Monday, 29 August 2011

21-23 August Stirling, St. Andrews and Edinburgh Castle

Well my Mom came over to visit and see some of Scotland during my final few days in the country. We went all over the place and really got to see some of Scotland's famous places. There will be two posts about our trip. The first one will cover our day-trips in Stirling, St. Andrews and Edinburgh. The other post will be all about our trek into the highlands and over the sea to the Isle of Skye.

Sunday August 21st I put on my tour guide shoes and we set out into Stirling. Our first stop was Stirling Castle then the old bridge and then a wee tour of the university. Here are a few highlights from Stirling.

Royal Palace and garden at Stirling Castle
Climbing the rocks around Stirling Castle
Planking around Stirling Castle
Royal bed chambers 
Stirling Castle seen from Stirling Bridge
The Bruce and the Wallace Monument
Stirling Bridge
Stirling Castle from the western side
Andrew and The Bruce, not sure where my smile went.
Dumyat from Airthrey Castle
Airthrey Castle at Stirling Uni.
Monday we set out for St. Andrews, which is known for being the home to the oldest golf course in the world. Additionally, St. Andrews has played an important part in Scotland's history and many of today's cultural artefacts can be tied back to this area. St. Andrew's Cathedral, established in the 12th century, was once the largest cathedral in all of Scotland and housed the relics of its patron saint. The cathedral was over 350 ft. long and was the seat of the archbishops until the Protestant Reformation in 1560. The chancel and St. Rule's tower dominate the skyline around the ruins and create a picturesque setting overlooking the North Sea.  After we toured the ruins of the cathedral, we walked over to St. Andrew's Castle.  This castle was the home of Scotland's archbishops until the reformation, when it began to fall into disrepair. It was the site of many political and religious battles which influenced the monarchy and church of the day. The castle also features a medieval mine-countermine siege works under the castle walls.  These mines were used to gain access to the castle so that protestants could kidnap and kill the archbishop.  After the castle, we strolled over to the northern part of the town to The Old Course.  The golf course has been used for sport for over 600 years.  Additionally, it plays host to the The Open Championship every decade or so and many of the world's top golfers consider it the standard bearer for all of golf. Many of the game's greatest moments have taken place at The Old Course and it continues to grow in popularity and mystique. I enjoyed St. Andrews because there were lots of places to climb. Here are a few highlights from our day in St. Andrews.

Andrew climbing on the rocks on the coast of the North Sea
Standing in the North Sea--it was cold.
Andrew, Jordis and Rachael 
Andrew on the beach with St. Andrew's Cathedral in the background
The mine-countermine at the castle. 
A nice resting place in the graveyard of St. Andrew's Cathedral 
Climbing the walls of St. Andrew's Castle
Andrew at the front of the cathedral
St. Andrew's Castle, Planked!
Clouds over the nave
Entrance to the cathedral down the nave towards the chancel
The chancel of the cathedral. 
Phonebooth classic!
Mom climbing up St. Rule's Tower
Mom on the ruins of the castle
Holding up the chancel and tower
The bridge at the Old Course.
St. Andrew's Castle from the shore.
University of St. Andrews--3rd oldest uni in the English speaking world.
Andrew on the Old Course
Panorama of the beach and North Sea--Click to get a bigger image

Panorama from St. Rule's Tower of St. Andrews--Click for bigger image

Panorama of The Old Course--Click for bigger image
Tuesday we went to Edinburgh Castle and the Wallace Monument.  Edinburgh Castle was nice and a good stop for Mom's tour of Scotland.  We arrived just in time to watch and HEAR the One O'clock Gun. Mons Meg, St. Margaret's Chapel, the Stone of Destiny and the Crown Jewels were highlights of our tour of the castle. Afterwards, we walked the Royal Mile and were intrigued by the sights and sounds of the Edinburgh Festival.  Once we returned to Stirling, we went up to the base of the Wallace Monument and enjoyed the views overlooking central Scotland. Enjoy some of the photos from our day out.

Andrew on a boulder up Abbey Crag
Arthur's Seat and Scott Monument from Upper Wall at EDI Castle
Royal Palace at Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh
Mom at Edinburgh Castle
Upper Wall of Edinburgh Castle towards the chapel

Battle of Waterloo in the Great Hall
Stained Glass in St. Margaret's Chapel (Oldest building in Edinburgh)

Looking down the Royal Mile
Scott's Monument
The Bruce at the gate of Edinburgh Castle
William Wallace stained glass in St. Margaret's Chapel
Andrew walking towards the Upper Wall
Mom at the base of the Wallace Monument
Mom walking towards the Wallace Monument
Mom at the top of Abbey Crag with Stirling Castle in the background
William Wallace-Guardian of Scotland
Panorama of Edinburgh from the castle walls--Click to enlarge photo
Well that wraps up the first few days of our wee trek around Scotland. Check back soon to hear about the Isle of Skye and my final few days  in Scotland.

Sincerely,
Andrew

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