Visit to Scotland

I visited Edinburgh many years ago but I wanted to go to the highlands of Scotland. I had the opportunity to go with Roadscholar to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and interior as well as some islands. The starting point was to study a map of Scotland.



The geography of Scotland is varied, from rural lowlands to barren uplands, and from large cities to uninhabited islands. Located in Northern Europe, Scotland comprises the northern one third of the island of Great Britain as well as 790 surrounding islands encompassing the major archipelagoes of the Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

Scotland's only land border is with England, which runs for 60 miles in a northeasterly direction from the Solway Firth in the west to the North Sea on the east coast. Separated by the North Channel, the island of Ireland lies 13 miles  from Mull of Kintyre on the Scottish mainland. Norway is located 190 miles to the northeast of Scotland across the North Sea. The Atlantic Ocean, which fringes the coastline of western and northern Scotland and its islands, influences the temperate, maritime climate of the country.





The topography of Scotland is distinguished by the Highland Boundary Fault – a geological rock fracture – which traverses the Scottish mainland from Helensburgh to Stonehaven. The faultline separates two distinctively different regions; namely the Highlands to the north and west and the lowlands to the south and east.
















The more rugged Highland region contains the majority of Scotland's mountainous terrain, including the highest peak, Ben Nevis. Lowland areas, in the southern part of Scotland, are flatter and home to most of the population, especially the narrow waist of land between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth known as the Central Belt. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, although Edinburgh is the capital and political centre of the country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Scotland


Highlights of Glasgow

Glasgow Cathedral is through to have been built on the site of
St Mungo's tomb in the 7th century and marks the birthplace
of the city of Glasgow.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and the third largest in the United Kingdom (after London and Birmingham). It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's West Central Lowlands. Inhabitants of the city are often referred to as Glaswegians,

Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain. 

Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. 







Interior of the Cathedral of Glasgow
From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain's main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies.


With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. 

Glasgow was the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period, although many cities argue the title was theirs. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew in population, reaching a peak of 1,128,473 in 1939. Comprehensive urban renewal projects in the 1960s, resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the population of the City of Glasgow council area to with people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow

Culzean Castle and Robert Burns

Culzean Castle
The castle stands in nearly 600 acres of Ayrshire's finest woodland and coastal walks.  Culzean Country Park boasts no less than five kilometres of magnificent coastline. 


From the sand dunes at the south end of the park to the rugged rocky shoreline, pitted with rock pools, caves and rock arches, the shore and beaches of sand and shingle stretch all the way to Croy Shore, the northern boundary of the park.







Calzean is built on a promontory
Culzean is in the heart of Burns country, a central base for visiting the poet's haunts. There are also other National Trust for Scotland properties within easy driving distance of the Castle. Culzean Castle originally belonged to the Kennedys, an ancient Scottish family descended from Robert the Bruce. There was a stone tower house here in the 16th century, and various Kennedys over the centuries made their mark on the castle with improvements and alterations. 







Magnificent garden
But it wasn’t until the 1770s that it started to become the grand country seat it is today. David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis and a peer in the House of Lords, commissioned famed Scottish architect Robert Adam to design and build a castle that reflected the family’s status and wealth. It was a no-expense-spared project, but neither Kennedy nor Adam survived to see the castle completed as they both died within months of each other in 1792, shortly before the castle was completed.  
http://www.celticcastles.com/castles/culzean/History.aspx








Childhood home of Robert Burns
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. 
He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.  As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising them. His poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne" is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and "Scots Wha Hae" served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns include "A Red, Red Rose", "A Man's a Man for A' That", "To a Louse", "To a Mouse", "The Battle of Sherramuir", "Tam o' Shanter" and "Ae fond kiss". 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Burns

Hill House and Oban

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a famous architect designed a house and gardens in 1902. The Hill House sits high above the Clyde in Helensburgh, commanding impressive views over the river. Walter Blackie, director of the well known Glasgow publishers, commissioned not only the house and garden, but much of the furniture and all the interior fittings and decorative schemes. https://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/the-hill-house-p255641








We arrived at Oban, a pleasant tourist town after passing through some magnificent landscape. 

