The Central Scotland Group's meeting of 5 September 2000 took the form of an open top bus tour of Edinburgh that was both informative and enjoyable. Lasting for two hours, the tour passed many interesting locations and our guide gave detailed explanations on each place seen. The following is a sample of what was seen and members are recommended to try the tour for themselves.
The Guide Friday Tour Bus waiting for the Central Scotland Group in High Street, Edinburgh
© John G. Fender 2010
Starting in High Street, the tour took members along Princes Street and past the Castle, our guide explaining that Edinburgh was named after Edwin, a king of ancient Northumbria. Edinburgh has been a Royal Burgh since the 12th Century and capital of Scotland since the 15th Century. The castle is perched on the remains of an extinct volcano and has St. Mary's Chapel within the castle is the oldest building in Edinburgh dating from the 13th Century.
Edinburgh developed on the eastern side of the castle, what is today known as the "Old Town", which was, at one time surrounded by the "Flodden Wall" and parts of this can still be seen. However, in medieval times, Edinburgh was a fairly small town and our guide pointed out the brass markers set in the road showing the original boundary of Edinburgh. Beyond this was the town of Canongate, later subsumed by Edinburgh.
The tour took in the "Old Town" including the Grassmarket where the oldest public house in Edinburgh, the White Hart Inn, is located. The Group also saw the Beehive Inn, where stagecoaches departed from and the Last Drop Inn, which was next to the old gallows. The tour also passed the statue of "Greyfriars Bobby" and the Royal Infirmary before passing the site of the oldest fire station in the country.
Members of the Central Scotland Group on the open top bus.
© John G. Fender 2000
Next came the site of Tanners Row, where Burke and Hare carried on their grisly business and which now has a modern office block built on it and which has a transport connection for those involved in road transport.
The tour also covered the Royal Mile, which was home to some 40,000 people in the 17th Century and where the oldest house in Edinburgh, dating from 1477, can be found, before proceeding round the "New Town". The tour concluded with a trip through Leith to the Royal Yacht Britannia before returning to Princes Street. The Central Scotland Group would like to record it appreciation to Alex Calder of Guide Friday who kindly made the bus available and to our driver, Craig for a smooth journey and particularly to Sharon for her most enjoyable commentary on the various sights of Edinburgh.
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