Castles and Tattoos

I’m quickly learning the double meaning of certain Scottish phrases, “session” being the dual terminology for watching live music while simultaneously consuming lots of drinks.

Fortunately it’s a breezy morning which makes then climb up the Royal Mile all the more bearable, fulled by pancakes from the City Cafe (“diner by day, drinks by night”) on Blair Street.

The Castle itself looks imposing – as a castle should do. And it’s still relatively quiet, save for a handful of enthusiastic Japanese tourists.


Throughout the many interior buildings are many museums detailing every bit of military history spanning hundreds of years. And even today, a tradition is upheld with the firing of the One O’clock Gun.


The time signal was designed to help ship’s Captains to set their chronometers from the Firth of Forth and now serves as a timely, living souvenir for visitors to witness. About 50% of their cameras are thrown into the air with a shriek, having somehow failed to realise that the man in full ceremonial dress was actually going to fire the thing.

Along with the history, the Castle grounds offer some of the best views of Edinburgh and the wider area. And the sun’s come out. Sort of.



There’d probably be a better view from Arthur’s Seat, the big hill which forms the centrepiece of Holyrood Park. But time is tight and my legs have had enough. So I’m pleased to see the latest addition to Edinburgh’s public transport portfolio.


The trams eventually started running in 2014 after a long delay and a big row over the const. As it stands there’s only one route running from the city centre to the Airport. Handy enough for the New Town but still some distance from the big attractions.

I’m less keen on a “session” of any kind this evening, but a lone voice attracts me into Whistle Binkie’s.


I’ve no idea what his name is but he belted out covers and originals with a voice like James Morrison. Whistle’s is one of those good mold fashioned flagstone and rocker type pubs, where it’s almost compulsory to spill your beer (which I manage to do, having failed to see some steps).

He’s the first act of the evening and I leave before the Thin Lizzy tribute band arrive.

Edinburgh is a city of huge contrasts, with old and new seeming to live happily together. For a capital city it’s also one of the friendliest I’ve encountered. And when the sun goes down, it looks magical.


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