Once we had breakfast and thawed out, we set out for Aberdeen and the Maritime Museum, which covers Aberdeen's history surrounding the sea, from early fisheries by way of tea clippers to the North Sea oil boom. Information about the North Sea oil industry dominated and there was much information about life on an oil platform/rig, the various skills required and the technologies used to build and run an oil operation at sea. Information was well presented and I think we all learned a lot.
|The Aberdeen Maritime Museum: Entry is free and it's well worth a visit.|
|At the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, one can get a feel for what it's like being an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) pilot.|
|Computer programs help pilots train to operate ROVs. The museum offers a station where one can try their skills at fixing an oil leak at the bottom of the sea.|
|The view of the harbour from the top floor of the Aberdeen Maritime Museum.|
When we arrived back to the Greenpark Certificated site, it was lovely and sunny outside so we decided to go for a walk and follow the footpath to Brathens Wood.
|It's fun following a footpath and discovering to where it will lead.|
|Along the footpath, we came across this sculpture made from an an old tree trunk in, what seemed to be, the middle of nowhere.|
|St Andrews has beautiful buildings accented with abundant flower boxes everywhere.|
|I just can't imagine this shop making a go of it in the US.|
|I loved the details on the centuries old buildings.|
|The Bella Italia restaurant had the best kids menu I'd ever seen; there were choices for a 3 course meal and Sarah also received a goodie bag with multi-color crayons, a mask to color and an activity book.|
|The Himalayas is also known as the Ladies' Putting Green and is owned by the St Andrews Ladies Putting Club, founded in 1867.|
|By the back 9, Sarah got so frustrated with the Himalayas course, that she quit.|
|I think the Himalayas is equally as challenging to par as the St Andrews Old Course.|
Oh, and like a dream come true, I saw "STERNE" on the board. How cool was that! It belonged to Richard Sterne, from South Africa but for a brief moment I could allow myself to imagine it belonging to yours truly.
|Check out the second name from the bottom. A dream come true, STERNE was on the board at a respectable 8 under par!|
|Someone approaching the 18th green.|
|A view of the West Sands beach.|
|This person driving a kite buggy was having a grand time; we were all envious.|
|En route to The Haven Bar and Restaurant, I took this photo of a WWI monument at sunset, next to the Silverdyke Park.|
|While waiting for Vincent to return from church, Sarah and I walked down to the shore. It looked like the tide was coming in.|
|View from the roof top of the MUSA overlooking another university building and looking towards the West Sands beach and St Andrews Old Course way, way off in the distance.|
|The MUSA offers a super art center for kids. Here, Sarah was finishing up a painting and was allowed to embellish it with silver and gold paint accents.|
|A view of the Martyrs Monument: It was erected in 1842 in memory of the Protestant reformers who had been executed in St Andrews some 300 years earlier, before and during the Scottish Reformation.|
|From left to right, a driver from 1860, 1865 and 1870 respectively. The iron is also from the late 1800s.|
We started our venture in the city by getting some school supplies for the kids. The boys needed graph paper and mathematical instruments for their next section of algebra. We then went to Tesco for the meal deal (sandwich, a drink and fruit or crisps for £3-£4) and off to the park, where the Martyr Monument stands, in order to have a picnic lunch. I had just finished half of my prawn, avocado and arugula sandwich and was holding the second half in my left hand when suddenly I was attached by a seagull! It was Hitchcock's The Birds redux! The bird grabbed my sandwich, including my middle finger and set off to fly away; it was foiled that my finger was still attached. (Ouch, that hurt!) Believe me, that gull got a glimpse of my middle finger as it was circling around considering a second attack!
|The city of St Andrews wasn't exaggerating with this poster. That could be me in the poster except the woman wasn't holding her middle finger in the correct position.|
|A view from the inner walls of the castle ruins looking back towards St Andrews.|
|St Salvator's College at St Andrews University.|
|I understand this street sign gets stolen quite a bit.|
On October 1st, we left the Silverdyke Park and set out for Edinburgh. Our next camping location was the Drummohr Holiday Park (£26/nt) near Musselburgh just west of Edinburgh.
|A photo of our pitch at the Drummohr Holiday Park.|
|The Museum of Edinburgh is definitely worth a stop, particularly if you have children because it has a comprehensive children's section with various types of art projects and a dress up room. One just pays for the art materials that are used.|
Edinburgh Castle has much to offer and, if one doesn't have kids that want to rush through things, one could easily spend four or more hours here. Some of the highlights include the Scottish crown jewels (first used for the coronation of Mary, Queen of Scots), the National War Museum, the Royal Palace, Scottish National War Memorial, Prisons of War exhibit, St Margaret's Chapel, one o'clock Gun and the Regimental Museums. If you rent an audio handset (we all had one), you could spend a good day here just listening to the historic details.
|Paul, James and Vincent at the entry gate of the castle. Under the coat of arms reads the motto "Nemo Me Impune|
Lacessit" which literally means, "Nobody assails me with impunity".
