I jumped to Chester without posting about my exciting visit to Edinburgh Castle. So, let’s take a step back and talk about this fascinating stronghold. Edinburgh Castle sits upon an ancient volcano. It’s perched on towering volcanic rock which sits at the top of the Royal Mile. The good thing is you can stop at several pubs as you hump it up the hill. I had to stop several times and was very glad I did.
The castle has a fascinating history. According to my tour guide, the castle has a history going back to the Iron Age. This would be around the second or third century AD. The castle also played a vital role the Wars of Scottish Independence and the Jacobite Uprising. What I learned was that the castle changed hands between the Scots and English throughout the centuries. Mary Queen of Scots was coordinated here but she was also forced to abdicate the thrown during her tumultuous time as Queen.
Once you enter the castle, you will walk up a stone paved ramp and and walk through an inner gate. Once you walk through the gate you will see the cannon aide overlooking the city.
Each day at 13:00 hours, the castle guards will shoot the cannon (pictured above). Previously, the thunder of the guns would let local citizens know what time of day it was. Now it is done for more ceremonial reasons. And it’s good for tourism.
The oldest building in the castle is the St. Margret’s Chapel. It is situated at the very top of the fortress. I recommend stoping by. It’s a very unique building and some religious services are still held in the small chapel.
Infront of the chapel is Mons Meg or Muckle-Meg. This is a huge cannon which was a gift from Philip the III, Duke of Burgundy to King James II (according to my guide book). This is a monstrous cannon. During the 17th century the cannon cracked and could no longer rain death on her opponents.
Behind Mons Megs is a building dedicated to the servicemen and woman of Scotland who served during the First World War. I was not allowed to take pictures but I encourage anyone to take the time to walk through the memorial. It is well worth the time.
I spent a good 30 minutes viewing the memorial and headed to the Great Hall which is adjacent to the memorial. However, Edinburgh’s Great Hall is not as jaw dropping as the Great Hall in Stirling Castle, but it worth viewing.
Overall, I had a nice time at the castle. I learned a lot about the Scottish Wars of Independence, Mary Queen of Scots (her rise and fall), and of course of Mons Megs. I did not mention that there is a dungeon in the castle. It once held American sailors that were captured by the British Navy during the American Revolution.
For more information on visiting the castle go to: http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk
After you leave the castle the walk down the Royal Mile is much easier as compared to walking towards the castle. However, I do recommend stoping at a few more pubs after you leave to chat about what you had just seen and where you plan to go next.