Another busy few days here in Glasgow. Today is Sunday. Friday we went to Edinburgh so we were out early (early for us anyway), on the train to Glasgow and then the tourist bus to get a birds eye view of all the sights. We stopped off at Edinburgh Castle and saw as much of that as we could. So many people there – thousands pouring in and out in both directions. The queue for the crown jewels was horrendous, so we gave those a miss but saw the great hall, the royal apartments, including the room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to King James (I’m a fan of that period so always interested in information from that time), replicas of Mary’s stitching that she did during the time that she was in exile and just generally walked about the place getting a feel for it. The views are fantastic and seeing how the castle is constructed on top of that rocky, volcanic outcrop is amazing. I couldn’t get a good photo with my little camera that did justice to the sight of it as you approach, so this one is from the internet:
Some more views of the castle from inside the walls:
Copies of Queen Mary’s tapestries:
Once we’d seen the castle it was back on the bus to complete the tour and then meet Irene at the Scott Monument – apparently a popular meeting place in Edinburgh. We hoped we’d be able to find it ok – and then we saw it….
….couldn’t really miss it, could you? That gave us a laugh…
Met Irene with no hiccups and went off on the no. 22 bus with her to Leith for lunch in a lovely little pub called the Roseleaf…
…where they have a collection of hats you can hire to wear while enjoying an afternoon tea…
And then we had a walk around Leith itself which is lovely. Only a little way outside the city, but a whole different feel to it. Situated on the coast of the Firth of Forth at the mouth of the Waters of Leith, it has a maritime history and still handles cargo to this day.
The Waters of Leith:
The Merchant Navy Memorial:
The Merchant Navy Memorial stands in a beautiful, open space. It is finely decorated on all 4 sides with depictions of seafaring life. Leith was chosen as the site for this because it was Scotland’s premier port for more than 300 years and served as Edinburgh’s trading port for more than 700 years. The memorial also aims to recognise the 132 years of service dedicated to the Merchant Navy by Leith Nautical College between 1855 and 1987 with its training ship, the Dolphin.
The memorial was designed by artist Jill Watson and made at Powerhall Bronze.
The Signal Tower:
The Signal Tower stands on the corner of The Shore and Tower Street. It is one of the oldest buildings in Leith. It was built in 1685-86 by Robert Mylne. Originally it was a windmill.
In 1805 its domed roof and sails were removed and it was topped by battlements. it was used as a signal tower from which flags were displayed to let ships entering the harbour know the depth of water at the harbour bar.
Life size sculpture by Lucy Poett of Sandy Irvine Robertson, founder of the Scottish Business Achievements Award Trust.
Ornamental gates at the dock:
Statue of Robert Burns:
We left the house around 9 am and returned at 8pm, so it was a long day. We decided we would have a day at home to recover on Saturday, but got up to the sound of a marching band outside, so got dressed and dashed out to see what was going on. We just missed it, so went for a bit of shopping that we needed. Got back (up the 51 steps to the flat) and unpacked the shopping only to hear the band returning, so dashed down again to see it. All this before we even thought about breakfast! The band was the orange lodges marching – and there were some lively characters in amongst the marchers.
Later on in the afternoon there was an informal group playing traditional Scottish music in the Babbity Bowster over the road, so we went down again to see that. The musicians just turn up to play together as long as they want, some go and some more come and it’s open to anybody for as long as they want to be there, so it was back down the 51 stairs again to see that and up again at the end. There were 13 of them at one point and the numbers dwindled until there was just one guy on a tin whistle. Great night though. We got chatting to a couple who live in the suburbs of Glasgow and were in for a shopping day and a few drinks. Good company, good conversation, good music and a great vibe. I must say, I am loving Glasgow. Need to get about and see the rest of it now.