Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
We bought timed entry tickets to the Castle the night before. We're allowed in at 9:30, so we had an early breakfast and then began to hike. We climbed up the Playfair Steps and this time I counted them (85). Like I mentioned yesterday, the street that goes to the Castle also goes straight up. It's cobblestone and has a handrail which we used to pull ourselves up. The climb was so difficult for us, I couldn't imagine English soldiers hiking there only to attack it in full armor. I guess that's why it's the most besieged castle in Great Britain. It's much easier to starve the defenders out than attack a castle on the top of a volcano!
Right in front of the entrance to the Castle is the Tartan Mill, which I desperately wanted to visit. I'd researched it two years earlier when I started making kilts for the family. But we didn't have time to visit it properly before our timed entry, so we saved it for another day. The Castle was a lot like the Tower of London with the exception of it being built on top of yet another EXTINCT VOLCANO! (430' above sea level and 260' higher than the surrounding landscape.) We were so high up in fact, that there was no wifi signal and there's free wifi everywhere in Edinburgh. That was one of the nice things about Edinburgh compared to London--no free wifi on the mean streets of London.
Here's a model of the Castle, so you can see just how extensive it is and also how it's just sitting right on top of a giant volcano!
The cool thing about this castle was that there had been a castle there since the 11th C. We bought the guide book but now that we're home and I'm actually writing this in September, I can't find it anywhere. I'm writing all this from memory and my journal entry, which was pretty brief.
The castle had many cannon guarding every wall, plus the biggest one ever that was named Mons Meg. it weighs 6 tons and could fire a 330 lb. stone up to 2 miles.
Besides Meg, there was also several WW2 anti-aircraft missiles. One of them shoots a blank every day at 1:00pm so that the townspeople can set their watches by it.
The nicest part was the dog cemetery. Officers are allowed to have dogs and when they die, they bury them in the dog cemetery.
Mostly the castle housed a memorial to WWI and WWII soldiers, which was sad.
But also, prisoners were housed there for a time, so we got to see the dungeons. There were giant fake rats decorating the place with recordings of "prisoners" talking to each other in many different languages. They were actually pretty nice. They weren't isolated from each other, they got hammocks to sleep in, they got to hang their laundry up to dry, and they got fed pretty well. In 1811 49 French prisoners of war hacked their way through a wall and lowered themselves down on ropes. All but one escaped that way. They didn't mention if that one guy stayed behind or fell to his death. The hole is still there. During WWII they continued to house prisoners of war here. I guess none of them were brave enough to escape that way.
Just like the Tower of London houses the British Crown Jewels, the Edinburgh Castle holds the Scottish crown jewels, which we got to see, but were not allowed to photograph. There was kind of a costume gallery showing the history of the Scottish Kings on the way to see the jewels.
The oldest part of the Castle is St. Margaret's Chapel, which had some lovely stained glass.
It cost $17 each for tickets to the Castle.
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