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The United Kingdom

Edinburgh

sunny 40 °F

We were supposed to fly home today, but with the bad weather and late in the day flights, there was a high probability that we would get stuck in Atlanta or JFK, neither of which was desirable. So, we explored some more of Edinburgh.

Our first stop was the Queen's Official residence in Scotland, Holyrood Palace. Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining. Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. The 16th century Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public throughout the year, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.

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After a bite to eat in the adjoining cafe, we headed to a much less visited, but wonderful castle - Craigmillar Castle - on the outskirts of town. The Preston family of Craigmillar, the local feudal barons, began building the castle in the late 14th century and building works continued through the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1660 the castle was sold to Sir John Gilmour, Lord President of the Court of Session, who made further alterations. The Gilmours left Craigmillar in the 18th century, and the castle fell into ruin. Craigmillar Castle is best known for its association with Mary, Queen of Scots. Following an illness after the birth of her son, the future James VI, Mary arrived at Craigmillar on 20 November 1566 to convalesce. Before she left on 7 December 1566, a pact known as the "Craigmillar Bond" was made, with or without her knowledge, to dispose of her husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. Craigmillar is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Scotland.

We had a great trip having driven 1345 miles. Scotland is up at the top of my list along with Ireland of my favourite countries.

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Posted by rpickett 08:38 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged edinburgh Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Glencoe to Edinburgh

semi-overcast 49 °F

Last night a cold front came through, and the highlands of Scotland got its first snow of the season on the mountain peaks.. but the air was clear and little rain. We left our hotel and headed through the highlands - a summit of 1140m - to Edinburgh. The scenery was spectacular and after the highlands, we had a bite to eat at one of the several cruises on Loch Lomand. The Loch is a freshwater Scottish loch which crosses the Highland Boundary Fault, often considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. Traditionally forming part of the boundary between the counties of Stirlingshire and Dunbartonshire, Loch Lomond is split between the council areas of Stirling, Argyll and Bute and West Dunbartonshire. Its southern shores are about 23 kilometres (14 mi) northwest of the centre of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. The Loch forms part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park which was established in 2002. Loch Lomond is 36.4 kilometres (22.6 mi) long and between 1 and 8 kilometres (0.62–4.97 mi) wide, with a surface area of 71 km2 (27.5 sq mi). It is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area; within the United Kingdom, it is surpassed only by Lough Neagh and Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, although within the British Isles as a whole there are also several larger loughs in the Republic of Ireland. The loch has a maximum depth of about 153 metres (502 ft) in the deeper northern portion, although the southern part of the loch rarely exceeds 30 metres (98 ft) in depth. The total volume of Loch Lomond is 2.6 km3 (0.62 cu mi), making it the second largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain (after Loch Ness) by water volume. The loch contains many islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles. Loch Lomond is a popular leisure destination and is featured in the song "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond". The loch is surrounded by hills, including Ben Lomond on the eastern shore, which is 974 metres (3,196 ft) in height and the most southerly of the Scottish Munro peaks. A 2005 poll of Radio Times readers voted Loch Lomond as the sixth greatest natural wonder in Britain.

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Posted by rpickett 10:11 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged edinburgh to glencoe Comments (0)

The United Kingdom

Edinburgh

all seasons in one day 54 °F

Yesterday we made the 237 mile trek from Chester to Edinburgh. All but the last 40 miles were on one of the main motorways, which are better than most US interstates. As we entered Scotland we came in to standard Scottish weather - rain and mist....but you don't come to Scotland for the weather!

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This morning we took a 2 hour van tour around Edinburgh. This was a great way to get the feel of the old and new city. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the supreme courts of Scotland. The city's Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences and engineering. It is the second largest financial centre in the United Kingdom (after London) and the city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.

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This afternoon we made the trip to the fabulous Edinburgh Castle. A true wonder of the world, still in use today. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".
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Posted by rpickett 08:46 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged edinburgh Comments (0)

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