Touring Edinburgh, Scotland

Below you’ll find a few of the images that tickled my funny bone while strolling Edinburgh, Scotland. At the very bottom of this post you will also find a short Youtube video featuring the sights of Edinburgh. My one regret is that I didn’t take a photo of our constant roommate for three nights in Smart City Hostel. Randy met his match in that this outgoing young English man out-talked him. Randy did happen to run into him in the hallway just as the young man was coming home from his night security job, so they did get a “proper” goodbye. Hope all is well…

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Hmmm… I’m not sure if we are “kick ass” enough for this hostel!  Smart City Hostel worked well for us.

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I also found the people taking photos of each other at tourist spots interesting…


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…and then you have the typical bored kids at a historically significant location ~ Edinburgh Castle.  Bored looks bored in any language.

The short video below features some of the typical tourist spots such as, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyrood House and Holyrood Abbey, St. Giles Cathedral, Grassmarket…

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Arthur’s Seat… Edinburgh, Scotland

9-16-2015:

Holyrood Park is a short walk from Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in the heart of the city. It is a 640 acre Royal Park adjacent to Holyrood Palace. The highest point of Holyrood Park is Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that sits 251 m above sea level giving excellent views of the city.

Edinb_day2-1110824We begin trekking up the hill and Randy quickly finds a new friend. Local citizens of Edinburgh can be found hiking in the park ready to help with directions and are a valuable travel resource.

 

Edinb_day2-1110855During the last stretch to the summit we are joined by a doctor from Japan who has been attending a medical conference in Scotland. We engage in lively conversation, taking our minds off the strenuous task at hand.

Edinb_day2-1110834We triumphantly reach the top.

Edinb_day2-1110866rThe doctor has been photographing these two Lego dolls, representing his own two children, in Scottish locations as he tours the country. It’s his way of including them in his travels and I could tell from our conversation that he truly loves and misses his family.Edinb_day2-1110869After sharing the touching Love Rock story with him, he asks to use the rock I received while camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota and poses it with his two “kids.” Click on the link, Love Rock, if you are unfamiliar with the story.

Edinb_day2-1110808Spectacular views from all around…

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We savor this escape from our current urban travel life and enjoy the tranquility of the moment.

Fife Coastal Path: Anstruther to Elie with an angel

9-14-15:   I believe there are angels among us…  ~Alabama

Yes, so many times when we may be tempted to take a wrong turn down a difficult path, someone appears to help us find our way. Today was no different.

The cold rain is drizzling down on us as we shuffle our way along the muddy path. We approach a coastal church with high tide up to the gated cemetery in front with no easy path around. The sign points to the high tide path which goes away from the coast and is quite long, but we decide that is our best option. Out of nowhere and in the rain, an older woman appears and stops us from taking our chosen path. No, that path is a muddy mess with all this rain and very long. Take these steps up and go around the front of the church, inside the cemetery and go over the stone fence. That will connect to the path directly on the other side of the church.

Anst-1110590We also find the church open for viewing and take refuge from the rain for a while. Coincidence?  I think not. Thank you, Angel lady!

Anst-1110609I believe this structure may be the remains of Lady’s Tower built for Lady Jane Anstruther in the latter part of the 18th century and was used as a bathing house for her. She was a naturist and from this point she was able to enter the bay below without being seen by the local residents of Elie. ~ longdistancewalks.org

Anst-1110663After arriving back at Anstruther, we walk uptown for a rewarding pint and supper. According to this sign there is no need for a babysitter if parents need a night out!!

Anst-1110680rThe evening views in Anstruther are spectacular as we consume our hot, crispy fish & chips. We try NOT to feed the birds as instructed!

Anst-1110688rThe evening walk after fish & chips includes a visit with this gregarious Scottish fisherman. Mackerel are the fruits of his labors today which will be sold to area restaurants.

Anst-1110707rOur B & B includes a nip of sherry for a nightcap and a decadent chocolate treat. Ah-h-h-h…  Sweet dreams as we rest our weary bones for the bus trip to Edinburgh tomorrow.

Below is a YouTube link to a short video of our adventures today.

 

 

 

Fife Coastal Path: Crail to Anstruther, Scotland

9-13-2015: We hop on a bus in St. Andrews…

Crail-1110352… and get off in the quaint village of Crail, Scotland along the East Neuk of Fife.
Crail-1110349It’s a cloudy morning and the world is slowly waking up to ready itself for the day.

Crail-1110413The path follows the East Neuk of Fife with Neuk being the old Scots word for corner. The path is well marked and follows the coast along the former Kingdom of Fife. Our views are spectacular with the sea to our left and farm country with livestock on our right.

Crail-1110473Memorial flowers lead one to speculate… what happened?

