If you plan to do Edinburgh sight seeing then this is a hidden gem found in the grounds of Holyrood Park behind the Holyrood Palace. This Abbey was built in the 12th century by King David the first after surviving an attack by a huge stag during a hunting party. The Abbey was build here to thank god for saving the his life. The term Holyrood means holly cross.
On our cycle around Edinburgh we stop at the famous statue of Edinburgh’s great philosophers David Hume. He lived during the time of the Scottish enlightenment and was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He also was a friend and had influence on Adam Smith (father of economics). David Hume was also known as a historian and essayist. I stand here rubbing David Hume’s toe like many other people before me have done in the hope that he can pass on some of his knowledge.
Doctor Neil’s Garden
A couple of weeks ago a gave a tour to the White house group which are based in Edinburgh. It is a real treat to show them Edinburgh secret garden where the first rules of curling were laid down. Some people who live in Edinburgh don’t know that this garden exists. Even though we are close to the city centre this area of Edinburgh feels like you are out in the countryside. Also worth visiting near by is the Sheep Heid which is the oldest pub in Scotland.
The bank of Scotland
Here we have a picture of the Bank of Scotland located in Edinburgh’s New Town. As I cycle through Edinburgh I find a diversity of architecture. This building was designed by David Bryce with influences from imperial Rome which were typical in Edinburgh during the time of the Scottish enlightenment. The statues at the top represent navigation, commerce, manufacture, art, science and agriculture.
Live and love the city!
Many Closes and wynds were named after certain industries and some times named after famous Edinburgh characters like this man standing here known as Deacon Brodie. In the 18th century he was a respected town Councillor, Cabinet maker and thief by night . He was caught steeling from the rich Edinburgh citizens as he kept spare copies of the keys. He was then hanged in 1788 on the very same gallows which he designed. In Edinburgh this man has a cafe and a pub named after him. He also gave a Robert Louis Stevenson to write the novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Patrick Geddes and Ramsay Gardens: If you were to walk up, cycle up the Royal Mile or just admire it from Carlton Hill it give you an impression that this street is very old. The architecture seems to blend to getter as it is very old throughout. However if you look closely when you visit the Royal mile that it has a few different styles of architecture and has buildings from different time periods. It was actual 2 different streets until the 16th century when the Royal Mile was born. Development started from the castle going down the hill and from Holyrood going up the hill. Over the years the Royal Mile was suffering neglect until a man called Patrick Geddes help restore the Royal Mile. He became known as the father of town planning during the enlightenment period and lived in Ramsay Gardens next to the castle. I like these white buildings that you can otherwise miss. I think they have an element of style although more modern than most of the buildings on the Royal Mile they fit in well with the rest of the street and give that added bit of history which is a reminder of the man who saved the Royal Mile from neglect.
Robert Adam and Charlotte square: Son of William Adam. Robert Adams father had an established reputation. Robert Adam was born in Fife in 1728. His master piece in Edinburgh’s New town was Charlotte square. He also designed the university and register house. His training was in a grand tour were he got inspiration from Roman ruins in Italy and Yugoslavia. After his return from his grand tour he went to London and became a fashionable architect there which help him get a reputation in Edinburgh. He was one of the most successful architects of the 18th century.
Gothic Revival: Edinburgh’s New town is known and has been known for it Greek revival style of architecture. However there are also examples of Gothic revival which can be seen the Portrait gallery. The Portrait Gallery is located close to St Andrews Square in the heart of the new town. Here stands Mary Queen of Scots with Bishop John Leslie and royal advisor William Maitland. She ruled in the time were there was a lot of conflict as she was a catholic in the time of the protestant reformation. She often had problems with John Knox leader of the reformation.
Holyrood Park and Doctor Neil’s Garden: I thought that I would like to share this view with you. Here we are in Doctor Neil’s Garden and behind Doctor Niels Garden we have a lovely view of Holyrood Park next to Duddingston loch. Hard to believe that we are still in Edinburgh. Doctor Neil’s Garden was once a waste land and today it’s one of the best kept gardens in Scotland known as Edinburgh’s Secret Garden.
Scotland’s Heraldic Lion: I sometimes like to look up and notice these iconic looking characters. Scotland’s heraldic lion has been position here to welcome visitors in the queen’s gallery which is located at the bottom of the Royal Mile contains containing works of art from the royal collection.
Canongate Tollbooth: Canongate and Edinburgh were once two separate Burghs. Here we have the oldest building in Canongate build in 1591. It was used as administrative centre. It had a jail down stairs and courtrooms upstairs and council chambers. Any visitor wanting to pass through to Edinburgh has to pay a toll to pass through the Burgh gates.
The fishbone: The Royal mile is often referred to as the fishbone. If you imagine the Castle being the head of the fish the Royal mile being the main spine and all the other little closes and wynds being the small bones coming off the spine. The Royal Mile once had 300 closes and winds only 60 left today.
The Unicorn: Sometimes it’s an accumulation of little details which adds character to a city.
Do you ever pass by symbols or small statues in your own city and wonder what they mean?
If you visit Edinburgh or come on one of our tours it’s possible to see Scotland’s national animal the Unicorn. If you ever see the coat of arms of the United Kingdom you will see the lion representing England and the Unicorn representing Scotland. Scotland mythical creature has a reputation for being wild and fierce.
Address to a Haggis
The 25th of January celebrates one of Scotland’s most famous poets Rabbie Burns, so for Burns night I thought I leave you one of his most recognized poems “Address to a Haggis” (Haggis, neeps and tatties is one of Scotland’s most popular and traditional dishes).
Address to a Haggis
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis.