Final week in Scotland…. .

As much as we would have loved to stay longer exploring the NC500 time was running out.  Edinburgh was always going to be on the list of places to visit in Scotland as neither of us have been there before and having read many books set in and around Edinburgh it would be a chance to get a feel for the city and see for ourselves all the landmarks mentioned.  We drove from Thurso to Edinburgh in one jump coming down through the Cairngorms which took pretty much all day but accompanied by spectacular scenery was a pleasant drive.

We pitched up at a Camping and Caravanning Club Temporary Holiday Site just inside the Edinburgh ringroad.  It was in an ideal location with a bus stop just outside which made getting into Edinburgh stress free and at £8 per night was perfect for us.  I was pretty bowled over by the sheer scale of the city with so much to see and do: Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, Arthurs Seat, Calton Hill, New Scottish Parliament, Scott Monument as well as many museums, galleries and exhibitions.  We always, though, like to see a city through its green spaces preferring to explore on the outside rather than the inside.  You are spoilt for choice in Edinburgh as it is chock full of green spaces.

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Outside Edinburgh Castle.

After walking the length of the Royal Mile linking the Castle to Holyrood Palace we had a stroll through the 640 acres of Holyrood Park and walked up the 250 metre hill known as Arthur’s Seat where you have panoramic views of the city and surrounding area below.

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View across Salisbury Crags to the city.
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New Scottish Parliament in the middle.

We had a quick peek through the railings at Holyrood Palace before climbing up Calton Hill with the half finished Parthenon at the top (started in 1822 as a National Monument to the dead of the Napoleonic Wars it was never finished as the wonga ran out).

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Holyrood Palace.
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Views back to Arthur’s Seat on the way up to Calton Hill.
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Turns out we needn’t have gone to Athens!

Then we went on through Princes Street Gardens to the broad Georgian facades of the New Town for a poke about.

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Scott Monument.
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Looking towards the back of the Royal Mile from Princes Street Gardens.

We finished up in one of the Wetherspoons pubs on Princes Street.  It seems that Wevs is where we always end up!  This particular one was in a grand building that had once been a bank which is where it got its name from – The Standing Order.

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The Standing Order – another Wetherspoons in a fine building.

The following day we stayed on the bus through the city and got off near the port at Leith.

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Leith.

P1130411.JPGThe historic port with a medieval core of narrow streets and warehouses dating back to the 13th and 14th Century is now home to luxury waterside flats, offices, restaurants and the Royal Yacht Britannia.

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As you have to pay £16 to get anywhere near the Royal Yacht Britannia the top of the multi storey car park sufficed as the cheaper option.

After a quick photo shoot of the Britannia from the top of the multi storey car park we picked up the Waters of Leith footpath to take us back towards the city.  The path runs 12.5 miles alongside the Water of Leith from the docks at Leith to Balerno.  We walked four miles or so of it from the docks to bring us out at Dean village.  The first couple of miles from Leith were ok but not that picturesque and because of ongoing building work the path has been diverted at various points.  Getting closer in to the city though it was just lovely, very leafy and green with pretty terraced houses lining the river.

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Waters of Leith footpath.

When we got to Dean village itself we felt we had just come into a medieval town in France.

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Dean village.
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Dean village.

Having really enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series of books, which chronicles the fictitious lives of its eclectic residents living in the apartments of a Georgian town house, I was keen to seek out where it was.  No. 44 doesn’t actually exist of course but Scotland Street does.

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Scotland Street.

If you haven’t read the books then I do recommend them with some lovely characters including Cyril, the beer drinking dog with the gold tooth, owned by Angus Lordie the portrait painter, Big Lou who loves to dole out advice in her coffee shop and the long suffering six year old saxophone playing Bertie who has an over bearing pushy mother.

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The Cumberland Bar featured in the books.
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Moray Place, a duodecagon, don’t you know!

Having now got to know the area a little better I feel I need to read the books all over again.

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Mews houses in the New Town.

So that was Edinburgh.  Before we left Scotland we back tracked to Falkirk to have a gander at the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s only rotating boat-lift, linking the Forth and Clyde canal with the Union canal.  Opening in 2002, the Falkirk Wheel replaced a series of lock gates which had been demolished years ago to make way for housing and for the first time in forty years coast to coast navigation of the canals was re-established.

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The Falkirk Wheel boat lift.

We parked up to have a look at the Kelpies, Andy Scott’s horse head sculptures, four miles east of the wheel before walking along the canal to the Falkirk Wheel.  Well, how can anyone not love the Kelpies?  We thought they were just superb.

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The Kelpies.

Monuments to the working horses that played their part in the Industrial Revolution which shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area and unveiled to the public in 2013 they really are worth a visit.

P1130508.JPGSadly, due to a technical fault, the Falkirk Wheel wasn’t in operation after we’d walked the four miles along the canal to get to it!  Ho-hum never mind.  Tea and millionaires shortbread in the cafe alleviated some of the disappointment.  It did seem like a long four mile walk back again though.

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Swan family.
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Kelpies by night.

And there ended our tour of Scotland.  It is fair to say that Scotland dug deep into its pockets to bring out such lovely weather for our seven week tour which we are very grateful for.  I think we have seen Scotland at its best which, for us, is up there with the best we have seen so far on our trip.  Scotland and Slovenia are now my joint favourites and I expect we’ll be back again……and again……and again.  The Highlands for me were the highlight with so much more to explore and get to know but, after a pitstop in North Yorkshire to see my parents, we needed to press on South.  We have work to do!  We start our jobs working on a campsite in Cornwall next week so must crack on.  Back to work, mmm, now that’s going to be a shock to the system!

Laters!

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bonvanageblog

We are Jane and Tim and we recently gave up our jobs and rented out our house to persue a life of travel across Europe in our motorhome called Ollie.

8 thoughts on “Final week in Scotland…. .”

  1. I was fortunate, in my former professional life, to live in Edinburgh and it really is a beautiful city. Since then we have had 3-4 tours of Scotland and your blog has brought back some memories of the places that we too have enjoyed. Working on a Campsite in Cornwall, not at all sure about that kind of work 😂😂

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    1. It will hopefully be the first trip of many to Scotland for us although I doubt we’ll see weather like that again unless we are uber lucky! We arrived on the campsite on Monday and we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves so far………mind you we haven’t done a stroke of work yet as we don’t start for another few days! May change my tune then….😉

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  2. The weather you’v had is unbelievable we’v been a few times and it’s always rained, but what lovely country Scotland is for sure. Your blog on Edinburgh is great very informative. Hope you enjoy your time in Cornwall should be fun working lol…. DPx

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    1. The weather just gets better and better…..we’ve had two gloious weeks in Cornwall now. We picked a good time to stay in the uk I think. I’ve been following your blog to see what you’re up to and you look like you’re having a great time. We’ve not been to that part of France but we plan to go down thru France to the north coast of spain later this year. Have fun😁

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      1. Hi Weather is good here in Saint-Jean-De -Luz staying on a campsite to do some Washing as to be done. We’re going to the Pyrenees on Wednesday going up a mountain La Rhine on a Mountain train . After that going in to northern Spain we’v been told it fantastic so looking forward to it. thanks for Following DPx

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