St. Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle
Day 2 Edinburgh, July 24
Lovely, lovely day. The weather is perfect and we’re in Scotland! Our first full day. There’s a nice little breakfast place next door to the hotel good for a cappuccino and scone. From there it’s an easy 10 minute walk to Edinburgh castle. It’s about 10am and there’s bustle on the Royal Mile as the street vendors open readying for the onslaught of tourists. I keep trying to picture the Edinburgh of 300 years ago. Much of the architecture remains, St Giles Cathedral dates back to the 1400s, it would be considered old to the people in the 1700s.
The narrow, dark “close” we take to get from our hotel on Cockburn Street to the Royal Mile is stark with very little sign of modern life, high stone walls and worn stone steps. I’m sure it’s a bit cleaner than it was in the 1700s though.
Our walk to the castle is about 10 minutes, we have tickets from the hop on hop off package, so no lines. Audio guide in hand we walk into the past – if I can erase the crowds (taking pictures with iPhones, video cameras, foot long lens, and selfie poles).
View of Edinburgh from the castle
The castle is well preserved, well organized and the audio guide easy to follow. St Margaret’s Chapel is the oldest building on Castle Hill and actually the oldest in Edinburgh. It was constructed by King David I, let fall into ruin and restored in 1990. It’s very small and simple without much adornment, but their are lovely stained glass windows and simple but pretty alter.
Coming out of the chapel we heard a bag pipe playing. There was a young boy tucked into a corner of the wall expertly playing with his father beside him. The pouch for the pipes was on the ground beside him set back from the path. I thought he should be further out and have the pouch more available for people to put money. A small boy walked up and put a coin in the pouch. A short time later I talked to the father who explain that he wasn’t there to play for money, he was warming up to play at his cousin’s wedding in the chapel! He was 12 years old and had been playing for 4 years.
We thoroughly enjoyed touring the castle, the crowds were manageable and the weather is brilliant.
We’re finding we’re running out of time as usual and make the decision to go to the Museum of Scotland first and hope to make it to Holyrood before it closes at 4:30. We leave Edinburgh first thing tomorrow so we won’t have time. Must return to Edinburgh someday!
The Museum was very interesting and that will be the next post. We did get to Holyrood and it was closed. Not enough time in Edinburgh!