And what a fabulous view you can get in every direction from the castle – Arthur’s seat, the volcanic outcrop, the city spread out below you, and in the distance the Firth of Forth and the Fife mountains. And at one o’clock, don’t forget to put your fingers in your ears when the gun (originally a cannon, now a howitzer) is fired. The tradition began in 1861 to provide ships in the Firth of Forth with an audible time signal so that they could set their chronometers accurately.
Between the castle and Holyrood Palace (the official residence of the monarchy) is street known as the Royal Mile (which actually includes 4 different streets). It was the route travelled by kings and queens between the palace and the castle, hence its name.
Down below the castle is Princess Street, one of the main shopping streets, although the shops are only built along the north side of the street. On the other side are gardens, allowing an uninterrupted view of the castle.
There are many different statues in Edinburgh, probably the most famous being the ornate memorial to the author Walter Scott in Princess Street. Near him stands David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, who was the first European to see the Victoria Falls in Africa. My favourite statue is the one of ‘Greyfriars Bobby’. Bobby was a Skye Terrier, who is said to have sat by his owner’s grave for 14 years from 1858 to his own death in 1872.
One of my abiding memories of Edinburgh is picking up four Girl Guides (together with their huge backpacks) at Waverley Station one Saturday morning. With three of them in the back of my car nursing the backpacks that wouldn’t fit in the car boot, my car was weighted down at the back, and I had to join a line of traffic on a steep street leading to Princess Street. Every time I had to stop and then start edging forward again, I feared the car would roll backwards with all the weight. I breathed a sigh of relief when we eventually reached Princess Street!