Scotland’s climate varies greatly between regions, with some regions – for example, the western Highlands – home to wet and windy weather due to the winds which come in from the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast, the eastern side of the country, including Aberdeenshire, Fife and the Lothians, sees the same or less rainfall annually than many major cities around the world.

The country’s high latitude means that winter days are short and summer days are long. Summer months in Scotland bring days with extended twilight, and in the far north of Scotland, days with no complete darkness. The northernmost parts of the country enjoy up to four hours more daylight than London during summer. During the winter, Scotland often has more snowfall than more southern regions of the UK. On average, snow falls in Scotland on 15 to 20 days per year, though in the mountains in the Highlands this number rises to 100. Scotland’s coldest months are January and February, when maximum daytime temperatures average between 5° and 7°C. 
 http://www.aboutscotland.in/living-in-scotland/geography-and-climate









Oban, is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Oban occupies a setting in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe, protected by the island of Kerrera; and beyond Kerrera, the Isle of Mull. 
To the north, is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour.










The site where Oban now stands has been used by humans since at least mesolithic times. Prior to the 19th century, the town itself supported very few households, sustaining only minor fishing, trading, shipbuilding and quarrying industries, and a few hardy tourists. The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery, which was founded there in 1794. During World War II, Oban was used by Merchant and Royal Navy ships and was an important base in the Battle of the Atlantic.. Since the 1950s, the principal industry has remained tourism, though the town is also an important ferry port, acting as the hub for ferries to many of the Hebrides. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oban






Isles of Mull and Iona in the Hebrides

Isle of Iona
The Isle of Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute. Mull is the fourth largest Scottish island and has an area of 338 square miles. The coastline of Mull is almost 300 miles long. Mull has been inhabited since around 6000 BC. Bronze Age inhabitants built menhirs, brochs and a stone circle. In the 14th century Mull became part of the Lordship of the Isles. After the collapse of the Lordship in 1493 the island was taken over by the clan MacLean, and in 1681 by the clan Campbell. During the Highland Clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries, the population fell from 10,000 to less than 4000.









Iona Chapel
In 563 Saint Columba, exiled from his native Ireland, founded a monastery on Iona with 12 companions. From Iona they set about the conversion of pagan Scotland and much of northern England to Christianity. Iona’s fame as a place of learning and Christian mission spread throughout Europe. Iona became a holy island where several kings of Scotland, Ireland and Norway came to be buried. 









Reilig Odhrain burial ground
Notable burials on Iona include: King Donald II of Scotland, King Malcolm I of Scotland, King Duncan I of Scotland, King Macbeth of Scotland and King Donald III of Scotland. Many believe that the Book of Kells was produced, in whole or in part, on Iona towards the end of the 8th century. 
Iona has been a place of pilgrimage for 1500 years. Iona itself is three miles long and a mile and a half long. Iona can be reached by ferry. Iona differs much from Mull, there are no tall mountains but instead there are some lovely white beaches. http://www.scotlandinfo.eu/mull-and-iona



Visit to Fort William: Cruise on Loch Shiel

Sailing on Loch Shiel
From Oban we traveled to Fort William and then we went for a two hour cruise on Loch Shiel. Fort William is the second largest settlement in the Highlands of Scotland with around 10,000 inhabitants — and the largest town: only the city of Inverness is larger. It is a centre for hillwalking and climbing due to its proximity to Ben Nevis and many other Munro mountains.
Around 7.33% of the population can speak Gaelic.








View boat on Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel is a 17 1⁄2 miles  long freshwater loch, 393 ft deep, situated 12.4 miles west of Fort William in Lochaber, Highland, Scotland. Its nature changes considerably along its length, being deep and enclosed by mountains in the north east and shallow surrounded by bog and rough pasture in the south west, from which end the 4 km River Shiel drains to the sea in Loch Moidart near Castle Tioram.











Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct featured in Harry Potter series
The surrounding mountains are picturesque but relatively rarely climbed as none quite reaches the 3,000 ft required for Munro status. The area is well wooded compared to the many Highland areas that have suffered from overgrazing, and much of the shore is designated a Special Area of Conservation. Uniquely for a major loch the flow is not regulated. Boat trips for tourists have recently started on the loch. Loch Shiel is only marginally above sea level and was in fact a sea loch a few thousand years ago when sea levels were higher.







Bonnie Prince Charlie
Charles Edward Stuart (1720 – 1788), commonly known in Britain during his lifetime as The Young Pretender, and often known in retrospective accounts as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the second Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, France and Ireland (as Charles III) from the death of his father in 1766. This claim was as the eldest son of James Francis Edward Stuart, himself the son of James VII and II. Charles is perhaps best known as the instigator of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which he led an insurrection to restore his family to the throne of Great Britain, which ended in defeat at the Battle of Culloden that effectively ended the Jacobite cause. Jacobites supported the Stuart claim due to hopes for religious toleration for Roman Catholics and a belief in the divine right of kings. Charles's flight from Scotland after the uprising has rendered him a romantic figure of heroic failure in some later representations. In 1759 he was involved in a French plan to invade Britain which was abandoned following British naval victories. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Edward_Stuart



Ben Nevis & Rannoch Moor

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Standing at 4,414 ft above sea level, it is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of the Scottish Highlands, close to  Fort William. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Nevis 

Unfortunately we could not see much of as there was too much fog, We went up part way upon a gondola.


Rannoch Moor is an expanse of around 50 square miles of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch in Scotland, where it extends from and into easterly Perth and Kinross, northerly Lochaber (in Highland), and the area of Highland Scotland toward its south-west, northern Argyll and Bute. Rannoch Moor is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. 








Peat deposits pose major difficulties to builders of roads and railways. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes. The railway rises to over 1,300 feet  and takes gentle curves totalling 23 miles across the moorland. To be precise, there is a sign saying 1142ft. Above sea level.The West Highland Line (Scottish Gaelic: Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean - "Iron Road to the Isles") is a railway line linking the ports of Mallaig and Oban in the Scottish Highlands to Glasgow in Central Scotland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Highland_Line

The Misty Isle of Skye

We took a ferry to Skye
Skye or the Isle of Skye  is the largest and most northerly major island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. Although it has been suggested that the Gaelic Sgitheanach describes a winged shape there is no definitive agreement as to the name's origins.









The island was misty while we were there
The island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period and its history includes a time of Norse rule and a long period of domination by Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. The 18th-century Jacobite risings led to the breaking up of the clan system and subsequent Clearances that replaced entire communities with sheep farms, some of which also involved forced emigrations to distant lands.











We returned to the mainland via a bridge
Resident numbers declined from over 20,000 in the early 19th century to just under 9,000 by the closing decade of the 20th century. Skye's population increased by 4 per cent between 1991 and 2001. About a third of the residents were Gaelic speakers in 2001, and although their numbers are in decline this aspect of island culture remains important.













Urquhart Castle sits beside Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. It was subsequently held as a royal castle, and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. The castle was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though conflict with the MacDonalds continued. Despite a series of further raids the castle was strengthened, only to be largely abandoned by the middle of the 17th century. Urquhart was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently decayed. In the 20th century it was placed in state care and opened to the public: it is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland.

The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area. It was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The buildings of the castle were laid out around two main enclosures on the shore. The northern enclosure or Nether Bailey includes most of the more intact structures, including the gatehouse, and the five-storey Grant Tower at the north end of the castle. The southern enclosure or Upper Bailey, sited on higher ground, comprises the scant remains of earlier buildings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urquhart_Castlehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urquhart_Castle

A shephard with his dog and sheep

We were taken to a sheep farm where a shepherd demonstrated to us how he used his collie dogs to round up the sheep. He used commands in both Gaelic and English as well as whistling to get the dogs to round up the sheep. One dog was blind but he sensed the sheep by their smell.










