After our visits at Annan and Duns we travelled to Edinburgh for a 2 day visit in this historic city.
Monday September 19th (clear in am cool, misty in pm and some mist in evening)
Had a great day today, took 2 bus tours, the first one went to Edinburgh Castle. The castle was amazing, we had a guide take us around telling us about the history of the castle and then we visited some areas on our own. This Royal Castle has been the residence of Scotland's Kings and Queens. The monument to the soldiers killed in battle in the WW’s (Honours of the Kingdom Exhibit) was very beautiful. Also there was a Royal Scots monument with books listing the names from each regiment who were killed. There was a Queen Margaret chapel that is very old (the rest of the castle was sacked but this chapel was saved). We saw the prisoners of war dungeons.
St. Margaret's chapel, the oldest remaining section of the castle.
We saw the Scottish Crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny which had been in England.
Here is Brian at the Mons Meg siege cannon that is shot off every day at 1pm.
We then took the bus tour to the Holyrood Palace. This is the official residence of the Queen when she is in Edinburgh. We took the tour thru the Royal Apartments where the royalty eat, sleep, entertain and just relax. The Palace is best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and was the setting for many of the dramatic episodes in her short but turbulent reign. Also there was an old Abbey that was just ruins, very beautiful with many old graves. Also we walked thru the Queen's gardens, very peaceful.
We took a third bus tour back to our hotel area. Ate at the Tass tavern where we met some nice people from Seattle and also some others from San Diego.
Tuesday September 20th (blue skies, in the 60's - a bit windy but not bad.)
This morning we checked out of our Travelodge. Packed the car, then hopped the tour bus to the Royal Yacht Britannia tour. This Royal Yacht was used by the Queen until 1996 or 97 when it was decommissioned (cost too much). Now it is on display for the public and we got to see all the rooms and cabins used by the Queen and Prince Phillip as well as guest rooms (Bill Clinton, Ron Reagan) and the honeymoon suite where Prince Charles and Princess Diana spent their honeymoon. The ship was gorgeous and the furniture/china/silver, etc were very opulent. Very enjoyable tour.
After the tour we tool one last walk down the Royal Mile, I bought an Edinburgh University sweatshirt.
A park along the River Forth:
Arthur's seat, an extinct volcano:
Sir Walter Scott's monument. In 1814 his novel Waverley, based on the Jacobite Rising was an instant success and over the next dozen or so years he wrote 23 historical novels.
We then got the car out of the car park and drove out of Edinburgh and took the city bypass to the Firth of Forth bridge and passed over the firth (views were spectacular) to the Kingdom of Fife where we drove along the firth then crossed thru to St. Andrews.
We had dinner at the Playfair Pub and after dinner we walked over to the Royal and Ancient Golf Clubhouse of St. Andrews (lit up at night).
Hope to play a round at the New Course tomorrow. We couldn’t make the tee times tonight. The dinner was very nice, 2 pints of lager, Brian has a ribeye steak and I had chicken stuffed with haggis! It was very good. Brian thinks it tastes a bit like liver, I thought it was good. Brian then had a choc’n nut meringue ice cream sundae. I had a few spoonfuls, very good but my dessert was a cup o’ tea.
Wednesday, September 21st (blue skies, about 65 degrees but very windy)
Had a lovely breakfast at the Arden House, went to St. Andrews and got tee-off times for the New Course. This course is very similar to the Old Course, it runs alongside the Old Course, it is a links course with lots and lots of deep sand traps and acres of fescue/thicket patches. It cost us 60gbp to rent clubs and 116gbp for the green fees. We golfed with a couple from Quebec, Guy and Denise. Brian shot 80 and I shot 110. The fairways were cut very short and the greens were very fast. The course was not long but did have a lot of trouble. We had a good time.
Hotels along the course:
Brian and I ready to tee off on the New Course:
I was in these bunkers far too often - ended up throwing the ball out on more than one occasion!
The Royal and Ancient Clubhouse:
Brian and I on the famous bridge on number 18.
Had a pint of lager after the round with our new friends. It was a great experience to golf at St. Andrews, I was in the bunkers 3 times and could only get out once. I lost 1 ball, Brian lost 3. Brian says that there are harder courses in Canada and the US and in better overall shape but we are glad that we played golf on a British style course and where golf began. Went to dinner at the Grill House. Very good meal with free drink. I had a frozen margarita just as good as the ones in Clare, MI.
Thursday, September 22 (windy and sunny - misty rain in the pm)
Left our farmhouse Mill House after a fine breakfast and went back into St. Andrews where we walked the entire 18 holes of the Old Course. On #9 we saw a guy drive, then putt from 70 yards off the green, and then sank his birdie in the RNA championships, these were the 8 and under handicappers. The wind was 40mph and in theirs and our faces on the back 9. After our walk we bought some souvenirs then we visited the ruins of St Andrew's Cathedral, a very old ruin with very old graves. By 1150 St Andrews had assumed the leading role in the Scottish Church and by 1410 it was the home of the first university in Scotland. There is an abbey wall all around the city and we walked along the sea, saw a rainbow in the mist.
We then drove along the fife Coastal Scenic route and stopped in Pittenweem where we had a scone and tea at Lachan Mohr Pub as suggested by Tony. Maureen was our waitress and she says to say hi to tony. We took pictures of the harbor there and the homes along the wharf and hopefully we got Tony’s Aunt Joan’s house in one of them.