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A trip to Edinburgh Castle

Matt Mckay '06

We left Harrogate for Scotland this morning.  It required a 3-hour drive, but we stopped for food in a small Scottish town, where I enjoyed my first taste of haggis.  Granted, it was on panini with brie cheese, but nevertheless it was actually good.  To fill up the rest of the time on the bus, I started another book.  Somehow, I have managed to finish a couple books on this trip, and I am happy to be reading things for pleasure and not for class.  We continued on our way to Edinburgh and picked up Bill, our tour guide.  The highlight of the day was Edinburgh Castle.  The castle is perched high upon a rock outcrop, staring down at the city with its intimidating presence of strength.  The castle has never been taken by force.  Once it was surrendered because the drinking water became contaminated during a siege, and another time it was taken by stealth, but never by force of arms, and looking at how defensible the fortifications are, I could see why.   Inside the castle we visited a war memorial that housed the names of all Scots who died in service to their country during the Great War.  Gorgeous coats of arms and flags were carved in bas-relief.  The whole building filled me with a sense of honor and eternal glory.  Also on the castle grounds, there is an exhibit of the prisons that housed French and American prisoners during the 18th century, and also a room full of swords, spears, halberds, and even a glaive.  For me, it was a magnificent sight.  Finally we got to see the royal crown and scepter of Scotland, a beautifully crafted claymore, and the Stone of Destiny, which is present at the crowning of the king, and which was once part of a meteorite that landed in Ireland, and split in two when the Scots migrated to what would be called Scotland.  The Scots called their piece the Stone of Destiny, and the Irish, the Blarney Stone. 

There was no concert today, so the rest of the evening was spent relaxing and taking in some of the sights of Edinburgh.