Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time Part 5 Scott's Monument and the Cathedral

On Friday May 28th we decided to do Edinburgh. So our first trip was to the T-mobile store to get a working phone to call home and to communicate with our bed and breakfast hosts along the way. We landed on Prince Street and diagonally across from the store was the Scott Monument.

When I was 10 I read Ivanhoe, Waverley, and Kenilworth. I didn’t read the Lady of the Lake. Go figure. I’ll have to right that oversight. I still have my copies of the books. (Something anyone who knows me will not be surprised to know) Good thing they were all hardbacks.

It was a real challenge to get a photograph of the monument in between cars racing by.

After Sir Walter Scott’s death in 1832, it was decided, because of his popularity and fame as one of Scotland’s most distinguished writers, he should have some kind of monument to honor his accomplishments. A competition was held to garner a design. A joiner and draftsman, George Kemp entered his design under a pseudonym. A joiner is someone who does carpentry joining wood work without nails such as in cabinetry and book cases. He was also a draftsman. The monument was built between 1840 and 1844 but sadly Kemp never saw it completed. He drowned in the Union canal. His son Thomas placed the last stone in the monument in his stead in 1844.

The white Carrara marble statue of Scott with his dog Maida was sculpted by Sir John Steell and set in place at that same time.

The monument stands 200 feet high and is created from stone quarried from the Binnie Quarry in Linlithgow, West Lothian. The quarry was recently reopened just to harvest the same quality of stone to do renovations to the monument.

Seeing modern store fronts directly across the street from a monument erected in the mid eighteen hundreds was one of the things I marveled at while in Edinburgh. And the use of buildings constructed hundreds of years ago for modern purposes was another.  The unbelievable amount of stone that had to be harvested to build the city of Edinburgh amazed me, because everything is built of stone.

We walked down the street and turned the corner onto The Royal Mile.  At one end of the Royal Mile is Holyrood Palace and the other Edinburgh Castle and in the middle is St. Giles Cathedral. 

The High Kirk of Edinburgh has been a house of worship for 900 years.  It's massive and beautiful. But what makes it's architecture stand out is the Crown Steeple or Crown Spire that tops the church. The original was constructed in 1495 and then rebuilt in 1648. 
Here's another view.  

Tomorrow is Edinburgh Castle!!!

Write on,

Teresa R.


Mary Ricksen said...

Wow! What impressive pictures and the statue of Scott with his dog. How cool!

Jody said...

Did you walk along the park on Princes Street? I love that people use the park during all the seasons and at one time is was a sesspit until they cleaned up and made the park. Very nice pictures, Iove Edinburgh as it has such a rich history.

Teresa Reasor said...

Yes, we walked along Princes Street. And just soaked up the history of it.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Teresa. Loved these photos as they brought back memories. The day we were in Edinburgh it rained, but we still could see the sights out of the city bus. I loved the Scott monument - loved Lady of the Lake in School and loved seeing where he wrote it at Lock Katrine. I hope you were able to visit there. Another awesome place in Scotland. :) The story was my favorite when we had to read those classics in junior high. Look forward to more photos...

Teresa Reasor said...

Thanks for following the blog. And no I didn't get to go to Loch Katrine. I really wish I had.
There were so many things to see and do and just not enough time to do them all.
Maybe next time.

Regencyresearcher said...

I loved Edinburgh. Been there twice and still didn't see it all. Wonderful travelogue.

Gretchen said...

Did you get to see the interior of St. Giles? I loved the stained glass windows and seems like they had a really elaborate filigree wall thingy inside (like to separate the nuns from the rest of the congregation - incidentally I am an imbecile about religion so I suspect there aren't nuns in the Scottish church) Anyway the scale of the place is spectacular and the day we visited there was a choir practicing so we got a concert as well. Beautiful place.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Thank you for posting such beautiful pictures.

Teresa Reasor said...

I'm so disappointed that I didn't go inside the Cathedral!! I've seen pictures of the interior and yes, it is spectacular.

It was beginning to rain and we were eager to get to our tour of Mary King's Close, then by the time we came back down from the Castle, the stores were beginning to lock up.

We went out to eat at a pub that had more American food than Scottish fare. Wish I'd been able to eat Haggis somewhere before we left the city.

Teresa R.