He used a command and the dogs went to fetch the sheep. Then  he used another command to get the sheep to return. He could tell the dogs to move them to the left or to the right.











He also showed us how he sheared the sheep. The did not seem to mind and calmly accepted their wool being cut off.






Dunkeld & Scone Palace

Dunkeld Cathedral lies on the north bank of the River Tay just to the west of the centre of Dunkeld. It is approached on foot through the narrow streets of Dunkeld which lead you to the Cathedral's ornate gates. With the river on one side and open land leading to hills on the other, the setting is idyllic.  The site has been holy ground since about 730AD when Celtic missionaries built the first monastery here. The major development came in 848, when Kenneth MacAlpin, by then King of the Scots and of the Picts, rebuilt the original wattle buildings in red stone. Two years later Dunkeld became the religious centre of Scotland when the relics of St Columba were moved here from Iona in the face of increasing Viking attacks on the west coast.





River Tays
The Cathedral you see today shows both Gothic and Norman influence having being built in stages over a period of nearly 250 years between 1260 and 1501. The restored choir is the oldest part or the original church, having been completed in 1350. It contains some of the original red stone in its east gable.  The Cathedral is dedicated to St Columba. Its said that after their journey from Iona his relics were buried under the chancel steps to keep them safe. 






Cathedral from River Tays
Dunkeld Cathedral twice suffered desecration and destruction during Scotland's turbulent history. In 1560 it suffered badly in the Reformation, and anything considered to be remotely "Popish" was destroyed. The chancel was repaired and re-roofed in 1600 to serve as Dunkeld's parish church.  Worse was to come on 21 August 1689, during the first Jacobite uprising. The Jacobites, fresh from their victory at Killiecrankie to the north, attacked Government forces based in Dunkeld. During the course of a long, bloody and largely inconclusive battle, much of the town, including the repaired parts of the Cathedral, were burned down. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/dunkeld/cathedral/







Scone was from at least the 9th century the crowning-place of the Kings of Scots and home to the Stone of Scone, more commonly referred to as the Stone of Destiny. Kenneth MacAlpin (traditionally known as the first King of Scots), Shakespeare's Macbeth, Robert the Bruce, and Charles II number amongst the 38 Kings of Scots inaugurated and crowned at Scone. It was believed that no king had a right to reign as King of Scots unless he had first been crowned at Scone upon the Stone of Scone. In the Middle Ages, the land was the site of a major Augustinian abbey, Scone Abbey, nothing of which now remains above ground level except detached architectural fragments. Scone was also the site of the first Parliament of Scotland, or Council/Assembly






The mons placiti or Scone Moot Hill is the inauguration site of the Scottish Kings. It is also called 'Boot Hill', possibly from an ancient tradition whereby nobles swore fealty to their king whilst wearing the earth of their own lands in their foot-bindings or boots, or even by standing upon the earth that they had brought with them from their respective homelands (carrying the soil in their boots). The tradition being that the Moot Hill, or rather 'Boot Hill', came into being as a result of this tradition of nobles bring a piece of their own lands to Scone. The Kings of Scots, themselves inaugurated upon the Moot Hill, were thus making during these ceremonies a hugely symbolic commitment to the people of Scotland, the Scots. This commitment was made from atop a hill which, if one believes the tradition, represented all parts of the kingdom of Scots and thus allowed the King to make his oaths whilst standing symbolically upon all of Scotland.









Scone Palace is a listed historic house and 5 star tourism attraction near the village of Scone and the city of Perth, Scotland. Built of red sandstone with a castellated roof, it is one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic style in the United Kingdom.A place steeped in history, Scone was originally the site of an early Christian church, and later an Augustinian priory. In the 12th century, Scone Priory was granted abbey status and as a result an Abbot's residence - an Abbot's Palace - was constructed. It is for this reason (Scone's status as an abbey) that the current structure retains the name "Palace". Scone Abbey was severely damaged in 1559 during the Scottish Reformation after a mob whipped up by the famous reformer, John Knox, came to Scone from Dundee. Having survived the Reformation, the Abbey in 1600 became a secular Lordship (and home) within the parish of Scone, Scotland. The Palace has thus been home to the Earls of Mansfield for over 400 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scone_Palace

Culross and Rosslyn Chapel

Arriving in Culross is something of a surprise. The village looks across the River Forth to the petrochemical works at Grangemouth, and sits between the huge Longannet power station to the west and the derelict Low Valleyfield colliery and the disused salt pans of Preston Island to the east. 


