Sunday, 9 June 2019

I have been to... Edinburgh

We recently went up to Edinburgh for the Marathon Festival and as Jills event was on Saturday and mine on Sunday, we thought we'd make a long weekend of it and take in some sights.

First up was a trip to the castle.

The weather was kind (all the rain blew away!) and we were treated to amazing views over the Forth.

18pdr battery (the Argyll battery facing north).

And the one o'clock gun, a rather more modern 105mm. Despite listening out, I never actually heard it fired at one o'clock.

St Marys Chapel, the oldest surviving part of the castle (it was largely razed in the 1300s, all apart from the chapel)

Mons Meg. I'm puzzled as to how it was aimed, as it has no trunnions or elevation gear. Presumably jacked up on some sort of platform.

Another 18pdr battery, the Forewall Battery facing east back along the Royal Mile. The Half Moon battery is visible in the distance.

A couple of famous Scottish Kings! There was lots of other interesting stuff on the Royal Apartments.

These were the Braille versions of the Honours of Scotland (the actual crown jewels were in a case next door).

Charles II

Mary Stuart

Bonnie Prince Charlie

James VI and James I

The Royal Apartments from outside.

And directly opposite, the Scottish National War Memorial.

The Great Hall was really impressive. It has been lovingly restored after Cromwell vandalised it,  turning it in a barracks by inserting two extra floors into the building.

Lovely displays of armour.

And various edged and pointed weapons.

I was particularly taken with this wheel of pistols and pair of two handed swords. Interloping tourist demonstrating the size of the swords.

Along with the Scottish crown jewels, the castle is host to the Scottish War Museum. Douglas Haig is on duty outside.

A rather nice 25pdr graces the entrance. All the various bits and pieces are rather more colourful than I usually paint them.

Haigs uniform, medals and death mask.

Along with various items of kit, the museum has some great paintings and posters.

General Campbell.

The Thin Red Line at Balaclava. Those Russian cavalry seem to be awfully close!

I rather liked this one of 51st HD planning their attack at El Alamein. The CO seems to be standing on the map though.

The gate at Hougoment, featuring lots of wild eyed Frenchmen trying to break in.

The Battle of  Camperdown.

Back on the Royal Mile are various statues of notables. I was taken with this one of Adam Smith. Whatever you may think of the current shambles, one of the great thinkers of the modern world.

We also visited Marys Close, a network of seventeeth century streets entombed under more modern construction. Sadly no photos underground were allowed, but his model gives an idea of what lay beneath (minus the roofs). We were very amused to note that lath and plaster walls and ceilings from the early seventeenth century seem very similar to those found in the cellar of our house.

We also visited the National Museum of Scotland, which was a real delight. This was one of the older display halls.

It had an Autogyro hanging on one of the walls.

As well as various aircraft hanging up in one of the other halls, including this nice Auster.

This is one of the earliest surviving steam trains, built in 1813.

Something more modern, Dolly the sheep. The first successful clone.

Anchor chain from the Mauretania.

A Mark I Mini, ther first one to be sold in Scotland and number 527 off the assembly line. My glamorous assistant providing some scale. My mum had a van version of this (in the same colour), my brother and I used to slide around in the back on bits of foam rubber. Seat belts? No thanks.

More of the flying planes.

The Auster again, with a Tiger Moth behind.

In a slight change of pace, we finished off with a trip round a gin distillery, and a certain amount of sampling of the wares.

We did also manage to fit in a bit of running, so deserved a treat.

I made it into the top 3,000 (out of 11,000), so considering my ever advancing years, I was pretty pleased.


  1. I remember when the One o’clock gun was a 25pdr. Possibly the one now in the museum!

    1. The 25pdr was in suspiciously good condition, so yes, it could well have been.

    2. I have a friend of a friend who worked for the people who look after various military artefacts.

      Apparently there were several 25 pdrs in circulation around various locations as they were called in from time to time for maintenance.

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