Nancy’s 1992 journey to the British Isles Pt. 2


Nancy and Monica having addressed a week long walking tour of Ireland and Wales historic past were comfortably seated aboard an Irish Ferry for their journey to the port city of Holyhead Scotland. the Ferry Terminal and the train station sharing the same location.   Because of their  late arrival, the next available train was at 4:25 in the morning.  Nancy, Monica,  and another couple from Hong Kong,  making a decision to wait in the mostly unoccupied station.

The hour and half journey to Chester somewhat uneventful for the tired travelers, discovering the Westminster Hotel but a short walk from the station.  The two deciding, after some needed sleep,  to walk the walls of Chester.  The defensive wall construction was started by the Romans in 70 A D.  Following the Roman occupation came the ruling of the Vikings,  followed by the Norman conquest in the 12th century,  extending the walls to form a complete circuit of the city.


The two mile wall providing another walking history,  viewing the Morgan mount, a gun emplacement platform added to the wall in 1845.  Continuing to the Bonewaldesthorne’s tower section of the wall that was  added in the 12th century,  then the East Gate, having replacing the initial structure in 1768, the wrought iron clock tower was added in 1899 to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria.


The historic Water Tower on the wall was built in 1322,  and   at one time stood near the River Dee,  but due to silting, now stand some 200 yards distance.  the old Dee rRver bridge across the river was built during the Roman era, but rebuilt in 13 eighty seven.  In 17 seventy nine   the Chester Canal opened to instill commerce,  connecting the river dee to the town of Nantwich.  Before calling it a day, the two viewing the Chester Castle,  initially built in 10 seventy, but fortified in the 12th century.  On their return, entering the Bear & Billet, its name  symbolizing a bear tied to a billet,  or stake.    The structure  built in 16 sixty four as a town house for the Earl of Shrewsbury, the building becoming and remaining an inn and pub since the 18th century.


Nancy and Monica again on a journey,  a 3 ½ hour bus ride to Glasgow, arriving at 2:30 in the afternoon, checking in at the Chering Cross B & B, located within walking distance of the train station and theatre.  Their evening plans having been already arranged, but a late afternoon, Hop on,  Hop off bus sightseeing tour of Glasgow  was in order.  Nancy’s impression of Glasgow was,  it was clean and safe,  nothing like a lot of traditional big cities.  The two attending an evening  kings theatre production of My Fair Lady, taking notice of the interior beauty of  the theatre, and the professionalism of the play


An overcast morning walk to the Glasgow train station,  the two adventurers boarding for a 40 minute ride to Sterling, looking forward to  an exploration of the Sterling Castle. The castle was one of many that were used by Scottish royal residence,  including Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.  Scottish legend, William Wallace defeated an English army at the Battle of Sterling Bridge in September 12 ninety seven,  then later captured in Robroyston, near Glasgow, and handed over to King Edward I of England, who had him hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason and crimes.  The two travelers partaking of fish and chips while waiting for the train for their return to Glasgow and the 7:30 Theatre Royal presentation of The Mikado.  It wasn’t planned,  but because of the late hour,  they went directly to theatre from the train station,  still dressed in jeans and sweats, not exactly copasetic for a Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta, both agreeing the play was first class.


The morning found Nancy and Monica again on a train, this time a 30 minute ride to Linlithgow,  Monica’s friends ,Ann and Bill Watts meeting them at the Station.   The two spending the morning at the couples residence.   The afternoon found them on their way to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, Bill having taken them to the train station.  The two subscribing to a tour, starting with the Edinburgh Castle, built by King David the first on a rocky summit overlook, in 1103.  Entering the large grounds with a host of several buildings, discovering again, the tour was a walk through history.  Viewing Sir William Wallace and Robert Bruce, two of Scotland’s most celebrated historical figures, standing guard outside the castle. They could feel the ambiance of the past as they ventured on the historic grounds. A brief drive down to what is known as the Royal Mile, viewing a millennium of historic structures.


Nancy couldn’t resist, she had to see Greyfriars Bobby’s fountain.   As the story goes, Bobby was a Skye terrier belonging to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh city police, as a night watchman.  When John Gray died,  he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkland,  a Franciscan order of friars cemetery.   Bobby having become locally known and would spend the rest of his life sitting on his master’s grave.   A year later,  the English philanthropist Lady Burdett-Coutts,  was so moved by the story,  she had a drinking fountain topped with Bobby’s statue,  erected opposite the entrance to the churchyard cemetery to commemorate him.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse was a home for Scottish royalty, located on the opposite end of the royal mile from the Edinburgh Castle.  It was the reigning  monarchs official residence when in Edinburgh. The palace was built between 1671  and 1678 and  currently Queen Elisabeth II spends one week at Holyrood during the summer, at which time investitures,  and audiences are held.  The inquisitive found that only the historic apartments of Mary Queen of Scots and the state function rooms could be visited, because the palace was an active governing parliamentary edifice.

It was getting late and beginning to sprinkle, the two making a return to the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle to experience the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  The term “tattoo” derives from a 17th-century Dutch phrase,  doe den tap toe, “turn off the tap”,  a musical signal to tavern owners each night, played by a regiment’s Corps of Drums,  to turn off the taps of their ale kegs,  so that the soldiers would retire to their billeted lodgings at a reasonable hour. The bands in the presentation are from the British Armed Forces, along with drill and display teams.  The event takes place every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays in the month of August,  and has never been cancelled due to inclement weather.


Nancy and Monica enjoying the late night performance but not the rain, thankful that Linlithgow was but a short ride back.   Arriving,  giving bill and Ann a call, having accepted their invitation to spend the night, the two  envisaging what the morrow would bring.

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