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A wee trip to Scotland...

Actually, it was a week's cat sitting gig in Edinburgh, then a three-day jaunt to the Isle of Skye.





Edinburgh castle

This is looking at the city from Edinburgh castle

view from Edinburgh castle

whereas above ▲ and here ▼ it's looking up at the castle from the city.

Edinburgh castle

The Scotch Whiskey Experience – where you learn about the distillation process and taste a few – has a collection of 3,384 bottles, the oldest of which dates from 1897.

Bottle collection


As with scotch, Scotland wouldn't be Scotland without these guys. They play incessantly in the tourist areas, but somehow are necessary to the experience.

One story goes that bagpipes were effectively weaponized in Scottish history that is rife with war, constantly being invaded by the Vikings from the north and England from the south. Bagpipers lined sides of a valley where invading forces were marching in. Music would stop when the invaders stopped, restarting when movement recommenced and getting louder as they neared the defending forces, effectively telegraphing enemy movement.



Bobby's pub



Great story tellers, Scots love the one about Bobby, the terrier, who guarded his master's grave for 14 years. When he died, he got a grave of his own – complete with sticks people bring in tribute to dog play. (It took special dispensation to bury an animal in Grayfriars cemetery.) Bobby also has a pub.

Bobby's grave


Another is the story of half-hangit Maggie Dickson. As was common to maids, she got pregnant by a son in the household where she worked, but to keep her job she concealed the pregnancy and gave birth in secret. She said the baby was born dead. When the body was found it was traced back to Maggie. She was publicly hanged, left suspended the usual 30 minutes, then carted off in a coffin.

When the driver heard noises coming from the coffin, he found that Margaret was not dead but trying to get out. She was going to hanged again, but a valiant lawyer intervened citing laws against double jeopardy. She opened a pub not far away from where she was originally hanged.


Maggie Dickson's pub


Holyrood castle is where the Queen hangs out when she's in Scotland.

Behind it is Arthurs Seat, the remains of an ancient volcano which purportedly makes for a lovely hike and great views of the city. I did not climb it due to lousy weather the day I was in the eastern part of Edinburgh. It was the week of Ophelia, the Atlantic hurricane that rattled Ireland. It had tamed by the time it got to Edinburgh, but all the same, Scotland's lousy weather reputation was well substantiated.


Botanical Gardens

The one sunny day I had I headed to the Botanical Gardens, a must see in my book. Just look at this hedge. Plants are studied scientifically as well as enjoyed for the sheer diversity and way it's laid out.

Edinburgh's dingy, brown-grey buildings were a bit of a disappointment at first.

Come to find out, they are made of sandstone, the light color in photo at right. Years of burning coal results in the grayish color to the left. Since sandstone disintegrates when sand blasted, it can't be cleaned like Paris restoration efforts.



EU protest  

Another issue you can sympathize with is Scotland's unsure EU status. Here students protest Brexit's resulting unsettling status.

No one knows whether EU and UK citizens will be able to stay in the countries where they live and work.  If they are allowed to remain, under what conditions?

All in all, I found Scots warm and witty. Whether ale and scotch are responsible remains debatable, but hey...

Isle of Skye | Elsewhere in Scotland | Food


See other of Linda's travels