Monday, May 20, 2024

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Scotland

As I wrote in my last post on Edinburgh, Scotland, Part One, our wonderful tour of "The Highlights of Ireland and Scotland" was coming to a close as our last city to visit was Edinburgh.  On this last day, we were taken by a motor coach to Edinburgh Castle at its location on the high volcanic Castle Rock formation.
Edinburgh Castle has played a prominent role in Scottish history and has served as a royal residence, an arsenal, a treasury, a national archive, a mint, a prison, a military fortress, and the home of the Honours of Scotland - the Scottish regalia. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, the castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745.


Our tour group was eagerly anticipating entering the gates. We had a special tour guide who would highlight key areas of interest and share the castle's history.

I noticed that two famous Scottish Warriors guard the entrance to Edinburgh Castle--Sir William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, the statue that wears the crown. The statues were erected outside the castle in 1929, though the men had been celebrated for centuries before. Both were prominent leaders during the First War of Scottish Independence, which began in 1296 and lasted roughly three decades.

Sir William Wallace, famously depicted in the Braveheart movie, was one of the first Scottish leaders to revolt against King Edward I of England. After winning the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, he was knighted and named a Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland. He continued to fight against English rule until his capture and brutal execution in 1305.

In 1306, Robert the Bruce declared himself the King of Scots. Like Wallace, he fought bravely during the war. However, unlike Wallace, Bruce had royal ambitions that fueled his desire to free the Scots from English rule. After years of successful guerrilla warfare, his battles and raids eventually led to the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton in 1328. This treaty recognized Scottish independence under his rule, until his death a few years later.

The immensity of the castle grounds became apparent as we climbed the hill, higher and higher.

There were beautiful views of the city of Edinburgh from the top!

The upper area had the large Crown Square where we stopped to listen to our tour guide describe the assorted buildings around the square,

We toured the Royal Palace where the "Honors of Scotland" are kept in the Crown Room in the castle (no photos were allowed inside, but if you click on the photo collage above to enlarge it you can see some photos on the placards outside.)  The Honours of Scotland consist of the Crown of Scotland, the Sceptre, and the Sword of State which are from the 15th and 16th centuries. A more ancient item of Scottish royalty is the Stone of Destiny, which arrived at the castle only in 1996, 700 years after it was removed to England. The stone is a block of sandstone upon which Scottish monarchs were traditionally crowned.

The Great Hall, completed in 1511 for King James IV, is a marvel of medieval Scotland. Its wooden roof is considered one of the most superb in Britain, with giant beams resting on stones carved with heads and symbols such as the thistle – a badge of Scotland.

The Great Hall was the setting for grand banquets and state events. Today, after being restored to its medieval splendor, it showcases weapons and armor that hint at its military past.

We had some free time to walk around the castle grounds and see more incredible views.

St. Margaret's Chapel was built by King David I around 1130 and named in honor of his mother, Queen Margaret. Known for her charitable acts, Queen Margaret was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in 1250. The chapel features original ornate arches and more recent stained glass windows.

Located outside of the St. Margaret's Chapel area is "Mons Meg." It was once considered cutting-edge military technology. Given to King James II in 1457, the six-ton siege gun could fire a 150kg gunstone for up to 3.2km (2 miles). It is named after the Belgian town where she was made.

After many battles throughout Scotland, it ended its fighting days in King James V’s navy, retiring around 1550. After 75 years in England, Mons Meg made a glorious return to the castle in 1829. Cavalry and infantry escorted her from Leith Docks to Castle Rock.

We now returned to the lower level of the castle and exited.

A man in full Scottish regalia played the bagpipes along the Royal Mile outside.  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful visit to Edinburgh Castle!

Later, we took an excursion to see the retired Queen Elizabeth Royal Yacht Britannia--that will be on my next blog post!

You can also find me on:


Lydia C. Lee said...

Fab, fab! I still hope to get there for the festival. That all got cancelled for me last year. Mayvbe soon tho! #Anythinggoes

stevebethere said...

What an amazing post all the lovely photos as well thanks for sharing :-)

Have a haggistastic week 👍

Joanne said...

That does sound like a wonderful day! I love touring old castles and that view from the top is really spectacular.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,
Wonderful photos and an awesome tour of Edinburgh Castle!

Have a great day and a happy week ahead!

ellen b. said...

A wonderful thorough post about the castle with such wonderful photos, too. I've enjoyed your epic tour, Pat. We finally hit the buy button for our trip to Scotland in September. Hope you have a good Memorial weekend.

csuhpat1 said...

What a cool place to visit. Such history.

Handmade in Israel said...

What a great trip you had! Loved our day at Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. We went to the Military Tattoo as well. It was wonderful!

Handmade in Israel said...

What a great trip you had! Loved our day at Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. We went to the Military Tattoo as well. It was wonderful!

Lillian "sognafaret" said...

So amazing castle

EricaSta said...

Yes, I remembering BRAVEHEART, this cruel time. And Edinburh must be wonderful despite the rainy wheather. I hope, we can on e dasy visit Scotland... and of course Ireland again.

Another round of MosaicMonday in the middle of May... and I'm looking forward to your contribution again. More pictures this week that tell the story of your surroundings, of nature, of your everyday life. Pictures that also tell a story.

Thank you for your participation at MM. Have a good time, best wishes from Heidrun

PS: Thank you for your nice comment!

Joyful said...

An awesome trip. I've always wanted to do something similar but somehow I never made it.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

So much history in one place - thanks for the tour

Spare Parts and Pics said...

The castle is amazing, both inside and out. Wow!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great post, I love all your photos and information about the various buildings and rooms and what is in them. I remember being awed by the Castle and how high it loomed over the city and what a climb it was to the top but that is about all I remember now I read posts and realize what I probably missed during my trip years ago.

Cloudia said...

What a comprehensive and well-constructed post! I really feel like I've had a bit of a journey and learned a lot. Thank you aloha!

Rambling Woods said...

I remember visiting with my parents and sister....Michelle

Jim said...

Wonderful relics.

PaulaShort said...

I appreciate you sharing your tour with us. Just lovely and I'm happy you had a great day.
Visiting today from Talking About It Tuesday 21 #40,41&42

Babajeza said...

All theses wars until today. Eventually, there's always an agreement. What a waste!

The castle is impressive. I've been in Edinburgh once. We took the hop-on-hop-off-bus and toured the city.

Thanks for reminding me. Regula

Debra | Gma’sPhoto said...

What a fascinating trip. Thank you for sharing these images.
Take care and best wishes.

Lorrie said...

What an informative post on Edinburgh. I've heard it's quite a walk up the hill to the castle. We are visiting from a cruise ship, and the castle will be closed when we're there. But there will be other things to see, as well.

Photo Cache said...

May I reiterate how great this trip was!

Worth a Thousand Words

Laura | Everyday Edits said...

Hi Pat,
Great reveiw! We just got back and loved the history of the Castle.
So much to see and not enough time! We loved Scotland! Have a wonderful summer.
Can't wait to see your garden!

Soma @ said...

Edinburgh is one of my favourite old cities. Great photos and sounds like you had a fabulous time there.


Rambling Woods said...

How beautiful....Michelle