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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Coffey

Sticks and Stones and Healing Bones

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Scotland = castles. There are estimates that there were once up to 3,000 castles in in this country – nearly one for every 100 square miles. Todays wanderings found us at Craigmillar Castle, only a mile away from Edinburgh's better known and much more visited gargantuan structure.

Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh Scotland main gate

Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh Scotland

It was a favorite place for royals to escape the city and to come and hunt, hawk and ride in the countryside. Mary Queen of Scots famously used the castle as a safe haven in 1566. Ironically it became a jail to her a year later. The unsettled time in Scotland's history is fascinating even if you''re not a history buff.

This castle is a ruin, but it has partially been restored and it has so many nooks and crannies and mysterious chambers to explore. It was fun to imagine living there and playing hide and seek and managing the steep spiral staircases in long dresses. I'm always thankful for modern conveniences, and even more so after visiting places like this. It is a very romantic notion to live in a castle, and if you were royalty, life was the best it could be for the times. Picture this part though. An un-warmed stone latrine room that had a hole from the upstairs bed chamber to the outside and down a very long drop. Not my idea of romantic, especially in the winter! I sometimes wonder what things we currently think of as modern will be looked upon in 200 - 400 years.

Rules don't allow for flying drones directly over the property, but it's okay to fly just outside the perimeter, so of course I did.

Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh Scotland ruins drone photography aerial view hoverhigher

Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh Scotland ruins drone photography aerial view hoverhigher

The nearby Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (new as of 2003 to replace the one in downtown Edinburg) dwarfs the castle property. It is a 900 bed teaching hospital. We walked by the beautiful old hospital yesterday and saw that it is being renovated.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland, drone photography aerial view hoverhigher

The old hospital was purchased by the University of Edinburgh and in the future it will house a learning hub in a facility that will be the largest of its kind in the UK, providing teaching and learning spaces, a major new public event space and library. This is one of the many projects going on right now in Edinburgh and the many large cranes all over the city point to prosperous times.

Later in the day, Ky and I said our goodbyes to one of our favorite Airbnb hosts, Derek, and headed out for our next move. I don't often post photos of people we meet on my blogs, but that might be changing. As I've said before, people that we meet while traveling are by far the best part of our journeys. Whether we only spend a few minutes getting to know someone or spend days, a week or a month getting to know them better, we never walk away from those encounters the same. As I learned from the GirlScout song, Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.

Derek was kind, generous and funny, and we hope to visit again some year, and stay at his place for the Edinburgh Fringe. Unfortunately we just missed. It is the single biggest celebration of arts and culture on the planet that lasts for 3 weeks with over 30,000 performances of over 3,000 shows in over 300 venues! He knows all the best local spots and he even has a real kilt!

The rest of our day, including our move will have to wait for tomorrow's blog - I'm pooped and my photos took forever to upload. I won't be taking long to download to bed!

Hugs from Tranent!

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