5 October 2011--The car has been sitting these past two days, a circumstance that always makes me feel a bit uneasy, since
I'm paying for it by the day. On the other hand, it cost me the equivalent of about $85 to fill its little tank a few days ago,
so I guess I shouldn't be too bothered.
I take my leave of the lovely Northumbrian coast, driving inland and crossing into Scotland at Coldstream. A few miles north of Duns, I park the car and walk down an unpaved track, then across a footbridge. There's a house on the other side--the only vehicle access is a rather frightening ford where the track crosses the rushing Whiteadder Water, which must be pretty dodgy in winter and spring. Past the house, a trail skirts a field, then ascends a steep hill. Soon I am looking at Edin's Hall Broch. Here the classic earthworks of a hillfort surround the scattered stones of a settlement, said to date from the Roman era. The broch itself, a rare Lowland example, stands toward the western end of the fort. It's much larger in diameter, and must have been much more squat in profile, than the northern ones I've seen, which resemble nuclear plant cooling towers. It's unclear whether the village was still occupied when the broch was built. Lots of questions here, not many answers. The site has never been fully excavated.
Arrive in Edinburgh late afternoon and find my B&B, a new one for me, in the Stockbridge neighborhood. The Stockbridge Tap is just around the corner, and there I meet whisky forum denizen Bud Light for dinner. This is our first meeting, and after dinner we undertake a pub crawl which includes Milnes, the Bow Bar, and the Standing Order. "Bud Light" is not his real name, of course-- he has a sensitive job and wishes to keep a low profile. Somewhere along the way, he tells me that his forum handle is in honor of a friend who once found himself in a dry county, to his great dismay. He proceeded on a seemingly Quixotic quest for a drink, and after much time and trouble, was at last offered a beer--a Bud Light. He politely declined it. Bud thought that was extremely admirable, and I suppose it is...actually, to me, it's a no-brainer.