Thursday, 25 September 2014

Edinburgh Castle

We decided to start off with the castle. Our host served us a lovely Scottish breakfast of haggis and eggs and sausages (although I think by this time we were skipping the haggis because we were offered it with every breakfast meal). The castle sits at the top of a great hill called castle Rock and overlooks the city.

There were monarchs there since David 1 in the 12th centruy and they detail the history of the palce very nicely with these colorful signs.

Here is a view of the castle grounds and the panoramic view.

There are canons that look out in all directions over the city which you can see in the distance.

Here is one of hte many gates to the fortress.

Many of the structures are much newer, but they retain that harsh  fortress look.

There were sculptures of the lion and the unicorn on either side of the war memorial in the keep. They were made in the late 20s, but I quite liked the style.

This is the great hall. It is famous for having one of the two remaining hammered ceilings in Scotland.

It was used variously as a state room and later Oliver Cromwell turned it into a barracks (doesn't that just figure!)

The Victorians then added their usual bric a brac.

Outside 1929 versions of  Robert the Bruce and William Wallace have been added to guard the keep.

The details of the past are very convoluted, but this castle has been significant in Scottish history over the centuries.

I don't remember who this is any more, but I really liked the portrait.

This room has been restored (and perhaps not with the greatest finesse) but it is  interesting to see what it might have looked like in the past.

More castle keep.
 This looks out over the ramparts and you can see the many canons including the big gun that they fire every day at 1:00.

Here is a closer look at the so-called One O'clock gun.

I loved this little graveyard that you could see from the top of the castle keep.

Check out the sign. Isn't that sweet?

Of course the castle is also famous for the presence of the Scottish  crown jewels and the Stone of Scone.

They have a very nice presentation on the saving of the royal baby and the hiding of the royal jewels. This historic progression goes from 2d painting ...

to 3-d plaster models.  

There are dioramas elucidating Scottish history. Here we see the Scottish crown jewels being smuggled out when Oliver Cromwell ordered that all regalia be seized and melted down.The Scottish Honours were hidden and pretty much forgotten for 200 years until Sir Walter Scott and others found them in a chest in Edinburgh Castle.

We weren't allowed to take pictures of the Honours, so I scrounged these off the internet.


Behind them you see the famous Stone of Destiny or Stone of Scone. This stone has been brought to England for the coronation of all monarchs. Ask me how I missed seeing it (It is gigantic) and had to go back through the long line a second time in order to be able to say I had seen it!! ;-)

 All too soon it was time to go on to other sights and there were many interesting things to come!

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