Some of the places we’ve visited and things we’ve seen in Edinburgh haven’t fit in to my comments until now. By joining Historic Scotland, we were able to visit Edinburgh Castle multiple times, Linlithgow Castle and there are 75 sites they manage. Not all have admission fees, and I enjoyed visiting one of these that was just down the road from our flat, in Corstorphine.
Once a village, now a neighborhood within Edinburgh, Corstorphine was part of lands belonging to the Forrester family. Corstorphine Castle lasted from the 14th to the 18th century, but is now gone. The only remaining structure of the estate is a dovecote, built of stone with about 1000 nesting boxes.
I visited this dovecote, and found it sitting in two adjacent front yards that neatly curve around halves of the structure. An informational sign suggests the structure avoided being demolished because of a local myth that anyone destroying a dovecote would be cursed.
After making my brief tour, I returned to the bus stop via the Corstorphine Old Parish Church and churchyard. The oldest part of the church dates to 1429 (Unbelievable!) The historic documentation of some structures is impressive. There are records of who owned and built what building by dates in the 1200s. As a resident of the New World, I am amazed.
Without entering a museum in Edinburgh you can see historic symbols.
We also saw lots of entertainment in the street. My favorite busker is the bagpiper in Highland dress, though there was also a jazz bagpiper.
Sometimes it was not clear what was going on, as with the drum group on the steps of the National Museum of Scotland. The drumming was great.
The parade for the opening of the Edinburgh Jazz Festival that precedes the overall Edinburgh Festival, was also full of character.
The most unusual site we visited was the Dazzle Ship at the Prince of Wales Dock in Leith. A combination of history and art, the MV Fingal was repainted by artist Ciara Phillips as a tribute to the “dazzle” ship painting used during WWI. The original idea was not to disguise ships but to distract and confuse anyone viewing them through a telescope. Sadly, there is no evidence that the system worked at all, but the resulting ships were a distinctive landmark of the war. At least 2000 ships were painted in this way in Several ships have been “dazzled” by artists as part of a project sponsored by a number of UK institutions as part of this year’s centenary commemoration of WWI.
The Fingal was a supply ship of the Northern Lighthouse Board, built in 1963, to ply the coast of Scotland and later the Orkneys, resupplying remote towns and lighthouses until 2000. Now owned by the Royal Yacht Brittania Trust (the Fingal is docked just around the corner from the former royal yacht), the Fingal is scheduled to become luxury hotel accommodations in 2018. Really?