Edinburgh

I think I mentioned in my last post that we were going to drive to Edinburgh via some of the border towns, but it wasn’t to be due to the traffic. Instead we drove into Edinburgh to do a quick reconnaissance before we caught up with our lovely hosts for the next couple of days, Judith, of @sewover50 fame, and her husband Robert.

You’re not in Scotland unless the street artists are in kilts and playing bagpipes!

img_5057-1.jpeg

We walked the length of Princes Street and Mark, who has never been to Edinburgh before, was clearly overwhelmed by the beauty of some of the buildings, judging by the awestruck exclamations I was hearing. This is the Sir Walter Scott statue on the edge of the Old Town.

IMG_4137 I love the way the buildings are all perched on top of crags and dominate the landscape.

IMG_4140

The Old Town is a jumble of medieval buildings all crammed in together, and I guess they are aimed at the tourists as they are mostly selling touristy things. I took a load of photos but it was hard to capture entire buildings because of the size and the fact that I wasn’t prepared to stand in the middle of the road!

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_486b

Of course Edinburgh Castle is on the must see list, and it didn’t disappoint. Beautiful views were had from the ramparts.

IMG_5068

IMG_5061

IMG_5063

and I was fascinated to see the dog cemetery in a little garden. I still have memories of this view from when I visited as a child.

img_5065.jpeg

Edinburgh Castle played a pivotal role in Scottish history as Kings and Queens made their home there, and obviously as a fortress. Queen Mary’s jewels are on display, together with the Stone of Scone, which I’m told is pronounced “Scoon”. Speaking of pronunciation, we’ve been mispronouncing place names everywhere we go. Some of the names I seem to have embedded in my memory, but others are a mystery to me. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the Crown Jewel section, so you’ll have to trust me that they are rather lovely.

Everywhere we went in the Castle we were reminded that it was primarily a fortress housing a garrison of soldiers. The canon, Mons Meg, is an example of this. The canon is the largest gun ever fired in anger on British soil and was obviously rolled into battle, drawn by many horses.

IMG_5071

The oldest building is the tiny chapel used by Queen Margaret. It must have been just her and her minister as there is very little room in this building, although it looks bigger from the outside.

IMG_5077

We visited the room where James VI and I, the first king to rule Scotland, England, and Ireland was born and it is miniscule. It is wood panelled and does have some very nice decorative features.

IMG_5078

We visited Calton Hill and Nelson’s Monument. Some monument! We’d spent the whole walk up to it speculating as to what it could be. Not in my wildest dreams would I have guessed.

IMG_5036

I couldn’t decide which photo I liked better, so you got both!

IMG_5031

Judith had suggested that we visit the Dovecot Studio which is housed in an old bathhouse, which had been neglected and then restored. The swimming pool is now an area for tapestry weaving, with a viewing area above. You can see its origins in this photograph

IMG_5098

It was fascinating to watch these talented artists create quite different works of art. They worked in pairs

IMG_5091

and alone, and there seemed to be different versions of tapestry going on. IMG_5095

Here is a panel depicting some of their beautiful work.IMG_5102

We made our way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is a pretty special building.

IMG_5108

With other magnificent buildings nearby.IMG_5105

We admired the new Scottish Parliament building, and whilst it is a striking building, we were a little surprised at the lack of attempt to integrate it into the Old Town architecture.

IMG_5109

We visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery with Judith and Robert, and I was entranced with the library, IMG_5111

as well as the gallery around the staircase.

IMG_5113

Mark found the home of Robert Louis Stevenson and couldn’t resist attempting a visit.

IMG_5117 2

New Town is in stark contrast with Old Town, being set out in a neat neoclassical grid, with beautiful Georgian terraces.

IMG_5118

Judith and Robert introduced us to this area, and the lovely Royal Botanic Garden contained within which we were thrilled to find a tapestry exhibition and whilst I was pleased to see some Tunisian Crochet gobelin stitched pieces, Mark found a piece which he felt summed up his life! Don’t feel sorry for him – the kitchen is one of his happy places apparently.