Crail-1110512Interesting plaque in Anstruther. The Dreel burn divides east and west Anstruther and the song tells how in ancient times Maggie Lauder carried King James IV over it to keep his feet dry.

Crail-1110506We enjoy a beverage with the locals at the old Dreel Tavern. Sadly, it appears as though the Dreel Tavern has become a victim of the times and is now closed for business. Click on the Fife Today link for a little info on the current status of this historic pub filled with a unique ambience and character along with an interesting clientele. Visiting with the locals always seems to make travel experiences more memorable.

Below is a short video featuring our views along the Fife Coastal Path:

 

 

 

St. Andrews Tourist Hostel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qpDWK5o73M

9-11-2015:

We locate our hostel for the night in the town of St. Andrews, Scotland and find the beaten-in side entrance. It looks as though this dodgy site has seen its share of people in need of anger management classes.

Oh, no!! What scary experiences are in store for us now?

We creep up the stairway and find a nice common lounge area and a clean kitchen stocked with dishes, pots and pans. A friendly gal in the small office shows us our room filled with bunk beds and large windows facing the street for the best Beeking view ever. Add in a welcome party for new college students across the street and you have a recipe for entertainment plus! Randy had plenty of new people to visit with and we grew to appreciate our new home for the next couple of days at St. Andrews Tourist Hostel.

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The friendly hostel manager has lived all over the world. Fascinating conversations, to say the least.

St.Andrews-1110327webMeet Laura Lizbeth, a face and body artist. She competed in the World Body Painting Festival in Austria in July 2015.  Another interesting pair was a father/son staying while the father competed in a St. Andrews golf tournament.  He won his regional competition to earn a spot to play on the prestigious course.

We meet so many interesting people by staying at hostels.  It’s kind of like camping with a roof over our heads.

 

The Search for Hungry Hills Farm

September 9, 2015:

Our ancestry includes proud Scottish roots through our mother whose maiden name was Sharp. The mission of this portion of our trip to Scotland was locating the farm of our ancestors.

Longmanhill, Scotland is located some three miles east of the city of Banff-McDuff in Gamrie Parish on the north coast of Scotland. From the top of Longmanhill, on a clear day, one can see out over the North Sea. This long, gently sloping hill consists of a few farms, one of which is Hungry Hills Farm. In all likelihood, this area is the ancestral home of the Sharp family dating back to the 1600’s and 1700’s. ~ Sharp Family History AddendumOctober 2001

Thanks to our determined taxi driver from Banff, our mission was accomplished!

Why did our ancestors leave such a beautiful land? Was it due to the Scottish Clearances?

Whether it was economic necessity as described by some, or ethnic cleansing, as described by others, the net result was that between 1783 and 1881 a documented 170,571 Highlanders were ejected from their traditional lands. Records are very sparse and it’s been estimated that the true total was very much greater than this. ~ tartans authority.com

These Scottish people were cleared from their homes mainly to make way for sheep, the wisdom at the time being that the sheep were more profitable than small tenant farmers. While some Highlanders left their homes
voluntarily and went abroad, most of the evictions were forced upon an unwilling population and were often carried out using the most despicable of methods. ~ yourscottishdescent.com

If anyone has an interesting link or information pertaining to this topic, please include these into the comments section of this post.  Thanks!

 

Cullen, Scotland from my view…

An attempt to locate the land of our ancestors has led us to a stay in the quaint town of Cullen, Scotland, which is composed of two distinct parts:Cullen-1110084e1) Sandwiched between the sea wall on one side and the curve of the main road on the other is the fishing village, Seatown of Cullen, a unique collection of a couple hundred stone fishermen’s cottages.

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2) The “inland” side of Cullen, sometimes referred to as “New Cullen,” stretches up a grand and impressive main street that continues from Seatown under the most easterly of the three railway viaducts.

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I’m glad the window washer has another man holding his ladder sturdy as it appears to be propped on an old stone wall. I might be inclined to own a window washing device like this, but I’d probably hit the power line and electrocute myself. Clean windows are not worth all that!

Cullen was established by 1189 on a location about half a mile inland from where you find it today, marked on maps as “Old Cullen” and close to Cullen House, which we were able to locate while following one of the walking trails near town.

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Oh-oh… whoops! (At least we didn’t pick any flowers and don’t have a dog.)

Cullen’s wealth in the 1700s was built on textiles, and thread-making; the main period of growth came with the herring boom in the 1800s.

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The impressive Cullen railroad viaduct was built in the year 1884 and is now a bicycle path.

Cullen-1110086eNew Cullen and Seatown of Cullen were built in the 1820s, the latter close to the pier built by Thomas Telford in 1819.  ~Undiscovered Scotland

Below is a slide show of our walks around Cullen, Scotland where you’ll find the most beautiful sunsets.

…still more to explore in Cullen, Scotland so stay tuned!