O Flower of Scotland

We arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday 11 July after a short flight from London’s Gatwick airport and made our way to another fantastic B&B on Pilrig Street. En route we caught up on some Scottish facts. Did you know that the official animal of Scotland is the unicorn, Edinburgh was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade and Scotland has the highest proportion of redheads in the world? Around 13 per cent of the population has red hair, with 40 per cent carrying the recessive gene.

Scotland also has three officially recognised languages: English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic and we soon discovered (after trying to take directions from a local) that their English doesn’t quite sound like what we’re used to at home (in the end we took a taxi to find our accommodation)! 

We woke up to stunning weather on Friday and set out to explore Edinburgh on foot. We walked up Calton Hill for our first glimpse of the city before making our way to Holyrood Park.

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We walked up the hill towards Arthur’s Seat but unfortunately took the wrong track and had to return to the bottom of the hill and start again in the opposite direction. The panoramic views from the summit were well worth the extra effort though and we got some great shots!

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After lunch we toured the Real Mary King’s Close, a warren of underground streets and spaces in the Old Town that were originally open to the skies. We then set out to find a pub that was showing the cricket so Ed could catch up on England vs Australia in the Ashes. The Three Sisters became our regular over the next few days for cricket updates, food / drinks and free wifi!

To end the day we took a picnic to the laundromat and caught up on a couple of loads of washing. Cider in hand we watched our socks and jocks spin around and around and had a surprisingly good / unexpected date night. 

On Saturday we walked through the New and Old Towns to a little farmers’ market and sampled tablet (similar to fudge but with a brittle texture, basically just sugar) and checked out chic vintage boutiques on Grassmarket.

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Our next stop was Greyfriars Kirk and the statue of Bobby, a faithful dog who lived beside his master’s grave for 14 years.

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We also stopped in at the Elephant House, the birthplace of the Harry Potter novels, for a cup of tea. Unfortunately we didn’t spot J K amongst the tourists. 

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In the afternoon we spent a couple of hours exploring the National Museum of Scotland. Highlights included: Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell; and the Lewis chess pieces, carved in the 12th century. 

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We then caught up with beautiful Phoebe Brown and her partner Paul for cider, cocktails, ‘crisps’ and a divine seafood dinner at Fishers in the City. Thanks for a brilliant nights guys!! 

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We took a little while to get moving on Sunday after a night out on the town and made our way up to Edinburgh Castle late-morning. Ed queued for an hour or so for tickets and we joined a walking tour upon entry to learn more about the fortress, palace, military garrison and state prison. 

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Highlights included: Mons Meg, a giant medieval siege gun that once fired a gun stone almost two miles; the Stone of Destiny, a relic of ancient Scottish kings seized by the English and returned in 1996; and my first taste of whisky! We returned home via the Water of Leith (a river walk) and totaled 29,379 steps for the day! 

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