|This piper stands at the entrance to the The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Museum. The castle also includes a second Regimental Museum, The Royal Scots Museum.|
|This photo was taken outside of St Margaret's Chapel looking toward the Scottish National War Memorial.|
|This was a second photo taken outside of St Margaret's Chapel looking down towards Foog's Gate.|
|The tiny alter in St Margaret's Chapel.|
|Need a vintage formal dress, a fur jacket or dressy sporran? Be sure to check out W. Armstrong & Son. There are two locations in Edinburgh.|
|James was thrilled with his barret.|
|Paul's Scottish outfit is coming together.|
James IV built the Great Hall, designed to provide a setting for major royal gatherings, in part to impress his new Queen, Margaret Tudor, but probably more importantly to impress all who were invited to parliament and special events there.
King James V began the palace apartments in 1538 as a sumptuous residence for himself and his Queen, Mary of Guise. He died in 1542 and may not have seen it completed.
There had been a recent large-scaled effort to refurbish parts of the castle and return them to what they were back in medieval times. Restoration work on the palace apartments had been completed and are striking.
|View of the fireplace in the restored King's inner chamber.|
|This is a photo of the medieval hammerbeam roof in the Great Hall which was built for James IV in 1503. One can also see an example of a hammerbeam roof at Edinburgh Castle.|
|A window in the Great Hall. The glass panes were ordered from Italy.|
|Sarah standing in the Castle Close.|
|These are the castle gardens with the Prince's Tower in the background.|
|A (at one time) stylish badger sporran on display in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum at Stirling Castle.|
|Paul looking out at the surroundings below.|
|Looking upward, from the North Gate, at the Great Hall.|
|After working a full day on the tapestry, this woman will have only completed one square inch.|
|This is a picture of what the 7th tapestry will look like, once it is finished. It will take 2-3 years to complete.|
|The whisky flavoured condom! Warning: Do not drive while using this product. (Hilarious!)|
After finishing with the Museum of Edinburgh, Sarah and I crossed the street for a few minutes to check out the Peoples Story Museum (free). This one is also worth a look. It covers the lives (and plight) of people living in Edinburgh from to the late 18th century to present day. We didn't have much time here, given the Parliament tour deadline, so I ended up focusing most on the 1900s. I read about what a vast improvement the National Health Service made for people here when it was established in 1948. Up until then, many people resisted going to see a doctor (until the situation became dire) because of the out of pocket expense. Hmm, that sounded a bit like life for many in the United States in 2013.
|The Peoples Story Museum.|
|Paul and I inside the Debating Chamber of the Parliament Building.|
|The Museum of Childhood is worth a visit, particularly if you have a child 5+ years with you. Most doll and toy displays are behind traditional glass cases but there are activities on each level for kids to do. Sarah loved it and wanted to return.|
|This photo was taken during The Potter Trail tour. It's a view of Edinburgh Castle from the Greyfriars Church cemetery.|
|This was another sight on the tour: A Scottish busker in front of the High Court of Judiciary, Scotland's supreme criminal court.|
|Vince didn't win the trip for 5 to Dublin but he did win those swanky Guinness aviator glasses.|
|The main building of the National Museum of Scotland opened around 1866 and is very open and light.|
|A view from the natural history exhibit. Somehow I missed "Dolly" the sheep, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic (stem) cell. |
Sunday, October 6th was our last day in Edinburgh. Vince and I decided we wanted to attend a service at one of the landmark churches and so we decided to go to St Giles' Cathedral which is Scotland's most important church. It is known as the "High Kirk of Edinburgh" and is the Mother Church of Presbyterianism. I think it was the first time I had attended a Presbyterian service. It wasn't much different from an Anglican, Episcopal or Catholic service but of course there were some differences. One difference was rarely saying amen at the end of a prayer. The second was the fact that the alter was in the center of the church and the congregation sat around it. The third was the taking of communion where participants stood in a circle, around the alter; a block of bread was passed around and each person took a small piece. Then a very large goblet of wine was passed around. I thought I'd finally found a church that didn't say the peace (anti-social me, one of my least favourite rituals during a service) but this was done while standing in a circle around the alter. The upside was that people tended to be restrained and just interacted with their nearest neighbour.
|St Giles Cathedral, located on The Royal Mile, has a stunning ornate spire dating from 1495.|
|Visiting Gladstone's Land leaves one with a good feeling for life in the mid to late 1600s in Edinburgh.|
|Walking down The Mound, looking up at the New College, part of Edinburgh University.|
|A view of Edinburgh Castle from the New Town.|
|This photo of the Georgian House doesn't do it, Charlotte Square where it sits, or the New Town justice...but it's all I had.|
October 6th was our last full day in Scotland (for now). We needed to head further south as Vincent had booked repair work for LandShark near Birmingham on October 14th. We all really enjoyed Scotland and there was still so much left to see. I guess that gives us a very good excuse to return one day.