Ahh Edinburgh, the big old grey city with a wealth of history and a rich Scottish culture. I know cities tend to just be the same, but there’s just something about Edinburgh that makes it unique. It might have something to do with the huge castle plonked on top of the hill overlooking the city, I don’t know :p We arrived into Edinburgh after a reasonably short drive from the Lake District. It was exciting crossing over into Scotland – a first for me! We even stopped on the side of the highway and snapped a selfie with the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ sign. It was about 5pm once we reached our accommodation for the night, which was an apartment just five minutes from the Old Town. They were called Holistic Apartments and they were lovely on the inside, but the outside wasn’t exactly what you would call ‘holistic’. But with a double bed and a washing machine, it was all we needed.
After settling in we drove into the Old Town and walked up the Royal Mile to check out the Edinburgh Castle. The sun was settling past the big old grey buildings, which created a golden light over the ancient castle. The cobblestone streets glowed golden and the distant sound of bagpipes made the Scottish capital morph from the harsh, cold city into a beautiful old style town.
The Royal Mile was buzzing with people and the search for a dinner spot was difficult as most restaurants were filled up with people. We eventually settled on the No. 1 High Street Bar, which served lovely fish and chips. Mum and I also dared to try the unappealing haggis, which I must admit was actually not that bad. But maybe that’s because it was served as a mince with mashed potato. If you just pretended it was regular mince, you could almost call it delicious. We headed back to our apartment to do some more washing and research of what to do the following day. We woke the next morning to fog as thick as pea soup. Despite not being able to see twenty metres ahead, we got organised and set out for the morning’s activity, hiking to Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is the highest peak in Holyrood Park. It peaks at 250m above sea level, which gives you a fantastic panoramic view of Edinburgh. Or at least, that’s what I hear. Mum and I took on the mountain despite the heavy fog; in hopes of the sun deciding to appear once we reached the top. In typical blonde fashion, we decided to take the steep track up because it looked shorter. However with the fog making seeing any further than 20 metres ahead impossible and our total lack of knowledge on where to walk, Mum and I ended up taking the longest route possible. We reached what we thought was the Seat, however it was actually the highest point. Not satisfied, we continued walking and reached a crossroads with absolutely no idea which one to take. There are no signs on this hill, at all!
We asked a fellow walker and he pointed us in the direction of the steepest route, typical! We hauled ourselves up the many stairs, pausing to catch out breath and look out into the thick fog for a possibility of seeing the city below us but no luck. We continued on until we reached the actual Arthurs Seat. I’m sure the view would have been fantastic, but we could only see grey, thick fog.
Breathless, sweaty and tired, we headed back down the hill to find that we had taken the longest route possible, and could have been at the top within half and hour. Ahh well, the cardio was good for us!
We got back to our apartment and quickly showered and packed up in time for check out. Our first point of call was our course, coffee, as well a dirty big cream cake for Mumma Bear as a reward for climbing the mountain 😛 After coffee, we walked up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle where we handed over our 18£ to walk through the old castle.
Edinburgh Castle has believed to be on Castle Rock since the reign of David I in the 12th century. It was used as a royal residence until the 15th century when it was used at military barracks. The castle has had a pretty rough life, but today it serves mainly as a tourist attraction and the home to the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. We spent over an hour walking through the castle, learning about the history and marvelling at how intact it was. We were treated to a hilarious history lesson in the Great Hall by a Scot in a kilt, who threatened to reveal the truth behind the ‘what do they wear under the kilt’ mystery!
As usual, time was escaping us and we had places to be. We headed back to the car and navigated our way out of the city centre, not before launching ourselves onto a tram line and bus and taxi only zone! Getting out of Edinburgh didn’t take long and before we knew it, we were back to zooming past green paddocks and cute little towns.
Our next stop for the night is Anstruther, a small fishing village before climbing up to the top of Scotland towards Aberdeen! J. x