IMG_5121

So many inspiring pieces and I’m definitely getting my loom out when I get home. This piece is made from scrap fabric.

IMG_5123

This was an interesting piece with lengths of wire attached to the wall with petals strung along the wires.

A5A50472-7CDA-40D5-9588-BA0773BFF8F7

Judith and I admiring this breathtaking piece. The cream warp pieces are just joined with gold wefts in places creating this beautiful pattern. It shimmers.6F3CD21B-EAD0-4EE5-A37A-BD5CB24E94EB

The gardens themselves are a delight, with the usual themed sections. This photograph shows two of my loves – rhododendrons and a waterfall.

IMG_5125

I had never met Judith before (except on Instagram) and was quite surprised when she invited us to stay, but rather thrilled, as I felt we would become firm friends in real life, and so it was. She and her husband, Robert, are interesting, fun and really relaxed. We posed for funny photos

3B82DB56-38CC-4C18-B735-4DEF9957B3BD 2

Had drinks down by the wharf in Leith.

IMG_5041

And then I found this grafitti which had to have been modelled on Judith!

IMG_5132

We had the most wonderful two days staying with Judith and Robert and I really can’t express our gratitude for their generosity and kindness. Our trip to Edinburgh would not have been nearly as rich without their help.

Whilst we were staying with them I realised that I had misplaced some jewellery. When it couldn’t be found I came to the slow (and horrible) realisation that I had left it in Leeds eight days prior. Both Mark and I could visualise the flat black box sitting on a black table. I had fortuitously made note of the housekeeper’s number so rang her, and she immediately said that it was locked in the lost property cupboard.  It needs to be said at this point that the jewellery was not especially valuable, but it was rather precious to me. I confess to being rather surprised when Mark told me that we were driving from Edinburgh back to Leeds to collect it. Here I am looking happy after collection from the apartments we stayed in.

IMG_5137

We then looked for accommodation whilst we drove and I was quite amused to find that we were getting closer and closer to Edinburgh, finally settling on a B&B in an old granary in Huntlywood – a round trip of some 9 hours! On the way we enjoyed fabulous scenery and I was thrilled that we were able to visit Jedburgh which we had missed on the way to Edinburgh the first time. It has the most beautiful and peaceful Abbey and although it’s a ruin, it’s the centrepiece of the town.

IMG_5148

 

The Abbey is really beautiful and surrounded by some lovely buildings. The Abbey was founded by King David I of Scotland in the 12th century. It suffered many attacks by the English and was destroyed several times. As with several other Abbeys, it survived the Reformation of 1560 by becoming a Parish Church.

IMG_5145

 

We found Mary Queen of Scots House tucked down a side street and what a hidden delight this is! It dates from the 16th century and is a simple, but beautiful, stone building, containing a bastel-house, which, according to my dictionary, is a fortified house especially on the English and Scottish border usually having its lowest floor vaulted.

IMG_5161

The gardens are also magnificent. The thing that interested me is that this has free admission, which is most unusual.

IMG_5155 2.jpeg

We went straight from our accommodation to drive the Fife Coast to St Andrews, which is my next post as this one is quite long enough.

 

 

 

 

Fadanista

18 thoughts on “Edinburgh

  1. I love Edinburgh and was lucky enough to work there twice back when I was a dancer. Looks like you had a great time – will you be heading this way? You’re a long way from London, but it seems you’re not afraid of clocking up a few miles!

    Like

      1. That would be great, I’m mostly free at the beginning of the week… direct message me on Instagram if you’d like to arrange a meet up!

        Like

  2. I’m enjoying your posts. It’s so interesting reading others’ perspectives of things we know well. I didn’t know about the Dovecot Studio, though – that’s on my list for the next time I’m in Edinburgh. I lived in Edinburgh prior to moving to Newcastle upon Tyne, where I still am

    Like

  3. Such a captivating post, full of adventures! How lucky you were to meet up with Judith. I love your fun photo, it reminds me of some we took!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s