Edradour Distillery -Stirling Castle- Edinburgh- August 17, 2012 – By Lancelot

We get an early start and go to Edradour distillery, the smallest distillery in all of Scotland. They only have  two machines to crush and soak the barley so  they only produce 12 casks of whiskey each week.

 

They have been distilling Whiskey the same way and using the same equipment since 1825 when they opened. As they say,”The smaller the still, the finer and more distinctive the taste of the whiskey”

After the tour we go to Mc Kays and get some haggis.

Haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. It was good. It would have been better if we did not know what it was. After lunch we hit the road to stirling castle.

This is the most strategic castle in Scotland because it controls the main bridge from the Lowlands to the Highlands. This castle was a top priority during the Scottish wars of independence. Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood there until her mother had her taken away to hide before the English arrived. Parts of the castle are fairly new because during the Scottish wars of  independence many parts were completely  destroyed. Sometimes the castle was abandoned, taken, and retaken by opposing sides.

After touring the castle we head to the William Wallace monument. This monument was built for the immortal Sir. William Wallace, a Scottish patriot born at Elderslie circa in 1270 AD. From the year 1296  he fought dauntlessly in defense of his country ‘s liberty and independence in the face of fearful odds and great hardship being eventually betrayed, captured and put to death on August 23d 1305. His example of  heroism and devotion inspired those who came after him to win victory after defeat and his memory remains for all time a source of pride, honor, and inspiration to his countrymen. In his words, Dico tibi verum libertas optima rerum nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili (I tell you the truth son, freedom is the best condition, never live like a slave) Bas Agus Buaidh (Death and Victory). This is why he has a memorial and you don’t. William was captured by the English on  August 5, 1305, when John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward, betrayed  Wallace and told the English where he would be. William was captured at Robroyston near Glasgow. William was then taken to London and had a trial on August 23 1305 at Westminster hall. He was then crowned  king of outlaws before being taken from the hall to the Tower of London, striped naked and dragged through the city. He was then taken to the Elms at Smithfield, drawn and quartered, strangled by hanging but released while he was still alive, emasculated, eviscerated, was forced to watch his bowels burn (you don’t want to know what that means), then beheaded and his remaining body was cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London bridge. It was later joined by the heads of his brothers, John and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle upon Tyne Berwick upon Tweed Stirlling and Perth. A plaque stands in a wall of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital near the site of Wallace’s execution at Smithfield saying everything that I just wrote.

In 1869 the Wallace Monument  was erected, very close to the site of his victory at Stirling Bridge.

When we arrive at the monument it was already closed but we could still see the large monument from outside. We then head to Edinburgh.

 Upon arrival we find a nice parking garage where we were lucky enough to find a spot.  That’s because we arrived in the middle of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,

The world’s largest arts festival, spanning 25 days totaling over 2,695 shows from 47 countries in 279 venues. The Fringe is a showcase for the performing arts, particularly comedy theatre, dance, and music are also represented. Theatrical productions from the classics of ancient Greece to William Shakespeare, Samuel Becket, and contemporary works.

We find out that there is a large parade coming through so we quickly run and get a good spot. It was an amazing parade of Scottish men wearing  kilts and playing bag pipes. Scottish royalty, soldiers, and huge floats also came though. After the parade we get some  food at a pub then go back outside to explore the city.

Around 12:00pm Julian befriends a couple who think he is cute.  They invite us to come with them and  see a free light show.  We decide to follow them, but sadly when we arrive the light show is over. They apologize and offered to pay for a cab to take us back to our hotel.  We then tell them we do not stay in hotels we sleep in the car, a few seconds later their faces give away total bewilderment.   As we rode the cab back to our car we shared how we turn the car into a very comfortable tent with our exbed air pillows, dream-walker 250 down sleeping bags, and talk radio shows to lull us to sleep.  They give us a strange stare but I think we may have introduced them to a new way of traveling.

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