August 31, 2006

Castle Cobbles

In common with many of the historical streets of Edinburgh, the majority of the walkways in the castle grounds are cobblestones. Although I admit that cobbles are perhaps not the most practical roadsurface in this day and age, they still look great and they give this timeless sense to the streets of Edinburgh and to the castle. Just remember, ladies, it's best not to wear high-heels.

August 30, 2006

Dog Cemetery

At the Castle, as you wind your way up to the upper level you can look down on this little cemetery, which was for the dogs of officers stationed at the castle. Has anyone come across any dog similar cemeteries on their travels or in their own city?

On another note, the Fringe festival ended on Sunday so the city is noticeably quieter this week. It will get back to normal next week with the end of the International Festival on Sunday, which culminates in the fantastic Fireworks Concert from the Castle. Hope to bring you photos of that next week, presuming it's a nice night and I can get some decent shots.

August 29, 2006

Ready, Aim, Fire!

The cannons at Edinburgh Castle looking out over what is now the city, are a strong reminder of the Castle's role as a fortress. You can almost imagine the marauding English invaders moving towards the castle, trying to find ways to ascend the castle rock. Now the invaders are more welcome than in days past, coming as they are armed with pounds, euros, dollars and yen instead of horses, axes, bows and arrows!

August 28, 2006

View from the castle again

Another view from the castle, heading in pretty much the same direction as yesterday, but this time taking in the green of the castle rock and you can also see where the train line disappears under the national gallery on its way into Waverley station. Enjoy!

August 27, 2006

Splendid View

The view from the castle is always gorgeous, but on a lovely day like this, the sun makes the city shimmer and glow. Here, we're looking east from the castle with the National Gallery and Balmoral Hotel among the beautiful buildings you can see.

August 26, 2006

Street Theatre 2

This performer is standing in front of the City Chambers building on the High Street. With the number of performers and tourists, and therefore the amount of noise, right in front of the council offices, I often wonder how council officials manage to get any work done in the month of August! I'll leave the sarcastic comments abou council officials and work up to others!!

August 25, 2006

Tron Kirk

The Tron Kirk on the corner of the High Street and South Bridge serves as a privately-run, but free information centre about Edinburgh's Old Town. You can find out about some of the ghoulish story's of Edinburgh's past, see some of the excavations of the vaults below the Old Town and of course, buy fluffy Nessies! They are currently fighting plans by the City Council to turn it into another café...just what Edinburgh needs!

August 24, 2006

Assembly at the General Assembly

The General Assembly building of the Church of Scotland is decked out its festival colours, as part of the 'Assembly' group of venues along with the Assembly Rooms on George Street. This building is also the faculty of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh, and was the temporary home of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 till 2004.

August 23, 2006

Honesty Sells!

This guy, selling his wares to the festival going public, obviously believes that honesty is the best policy when it comes to selling his wares. It certainly caught my attention and made me stop, and I'm sure others will have done so too.

August 22, 2006

More Fringers

As I was walking up Waverley Steps at the side of the National Galleries, I couldn't help but stop to watch these rather strange looking Japanese actors moving ever so slowly up the steps from Princes Street Gardens. I couldn't see what their show was all about as the writing was too small on the banner and they were moving so slowly that it would have taken him five minutes to aproach me! Mind you, their banner was all in Japanese...I might have had a chance at understanding it, but I doubt if the vast majority of fringe-goers would!

August 21, 2006

Come and see my show

It's not every day you see a fairly slutty looking nun standing on the High Street talking to God, who by the looks of where she was shouting, seemed to be hiding somewhere on top of the City Chambers. Ah, I love the Fringe!

August 20, 2006

The Pleasance

The Pleasance is one of the biggest and best venues on the Fringe, and is also one of the few large venues to keep its own name during the month of August. From the signs, you can see that the Pleasance (venue 33) has 14 venues (the ones in yellow) with a further 4 venues at the Pleasance Dome (venue 23), or Potterrow as it is known for the other eleven months of the year. There is a great atmosphere at the Pleasance as people enjoy a drink in the courtyard between shows, or just come down for a bit of star-spotting.