In this industrial landscape the visitor following the brown tourist signs to Culross Palace and Abbey is probably not expecting anything very special from the village itself. Which is why what you find such a shock. Because in Culross you find the nearest thing to a 16th century time capsule anywhere in Scotland. It's as if much of the core of the village was simply frozen in time. This effect is no accident, and what you see today is in large measure the result of the work of the National Trust for Scotland over a period of more than seventy years. Highlights include the 1597 Palace, restored to its original mustard yellow render and wooden shuttered condition. It was actually more the local landowner's hall and dwelling, and still has a range of accompanying outbuildings and a "hanging garden" with wicker fences leading up the slope behind. And on the hillside above the village are the remains of Culross Abbey. 






However, what really sets Culross apart as special is the way such a large part of the village is original, with narrow wynds (including the evocative and probably once descriptive "Stinking Wynd") and stunning buildings. Here you can begin to see what a 16th century village might really have looked like. 

In 1575 a unique new pit, the Moat Pit, was sunk by Sir George Bruce from an artificial island offshore in the River Forth, and kept drained by a continuous bucket system driven by water power from a dam on the hillside. The coal was exported directly and Culross was once a very busy port. The coal was also used to provide heat for the village's second main industry, its salt pans. In the 1590s Culross produced more salt than anywhere else in Scotland. The profits produced by this trade and by the mine were used by Sir George Bruce to finance the building of the Palace. By 1750 the boom had ended. The Moat pit was flooded and destroyed in a storm in 1625, and later the stone from the pier, crucial to the village's prosperity, was removed to help rebuild the port at Leith. The fortunes of the village subsided through the 1800s, leaving, by 1900, "a decayed royal burgh containing many old houses". By the 1930s the world started to realise how special Culross was, and the NTS has been working here ever since. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/culross/culross/





Rosslyn Chapel, formally known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, is a 15th-century chapel located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. Rosslyn Chapel was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church (with between four and six ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness of the Scoto-Norman Sinclair family. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin, the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery. The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. 






After the Scottish Reformation (1560), Roman Catholic worship in the chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the chapel was closed to public worship until 1861, when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a member church of the Anglican Communion.

Since the late 1980s, the chapel has also featured in speculative theories concerning a connection of Freemasonry, the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. It was prominently featured in the 2003 bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and its 2006 film adaptation. Rosslyn Chapel remains privately owned. The current owner is Peter St Clair-Erskine, 7th Earl of Rosslyn. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosslyn_Chapel


Edinburgh Castle and City

Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".





Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Castle





Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 local government council areas. Located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore, it is Scotland's second most populous city and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. The 2014 official population estimates are 464,990 for the city of Edinburgh, 492,680 for the local authority area, and 1,339,380 for the city region as of 2014. Recognised as the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and the seat of the monarchy in Scotland. The city is also the annual venue of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and home to national institutions such as the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery. It is the largest financial centre in the UK after London.


Vista over Edinburgh from the castle showing the Firth of Forth
Historically part of Midlothian, the city has long been a centre of education, particularly in the fields of medicine, Scots law, literature, the sciences and engineering. The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582 and now one of four in the city, was placed 17th in the QS World University Rankings in 2013 and 2014. The city is also famous for the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe, the latter being the world's largest annual international arts festival. The city's historical and cultural attractions have made it the United Kingdom's second most popular tourist destination after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year. Historic sites in Edinburgh include Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, the churches of St. Giles, Greyfriars and the Canongate, and the extensive Georgian New Town, built in the 18th century. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh