Good day. The rain has threatened to return with moody skies peering down. I adore these skies. This weather thick, moist, and life-giving. Some say it makes for grumpy attitudes, but we’ve not experienced that at all. Though I have been informed, it is because we are tourists others are kind to us. I am friendly so likely that has something to do with it as well. No matter. I like it here very much.
This day we decided to head to Edinburgh. A custom kilt in the ancient hunting Ross tartan for the husband to pick up and a wee castle on the hill to investigate.
Edinburgh is quite traffic filled like any city of larger populous. Convoluted streets and poor signage made it quite interesting. Thank goodness my phone nav uses very little data. It, again, took us several wrong turns to get where we needed to be on the royal mile. These errors took us through some gorgeous neighborhoods that were very worth seeing.
Parking is very expensive in the area we needed to be. The kids are stunned at how much we are spending on non-tangible items. Boys we are not in Colorado anymore.
A couple of months ago we ordered my husband’s kilt from Hector Russell. I measured him to their specifications and now we would find out if measuring twice would make a properly fitted garment. An upbeat clerk helped my husband into all his gear. A. Perfect. Fit. (I will post photos of him in another post.) The Ross ancient hunting tartan is so much more beautiful in person. He looks fantastic in it. I cannot wait for him to wear it out. It is the last suit he will ever purchase.
With new outfit in hand, to the castle we trod.
Stirling Castle is amazing. Edinburgh Castle is mind-blowing in scope. Up a hill, a small town at the foot of the grounds, on the top of a hill, the castle looms. I imagine when in full swing, guards sitting in wait everywhere as we approach. Definitely not a hospitable entrance. A grand entrance though to be sure.
The scale of this place is overwhelming physically and emotionally. How did anyone ever scale those walls? How was anyone conquered who held the castle? I do know history well, but seeing it in person, changes my perspective on the challenges of attack and defense that seem so incredible 500, 1000 years ago. I try to think about working here as a maidservant or cook. Maybe a lady in waiting. There seemed little peace for any ruler of this place at any time in its history. Turbulent and tumult, always someone wanting to attack and take it away or back.
Going into the bed chamber and inner rooms where Mary Queen of Scots stayed is haunting. Trapped in utter beauty before abdicating and dying. I do not have adequate words to describe all my feelings in this place.
Photography is disallowed in many of the key spaces.
Walking the history of the royals, seeing the salvaged Scottish crown jewels, and the stone of destiny cause me to shiver. It is very real and not fairy tales. There is nothing like this in the US. To be in the presence of such historical things is truly inspiring and deeply evocative.
The great hall is luxurious and rich in color and wood. There is a singing group performing as visitors mill about.
The areas used as various museums bring us into recent history. We see the contributions of Scots in military service pre-UK and after. The Scots have a marked and vital military history to be sure.
The war memorial is a somber tear filled experience. I am happy to see how reverent visitors remained within that hallowed and space of remembrance.
I touch the walls, lean on them, closing my eyes. The stones have so many stories to share. I almost cannot believe I am here.
Tired and foot sore from the hours of exploration, we trek down the long hill to the car and back to cottage. I wonder if modern shoes are better than those of the past handling the stony uneven grounds.
We settle in for a bit until going out to meet up with Adhamh and his Friday night Gaelic hangout buddies in Glasgow. Three of the four boys passed out early so only the youngest boy came out in the rain with us.
Of course we got in late to the pub. Everything takes us a bit longer than a local to get to. My husband picked a West brew that was quite tasty for me to drink. Enjoying any type of ale, beer, lager, is a new thing for me. We all chatted. I was surprised to find out that I was swapping stories with Eilidh Grant. She is even nicer, funnier, and prettier in person than I expected. Embarrassingly it took me a bit to for sure realize it was her. Online photos and hair color always make for someone looking a little different in person. Loads of conversation, Adhamh sang a song or three, along with Eilidh joining in to sing the song they recorded together for the Yes vote last year. Pinching myself. Such wonderful people all around me. I also get to say hello and hug the moderator of the Adhamn O’Broinies group, Catriona Thobhais and Adhamh’s eldest daughter H. The parking meter is up and the 13-year-old is fading, we say our goodbyes.
People in my experience are often even better in person when you have an online friendly or acquaintance connection. I am blessed and thankful I make friends everywhere.
Heavier rain for the trip back to the cottage. Again, my husband is a rock star behind the wheel. Safe and sound to the farmhouse we arrive.
New friends, old friend. I go to bed very happy.
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