August 19, 2006

Edinburgh Airport

Normality seems to have more or less returned to Edinburgh Airport following the increased security level last week. Hand luggage is now being permitted again, albeit at a reduced amount and flights are pretty much back to normal. The terminal building and the area around it have seen a lot of upgrading in recent years, and having seen a lot of airports on my travels, I reckon Edinburgh Airport is a pleasant, well-designed little airport. While the airport bus service into town is good and reasonably priced, (£3 one-way, £5 return), travellers will have greater options in the future. The new tram-line will run out to the airport, and finally a train station for the airport is in the pipeline which will serve travellers from all over east and central Scotland. The main train-line actually runs just to the side of the runway, but it's a good example of the lack of joined-up thinking in this country when it comes to transport that no spur-line was ever built to the airport!

August 18, 2006

Georgian Edinburgh

Charlotte Square in the New Town is a fine example of a Georgian Square. Lined on all four sides by lovely buildings such as this one, and with a large park in the centre which throughout the month of August plays host to the Edinburgh Book Festival. Among the hundreds of authors and journalists participating in this year's book festival are Martin Amis, Ian Rankin, Irvine Welsh, Ian Banks, Jasper Fforde, Roddy Doyle and Seamus Heaney to name just a handful.

August 17, 2006

Tattoo Three

Another chance to see the Tattoo. As well as participants from various regiments of the British Army, this year also sees performers coming from such countries as Uganda, Chile, China, New Zealand, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia. It truly is an international experience.

August 16, 2006

Tattoo Two!

From this photo you get a better idea of the way the castle is used as the backdrop to the parades and performances on the Castle Esplanade for the Military Tattoo. The fireworks at the end of the show are also a spectacular sight, and are a regular sound before bedtime throughout the month of August!

On another note, the pupils were back at school today. It's truly the end of the holidays! The six weeks seem to have flown by!

August 15, 2006

High Street at Festival Time

Carrying on with my theme of guiding you around the various festivals in the city at the moment, here we are on the High Street, which forms part of the Royal Mile running from the Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This part of the High Street is closed to traffic for the duration of the festival and is a great place to people watch, see and be seen.

A new Scottish photo blog started up a couple of days ago with photos of beautiful Ayrshire. Pop over and visit Bill in Ayr!

August 14, 2006

Fringe Sunday

Yesterday was Fringe Sunday, a day when the Meadows throngs with people showing off their shows to the general public, who get a chance to see glimpses of lots of shows for free. It's a great day out, a great chance to see many different performances from all sorts of genres and a chance to plan your festival viewing for the remaining two weeks. The comedy tent is always very popular. These two are fringe regulars, a comedy duo from Japan called Gamorjobat - their show is described as physical comedy, whatever that means.

August 13, 2006

T on the Fringe

T on the Fringe is the popular music side of the fringe festival. This year there are about 50 concerts from different acts right throughout the month of August. Last night I went to see the Beautiful South playing at the Corn Exchange. It's a compact venue with great acoustics and it was a great chance to see one of my favourite bands in Edinburgh as many groups simply don't bother coming to the city...they tend to go to Glasgow instead, as admittedly, Glasgow's venues for live music are vastly superior. T on the Fringe will see concerts by Simple Minds, Belle & Sebastian, Keane, Muse, Snow Patrol, Starsailor, Cerys Matthews to name just some of the acts performing.

August 12, 2006

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Over the next week or so, I'll try and give you a flavour of all the various festivals that are happening in the city at the moment. As well as the Fringe which started last week, the International Festival kicks off this weekend, as do the Edinburgh Book Festival and the Film Festival. The Military Tattoo is always one of the most popular events during August. Performers are invited from all over the world and it truly is a spectacular evening's entertainment, all performed to the backdrop of a floodlit castle...fantastic!

August 11, 2006

What do you want to see?

The festival is in full swing just now and it's impossible to walk past the major venues without coming away with a fistful of fliers. These poster boards have also been put up to highlight some of the thousands of shows which are on in the city every day. There is so much to choose from, that's it's sometimes hard to decide what to see.

August 10, 2006

Ryan's Bar

This bar at the west end of Princes Street is a very popular place for drinks, lunch or simply for people-watching. Now with the festival in full swing, there is no shortage of interesting people to watch, that's for sure. Also, it's become a much nicer place to sit since the traffic priorities were changed and cars were no longer allowed around this corner.

Given this morning's news about the cancelled flights and enhanced security at British airports, I must say I'm glad I got home yesterday! Had a great holiday, but it's always good to be home.

August 09, 2006

Empty Offices

I've always hated this building. It was built to house the offices of Lothian Regional Council, but sat empty for a few years after the disbandment of the 12 regions into 32 local authorities in 1995. It came back to life as the temporary offices for the temporary Scottish parliament from 1999 until 2004, but since then they have been empty and unused. They may be loved more if they weren't in such a historic and sensitive part of the city, but having these monstrosities on the corner of the High Street and George IV Bridge in the heart of the Old Town was another disaster of 1970s town planning.
I'm back now from gallavanting around Europe again! Thanks Toyozo for publishing while I was away.

August 08, 2006

Street Theatre

It is impossible to walk past any of the major festival venues without getting copious amounts of fliers stuffed into your hands. everyone has a show to sell and they want you to come and see it. Stages on the High Street at least allow you to see a bit of the show before making up your mind, but this is half the fun of the festival - ending up in some tiny venue watching a show you know nothing about and had never planned to see. It's fab!

August 07, 2006

Fringe Parade 2

Edinburgh's Princes Street turns into a riot of colour on the first Sunday of the festival. The official international festival doesn't start for another week, so instead of both festivals running concurrently over three weeks, the Fringe now usually starts a week earlier, which stretches everything out over 4 weeks. I love the festival coming to town, although I will admit that it is a relief once everything is back to normal in September.

August 06, 2006

Fringe Parade

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe officially starts today with the parade of floats down Princes Street. Most shows have actually been on for a couple of days now with the cheap preview shows, and this weekend most shows have a 2 for 1 offer. The parade, as always is a riot of colour with each show trying to entice the parade-goers to come and see their particular show.

August 05, 2006

The Ladyboys of Bangkok

The Ladyboys of Bangkok have been coming to the Edinburgh Festival for well over ten years now and it is always one of the most popular shows on the Fringe. In fact, if they stopped coming, it would be like the Festival with no Militray Tattoo! They put on a great show and the public keep coming back to see them. They're on at Venue 189 at the Meadows until September 2nd.

August 04, 2006

For the Golfers

Golf fans will surely recognise this building. This is the famous clubhouse at the old Course in St Andrews, the home of golf. The Open was played here last year, and usually returns to St Andrews every 5 years. This is the course that every golfer wants to play on, and all dream of lifting aloft the claret jug outside here. Just behind the clubhouse is the golfing museum. For those not interested in golf, it is a lovely town to visit and also has the oldest university in Scotland, where Prince William came to study.

August 03, 2006

Heilan' Coo

You'll find these majestic Highland Cows (or Heilan' Coos as we say) all over north and central Scotland, at least in the rural areas. Unlikely to find them walking through the streets of Inverness or Aberdeen! They are beautiful animals and seem approachable enough when you have a barbed wire fence between you and the cow! This cow was photographed just outside Crianlarich, a small village, unpronounceable to all but the Scots, Germans and Dutch, which is signposted from all over the country.

August 02, 2006


Nestling in the hills above Pitlochry in Perthsire is Scotland's smallest distillery, Edradour. If you only visit one distillery in Scotland, let it be this one. For a start, the tour is free, as is your dram, and as the distillery is small, you get a real sense of the history of the distilling process. Everything is done by hand as it always has been and you can see the whisky-making process on a more human scale. It's also a very nice whisky! Anyone where the word whiksy comes from? What it means? A bottle of Edradour to the first correct answer! (Aye, right! - the only example of a double positive meaning negative!)

August 01, 2006


Misty mountains, lochs, battlegrounds...this is the Scotland that people think of. Welcome to Glencoe, one of the most beautiful parts of the country and an absolute must on any travel itinerary around Scotland. It is the scene of a famous battle, well not so much a battle as a massacre when the Campbells came in the night and routed the MacDonald clan. The MacDonalds bare a grudge to this day!