We were up and out early this morning, with every intention of getting to Edinburgh by lunchtime. And once again, we were distracted by other interesting things along the way.
We stopped at Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven – a seaward fortified castle and abbey complex. It wasn’t open, but we got a great view of it from the steps that ran down to the water, and gave our legs a bit of a workout getting back up to the car afterward.
The next stop was at St Andrews, the home of golf. We stopped in to grab something to eat, and instead spent an hour looking at the abbey and castle there. They were really cool.
At one point in the 14th century, St Andrews Castle was under siege. The attackers could not get in through the front gate, so they concocted a plan to dig a tunnel under the front entrance of the castle and blow the gate up. The attackers tunneled through the solid rock for over a week before the people in the castle realised what they were up to and dug through from inside the castle walls to meet them in the middle. The guys inside the castle had to dig a couple of tunnels before they got the right spot. Through solid rock mind you. One imagines they had nothing much else to do, sieging being a long and boring business as it is.
Stephen heads down the tunnel, storming the castle!
St Andrews itself is a lovely town – a seaside village with one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious universities. It felt every much like a university town, with lots of young people wandering around.
Eventually we made our way to Edinburgh, with plenty of time to have a poke around the castle before heading to the pub for dinner. The castle is surprisingly small really, but that’s in comparison to some of the huge castle complexes we saw in North Wales and Scotland. It’s kinda sad that most tourists don’t venture beyond Edinburgh into the north. Although Edinburgh is the most complete castle we’ve seen, it’s not the most magnificent. I think that would be a dead heat between Stirling and Chepstow in Wales. Now, they were castles!
The best thing about today was the weather. The sky was clear all day and the sun was warm. It was so nice to wander around in the warm sun and just soak it all in.
Mmmm…at the entrance to the inner bailey at Edinburgh Castle