A castle under siege? No, it’s just a mob of soaking wet tourists, on their way into Edinburgh Castle. On this blustery, rainy day, I joined them.
The 12th century castle overlooks the city of Edinburgh from it’s perch atop a dramatic volcanic rock that was formed around 70 million years ago. It turned out to be a good spot for a fortress that was, indeed, under siege during centuries of battle between English and Scottish monarchies.
I don’t know if it was the rain, or the wind, or the fact that I had just disembarked from an overnight flight, including a ten mile journey through London’s Heathrow airport – but everything was funny to me on this day.
Consequently, please excuse this slightly irreverent account of the illustriously historical citadel.
With this disclaimer, off we go.
The law of the land was posted just inside the entrance.
And, around the corner, I saw this.
This long suffering steward looked like he’d had just about enough of the rain, but stood his ground next to Mon’s Meg. In 1457, when she was given to King James II, this was cutting-edge military technology. The six-ton medieval gun last unleashed its mighty power in 1681, bursting open when she was fired.
I looked over a parapet to see this quaint little cemetery – for dogs. Since Queen Victoria’s reign, in the middle of the nineteenth century, this small garden has been used as a burial place for regimental mascots and officers’ dogs. Among the reportedly numerous ghost sightings at the castle is a phantom dog who has not only been seen, but heard.
Behold, the royal drainpipe. Okay, yes, it’s just a drainpipe – but it’s pretty fancy, isn’t it?
The lion has been a symbol of the “dominion and sovereignty of the Kings of Scotland” since the 13th century Royal Coat of Arms was established.
You’ll see it above the arched entrance to the castle in the first photograph – and the “ruddy lion ramping in his field of gold” also appears on the royal tourist rain ponchos.
The magnificent panoramic view from the castle stopped me in my tracks at every turn. From this vantage point, you can see far and wide, over the rooftops of beautiful Edinburgh.
The actual sixteenth century Royal Crown Jewels are encased in glass within a stone chamber, but I couldn’t help admiring the handmade version this little girl was wearing.
Princes and princesses skipped across the cobblestones…
…to the Royal ice cream truck waiting outside the castle walls.
No ordinary ice cream for these royal subjects – it’s luxury Scottish ice cream. I couldn’t help wondering how luxury ice cream tasted, but, let’s face it, the last thing I wanted on this chilly day was ice cream.
As for me, I took one last look at the legendary fortress, and the view through the mist…and then went in search of a steaming hot cup of tea.