Forth Bridge and Forth Road Bridge in east central Scotland
Grounds at Lauriston Castle
Princes Street Gardens in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland
Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock
St. Giles Cathedral
Chillin’ on the Firth of Forth.
Taken on the grounds at Lauriston Castle.
Governor’s House-Edinburgh, Scotland
The only remaining part of Calton Jail. At one time, it was the largest prison in Scotland.
How would you like to join me today for a stroll around the grounds of one of the prettiest castles in Scotland? Oh good, I’m so pleased! I promise that you are going to love it.
Today we are in Edinburgh at the oh-so-lovely Lauriston Castle.
Just a quick history of the castle: Lauriston’s tower house – the original construction on the left – (see picture below) was built by Sir Archibald Napier sometime around 1593 and the pretty Jacobean-style extension was added in 1827. Over the centuries, the castle passed through numerous hands until it came into the possession of its final owners – William and Margaret Reid. The Reids acquired the property in 1902 and lived there until Mrs. Reid’s death in 1926. Because the couple had no children, they left the castle to the city of Edinburgh under the condition that it be preserved unchanged. And so the promise was kept. The remarkable Edwardian interior, filled to the brim with their fine furniture and artwork, is now a museum maintained by the city. For a nominal fee, you can take a guided tour of this home (uh, castle) which remains exactly as it was at the time of the Reids. The manicured grounds, which boast a view of the sea and a stunning Japanese garden are a real bargain – free! Lauriston truly is a gem in Edinburgh.
The photos that follow are from Mr. C’s and my first trip to Scotland, which we took in the month of May. The weather that day was magnificent. I think you will see that with scenery like this, it was impossible not to fall crazy in love with the place.
I do hope you will enjoy today’s pictorial blog.
It was our first time in Scotland and the end of our trip. After two weeks of near perfect May weather, our last day met us with a chill. Rain came down, fog rolled in, and it was a precise reflection of our mood. We were sad. More than that. We were downright melancholy. For at that time we had no idea whether we would be able to return to Scotland. Was this a once-in-a-lifetime thrill? Did we just fall head over heels for a place that we would never again lay our eyes upon? It is, after all, an expensive proposition to fly almost 6,000 miles and to lodge and live in a foreign country for two weeks. And to my way of thinking, if we can’t go for at least two weeks, then why bother going at all. It is a long, expensive journey to only take a small taste of the place. And I don’t want only a taste! I want a whole, heaping plate full.
Feeling glum, Mr. C and I decided to get out for awhile rather than sulk about our morning flight home. So, we did a little shopping, attended a wonderful afternoon church service at Grace Church Leith (an overwhelmingly emotional experience for we two sad saps), and finally, as the weather cleared a little, we made our way over to Holyrood Park.
It. Was. Breathtaking.
It was magical.
It was bittersweet.
“Mary, Queen of Scots entered the room where she would be executed. She told her friends and servants to ‘rejoice rather than weep for that the end of Mary Stuart’s troubles is now come … tell my friends that I die a true woman to my religion, and like a true Scottish woman and a true French woman.’
Mary was disrobed; her black garments were removed, revealing an outfit of deep red – the Catholic colour of martyrdom. She knelt down on a cushion, resting her head on the block, before stretching out her arms and crying in Latin “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” The axe came down, but landed on the back of her head rather than her neck. A second blow cut into her neck but a third was required to sever the head completely.
When the executioner lifted Mary’s head it tumbled onto the stage, leaving him holding her wig. Her hair was short and completely grey due to years of stress as a prisoner. A final surprise was waiting for the executioner – Mary’s little Skye terrier had been hiding under her skirts, soaked in blood.” –Laura Brown, Historic Environment Scotland
Hello again, my friends. I hope this day finds you well. I also hope that you are not too annoyed with me if ‘Proud Mary’ has gotten stuck in your head. That song has been playing on a continuous loop in mine for the last two weeks! Perhaps publishing my article today will be the magic that makes it quit.
So, today we are going to pick up where we left off in my previous blog about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots.