This post is the second in a series of two about a recent trip to Scotland and is focused on Edinburgh.
A day trip to Edinburgh as part of the break allowed for just five-and-a-half hours exploring this amazing city. It was the day before the Edinburgh Festival Fringe started, and so there was a real buzz and the city geared itself up for a month of fun!
After being dropped near Princes Street with limited time available I decided that Edinburgh Castle should be the first port of call (after a coffee, of course!). The Castle, on the edge of the Old Town part of Edinburgh, overlooks the New Town part and beyond with spectacular views. The famous One O’Clock Gun was a great photo opportunity, so I picked a place with a good view for photos and despite some rude tourists shoving to get a view I still got a good shot by holding my Olympus OMD E-M1 camera up high and using its handy tilt screen to keep everything in frame.
Leaving the Castle behind I went on an open top bus tour of the city to see the highlights. Although I got caught by a passing shower (luckily the E-M1 is weather proof!) it was a great way to see the city and learn about some of its history.
Time ran out on me, and I definitely plan to return to Edinburgh one day to see more of the city. If I could combine it with a trip the Fringe, that would be amazing!
An open top bus tour is always a good way to orientate yourself in a new city... and you get some decent views from the top of a bus too.
The imposing Balmoral hotel.
Scottish pride in taxi form.
There's lots of street artists around Edinburgh - I'd never seen one like this before.
A lion statue in Edinburgh.
The one o'clock gun salute at Edinburgh Castle, with views beyond Edinburgh to the estuary.
One of the Edinburgh Castle guns pointed at the famous Princes Street.
A view over Edinburgh from the Castle. You can see the Forth Bridge and an aircraft coming into land.
Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without bagpipes.
It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged some photos – I’ve been away on holiday in north Wales, and the next few blog entries will be about that trip.
North Wales is a beautiful part of the world, with a rugged mountainous terrain which drops to some stunning coastal shorelines; an ideal place for photography. I’ve been to north Wales many times and have experienced the rainy climate the mountains bring, but on this holiday I didn’t see rain once. I wanted to walk along the Aberglaslyn Pass whilst I was there and deliberately chose the coolest day of the week. Unfortunately the cloudy skies don’t make for a great backdrop in some of the photos.
My walk started at the National Trust car park at Nantmor (grid reference SH597462 – where you can park for free if you’re a member), taking me to Beddgelert and back. The majority of the walk is alongside the river Glaslyn, which gives great opportunities for some photos of the river and its surroundings. The river is home to some otters, but I didn’t spot any on this walk. Close by the river is the railway track of the Welsh Highland Railway, a heritage railway that runs between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. A few years ago I spent a weekend helping to lay track for this railway before it opened, and it’s great to see and hear the trains in action and smell the steam engines. The river path crosses the railway track and eventually reaches Beddgelert, a village with a lot of history.
As well as some shops and pubs, Beddgelert is home to the resting place of ‘Gelert’, the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone reads:
“In the 13th century Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, “The Faithful Hound”, who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The Prince alarmed, hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The Prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here.”
After stopping for some lunch at Beddgelert, walking up to the station for the Welsh Highland Railway and onto Gelert’s Grave, it was time to walk back along the river.
The path runs alongside the rocky river with really clear water.
Gelert's grave under a tree, with Beddgelert village in the background.
The grave stones - one in English and one in Welsh.
Outside one of the craft shops in Beddgelert, a dragon.
A lovely gift shop next to the bridge.
At the start of the walk, the footpath leads into the trees.