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Road Trip Stop 3: Berwick and Edinburgh


View World trip 2019 on mslaurajade's travel map.

Up early and off again! This time at least I can see clearly out the windscreen! Just as well its another few hours on the road.
Just before crossing the border I stopped in England's northernmost town, Berwick upon Tweed. A good rest stop but also to make further use of my English Heritage pass and visit the Berwick Barracks built in 1717-21. Today they host 3 walkthrough museums which I enjoyed a tour through history. The first was the called "By Beat of Drum" the life of a British Infirmaryman, an interesting insight to both life within the army and what life was like in the mid-1700s. Next was the Berwick Musem and Art Galery, displaying local artists and history of not only the barracks but the town's evolution through time. And finally, The King's Own Scottish Borderers Museum which is still active today known as the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
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A very slow trip into Edinburgh indeed! Lots of single lanes, hill climbs, gear changing, farm traffic and yet again it's raining! Getting pretty good though with driving a stick if I don't say so myself! I still wouldn't buy one myself but always handy to know how to drive one. Arriving just on dinner time before dark, off to find some dinner (maybe a chippy) and get a good rest ready for a big day tomorrow!

Even though it's raining and freezing I'm off to Edinburgh Castle, I'm rugged up and have a dodgy umbrella I brought from a charity shop in Altrincham. Seriously, I think it's made from tissue paper, it's very sheer! Although I can't get in for free here it is half price (normally 20 pounds) plus audioguide. I like these types of guides because you can start anywhere and go at your own pace, doesn't build a crowd at stops either because people are listening on the move. Located perched on Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is stunning and has beautiful views over the city.

The castle has been around since the 12th century but archaeologists say human remains found in the area were as early as the 2nd century AD. That's mindblowing really! The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. As you know I've been to many war memorials and places of significants this trip and yet again this one was no exception. You can't take photo's inside but it has a sealed casket containing the Roles of Honour, names of almost 200,000 names from WWI, WWII and all others who have lost their lives whilst on current active duty. It's right in the heart of the castle and was established in 1927.
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The audio tour continues and takes you down to the dungeon areas and into the prison cells, a lit eery but interesting all the same.
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Then into the Great Hall with its original hammer-beam roof, it really is art itself the craftsmanship is outstanding.
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Back outside to the cannons placed high at regular intervals around the castle wall facing across and down into the town. Still, even today the One O'Clock Gun is fired at precisely one p.m., excepting Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. You can hear it in town, I'm glad I went to the castle in the morning and learned about it because it still gave me a fright later in the day even knowing it was going to go off.
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The castle is such a part of Scotland's identity and is famously on their coat of arms, the symbol for the University of Edinburgh, the Fringe Festival and of course the backdrop for the Military Tattoo which is well known around the world. It really is stunning and I think I got a bargain seeing it for all for 10 pounds! Pretty happy with this pass already!
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Ok, I know the castle was amazing but more to see and I'm on a tight schedule so I must continue exploring the town Edinburgh and what else is here besides that castle. I got stuck in a downpour and the umbrella was useless so I took refuge in H&M for about half an hour! I did buy an unusal pair of paints with birds on them for a bargain at 8 pounds! Finally, it eased up enough for me to head out again and I took a brief spin through the Edinburgh museum which was free and a great way to learn more about the town.
I loved this little replica of the Scott Monument, another focal point in Edinburgh. Built in honor of Sir Walter Scott, novelist, and playwright. It took 4 years to build and was opened in 1844. The blackened exterior is smoke damage from the late 1800's & early 1900s, much debated in the community of whether to clean or restore the monument. It was decided more damage would be done in the cleaning so it's left blackend to the elements.
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Even though it's the nation's capital, Glasgow is more populated. Not surprised when you think of Canberra compared to Melbourne or Sydney. Still lots of traditional food and culture in the streets!
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Another free attraction is Parliament house, sounds a bit boring I know but being one of the newest established Parliaments it's a very innovative and sustainable building. Yet again I feel generally uneducated (similar to some of my blog about Russia and the fall of the USSR in the early '90s) about the independence of Scotland and the establishment of their Parliament in 1999. I ease up on myself pretty quickly though knowing it was only 20 years ago. But whenever someone says think back 30 years I immediately think the 1970s so clearly some adjusting to do on my part, pretty sure you're with me though?! Maybe.. Yeah Nah?!
The Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in all areas that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster. In a nutshell that means things like taxation, welfare, education, legal proceedings, local councils, police, tourism, sports, arts, and transport. What they can't change or what Westminister is still responsible for the UK wide is energy, defence, national security, employment, drug policy and don't forget the national lottery. Actually, I think the Scott's have control over the better stuff anyway! And of course who knows with BREXIT??!!
Enough of that political stuff, here's a sneaky pic of my visit (not really meant to take snaps!)
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Well, that's a wrap of Edinburgh, off early tomorrow to Glasgow which is only just over an hour away.
A bit cheeky!
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Much love,
L xx

Posted by mslaurajade 08:14 Archived in Scotland Tagged buildings skylines road_trip edinburgh england history travel driving heritage tour tourist adventures uk war blog sustainability

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