27 September 2009--This morning we ride the number 8 bus through town to Craigmillar Castle [US], two or three miles southeast of Old Town. It's a marvelous site, set on grounds that
are left largely wild. There would have been formal gardens back in the day, where Mary Queen of Scots indulged her love of
archery and falconry. The castle itself is great fun to explore. It isn't overly large, but it resists my usual systematic
method of investigation, and it's easy to feel a bit lost inside at times. The gentle hill on which it sits is not particularly
high, but the view from the top of the tower is marvelous, sweeping over Edinburgh Castle, Arthur's Seat, and the Firth of
Forth. I don't know why this gem of a site is not better known.
We walk back to town, seeing some new neighborhoods before cutting through the university and across the Meadows to the Museum, which we wander about for a while. In the museum shop, I pick up a replacement for Spike, my Lewis chessman berserker, who apparently went off on a Viking raid some time back and hasn't been seen since. I'm thinking that the new guy is Clem at first, but ultimately realize that he's Clyde, a name with some Scottish resonance. After, I shop for music at Coda, and then catch the bus back to the B&B for a rest. Ron stays in town--it's his last day in Scotland, and he wants to make the most of it. I meet him later at the Bow, and we return there after dinner down in the Grassmarket. Presently we are joined by Tom, a whisky forum acquaintance from Illinois; Willie, whom I met last year; Iain, who works at Royal Mile Whiskies; and several others. We enjoy the company right up to closing, 11:00 at the Bow. The Cumberland agains provides us with a nightcap, Ron's last pint in Scotland this year.