Better Know Our Route: Edinburgh in Better Know Our Route. Wayfarers: Quest for the Cure
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Better Know Our Route: Edinburgh

   Posted by: admin   in Better Know Our Route

Due to overwhelming* response on our page‘s Facebook poll, today we are looking at Dùn Èideann, capital city of Scotland and second-largest city north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Edinburgh, by all sources we’ve been able to find, was named after an area called “Eidyn” several millenia ago.  The convenient dormant volcano (now called “Arthur’s Seat”) was made home to a hill fort, called a dun, which soon became a small city – which the Germanic influence from raiding longshipmen turned into Eidyn burgh, or Edinburgh.

When we walk into Edinburgh from the south – our last stop on the trip before this final destination will be the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew above Roslin Glen, better known as Rosslyn Chapel, and is 12km south-west of Edinburgh’s famous castle – we will have been walking for almost four weeks through rain and cold, and in a twist of sadism (or maybe masochism) we will be finishing our walk with a climb up the castle hill to Edinburgh Castle, pictured above.

Today’s Edinburgh is, of course, very different than it was when the castle was built; despite the “new city” and expansion outside of the traditional walls, though, it remains a centre of history and tradition.  A full 23% of the city is taken by “conservation areas” – protected areas like historical buildings and sites that mean something culturally to the area.  One of the big stretches in the city, called the Royal Mile, stretches from one of the best-known features (the ruined Holyrood Abbey, whose guest house was once a royal residence) to the Castle which dominates Edinburgh’s skyline and takes a place of honour on its flag.

In the middle ages, when the city’s walls dictated the limits of the city itself, buildings were built up as the population expanded – there are examples of buildings from eleven to a full fifteen stories tall, built centuries before skyscrapers became commonplace in urban centres worldwide.  It is creativity and problem-solving like this that has given rise to creative minds and a huge art scene in the relatively sparsely-populated city.  (With only a little under 500,000 residents, Edinburgh is 7th-most populous in the United Kingdom, smaller than even nearby Glasgow.  To compare, London, Ontario and Kitchener-Waterloo are roughly the size of Edinburgh in Canada; the US has 35 cities larger than its rough equivalent, Sacramento California.)

Edinburgh is home to a number of world-famous festivals, the one closest to my heart being Edinburgh Fringe – a theatre festival that has stretched as far as Toronto – but also including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the world.

Edinburgh has been home to Robert Bruce in ancient times and has not let the world down in terms of famous residents: Charles Darwin, David Hume, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Sean Connery and the band The Proclaimers, who had no small part in inspiring the nice round number that our route has been brought to.

I know several of our readers have been to Edinburgh: what should we see while we’re there?  It’s the one city we’re spending a few days in, at the end of our journey – are there must-see attractions after we take a picture in the same place Bruce Campbell (star of Army of Darkness and countless other cult hits) is standing here?  Let us know!



*If “one vote more than the three-way tie” is overwhelming, at least.

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