After our gin experience, we were fortified by, ahem, some Dutch courage, and decided to go on one of the tours that Edinburgh is famous for – a ghost tour. We wanted a late night one, so chose the 10pm Double Dead tour, knowing that we’d finish the tour around midnight, in a graveyard, in Edinburgh. 😀
Before that. we stopped by a couple of the older pubs on the Royal Mile: The World’s End and then Deacon Brodies. The World’s End pub is so-called because it stood right at the city wall in earlier centuries. If you don’t know the true story of Deacon Brodie and his secret double identity, you can read about it here. Finally, it was 10pm, and we were ready to go.
We gathered by St. Giles’ Cathedral with around 35 other willing
victims participants, and headed to our first stop of the evening: the city vaults, led by our guide, David. Without revealing too much, the vaults are located in the old town, around and under the Royal Mile area. People used to live (and die) there, and there are countless tales of terror and paranormal activity down there, in the areas that have been excavated. It was fascinating. I’ve been on a tour of the vaults once before, but it was a different area, so this part was new to me. After we had spent time listening to tales in the vaults, we headed to one ot the eeriest places in the city – Greyfriar’s Kirkyard.
Burials have been taking place there since the 16th Century, and conservative estimates puts the body count at around 300,000….. in such a small area. It made me shudder. We heard tales of the famous Mackenzie Poltergeist, and the hauntings and paranormal activity in the Covenanters’ Prison. Yes – there was indeed a prison in the graveyard. It was largely outdoors, which would have been an extra torture for those imprisoned there. We heard about the graverobbing that was prolific, and it’s where the term Resurrection Men was coined. Have you heard of Burke and Hare? Well, that’s where they started. I managed to take some snaps while in the kirkyard:
Although he’s spent quite a lot of time in Edinburgh over the past 11 or 12 years, @TheWelshWookie hasn’t done much of the ‘tourist stuff’, so we spent Monday catching up on some of that. First stop was the wonderful Mary King’s Close, which takes you around one of the excavated closes, which has been tranformed to show you how people really lived in those areas, under the city, during the plague and at other times. It is definitely worth a visit. We then had a wander along the Royal Mile. We diverted slightly by stopping off at the Elephant House for lunch, which is the very cafe where JK Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter books. Loved it! It has kept its own character, and hasn’t been turned into a Harry Potter theme shop.
In the afternoon, we spent time exploring Edinburgh Castle. I reckon it’s been maybe 30 years since I was last there. It felt like a priviledge to see the Stone of Destiny and the Scottish Crown Jewels.
Obviously, we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the crown room – so you’ll have to make do with photos of Mon’s Meg (the giant cannon), the Castle and the view over the city instead 🙂
It was a busy, but fun, couple of days in the Capital 😉