a time-gun in one of the castle’s batteries that is fired at 1 PM every day. Apparently, it’s fired at 1 PM instead of noon so that they can save on ammunition. There is also a 6 ton cannon called Mons Meg that has a range of two miles. It was said that it was so heavy, it would take a team of a hundred men a day to haul it only 3 miles! Some of the cool things you could see inside the castle are the Scottish Crown Jewels (the Honours of Scotland), the Stone of Destiny, and the room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI…

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I Love Edinburgh!

Travels with the Blonde Coyote

Now this is my kind of city! Edinburgh is built on the remains of an extinct volcano. The main outlet of the volcano, known as Arthur’s Seat, towers above Old Town, while Edinburgh Castle sits on a second vent of indomitable black rock. Most of this city is carved out of dark, mafic dolerite. I love cities where the Earth is apparent underfoot, unconcealed by an overdose of concrete.

Stay tuned for another view of the city from the Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat!

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Scotland Travel: Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle

St. Margareths Chapel, Edinburgh

English: Edinburgh Castle as seen from St Cuth...

English: Edinburgh Castle as seen from The Mou...


Edinburgh Castle is situated on Castle Rock in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Castle Rock formed after a volcano erupted over 340 million years ago. The first castle that existed on the rock was known as “The Castle of the Maidens”. According to legend, the castle had been a shrine to the “Nine Maidens”, one of whom was Morgan le Fay.


Castle Rock had been a military base and royal residence for centuries. However, the edifice that is known as Edinburgh Castle was built during the 12th century by David I, son of Saint Margaret of Scotland.


The tensions between the English and Scottish monarchies nearly always centered on Edinburgh Castle. He who held the castle held rule over the city of Edinburgh and, therefore, over all of Scotland. Consequently, the castle was almost constantly under siege.


The first major battle the castle witnessed was during the late 13th century when Edward I of England attempted to seize the then vacant Scottish throne. From 1296 to 1341, the castle bounced from English to Scottish hands several times during the First and Second Wars of Scottish Independence.


After the Wars of Independence, the castle was in great need of repairs. Most of the construction was overseen by David II. In his honour, David’s Tower was erected.


In 1571, English forces laid siege to the city of Edinburgh in an attempt to capture Mary, Queen of Scots. The siege, which lasted for two years, became known as the “long” or “Lang” siege. By February of 1573, all of Mary’s supporters had surrendered to the English. During the Lang Siege, David’s Tower was destroyed.


The castle, again, witnessed strife when, in 1650, Oliver Cromwell executed Charles I and led an invasion of Scotland. In August of that year, Edinburgh Castle fell into English hands.


During the Jacobite Risings (1688-1746), the Scots attempted, several times, to recapture their castle. Unfortunately, they were never able to overpower the English. The final attempt was in 1745 when the Jacobite army was led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). Although the Scots were able to capture the city, they were never able to lay siege to the castle. In November of that year, the Jacobites were forced to retreat.


From the late 18th century to the early 19th, Edinburgh Castle was used to hold military prisoners from England’s many wars. The castle became a national monument in 1814 after a mass prison break proved that the castle could not hold prisoners. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the castle was slowly restored. Military ceremonies began to be held there and, in 1927, part of the castle was turned into the Scottish National War Memorial.


Edinburgh Castle is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. The more than one million people who visit the castle each year witness military ceremonies, historical re-enactments, and can visit sites such as St. Margaret’s Chapel and the Great Hall of King James IV.

NJ to the World

I never thought I would have ended up in Scotland. Only a few years ago, it would have been completely off my radar in terms of potential places in the world that I’d want to visit. But after meeting a student from the University of Edinburgh in Richmond, I decided to give it a shot. Prior to the trip, my extent of knowledge about the country stemmed from little more than my repeat watching of Braveheart— God, I love that movie. What a soundtrack! Anyway, luckily I was more or less pleasantly surprised by what I found. The capital city of Edinburgh was especially a nice surprise– a beautiful, medieval, quiet city located on Scotland’s east coast. Here I explored grand castles, walked snow-covered city streets, climbed mountains, met Dolly the Sheep, and learned to correctly pronounce the city’s name (no, it is not “burg”, the rest of you…

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