Edinburgh, Scotland

Tuesday 17th July 2018

Today we were leaving London and heading to Edinburgh. We were leaving from Kings Cross station (where platform 9¾ is). There is a Harry Potter shop at the station and an opportunity to get a photo going onto the platform. We had walked up to the station yesterday afternoon to work out where we had to go for this morning and discovered the shop!

They had similar things to the Movie Studio Tour, but a couple of different things too. We bought a few things, mostly stuff that we had wished we had bought on the tour, but hadn’t.

We found our train and got sorted easily. There was a luggage van that we could leave the big cases in, which made things much easier. We found our carriage and our seats very easily. We organised our meal – we got either breakfast or lunch as complimentary. Phil chose breakfast where Mum and I decided to get lunch as we had eaten something in the station while waiting for the train. This was a bad decision. The breakfast would have been MUCH better!

The train was very comfortable and I got photos downloaded, edited and the text for the blog up to date.

We arrived in Edinburgh. This city is so gorgeous. We found our hotel and then headed out. Mum wanted to check out the Natural history museum, whilst Phil and I wanted to check out Edinburgh Castle.

Phil and I went up to Edinburgh Castle. It was much colder here than when we were in London. The castle is on top of the hill at the end of The Royal Mile. Phil and I were in time to join a guided tour. We started. near the gate and our guide explained the different areas of the castle and how it was defended. It was a beautiful view. After the tour was over we went in to see the Crown Jewels and the sandstone that all reigning kings and queens have sat on. It was held in London but now resides here at Edinburgh Castle with the condition that it is returned to Buckingham Palace for any future coronations. After seeing this we went in to see the oldest church on the castle grounds. It is the oldest section of the castle as it hasn’t been destroyed.

We headed down towards the hotel and stopped off at a pub that was near our hotel. It was so delicious. I had bangers and mash and they were the best sausages I’ve had. The sauce was absolutely beautiful. Phil had steak. He was so jealous of my meal. It truly was fabulous.

We headed back to the hotel, got our camera gear, checked in with Mum who was back and had a great time at the museum. We organised an Uber and were off to meet Rich from Rich Dyson Photography (click his name to link to his website) for our photo tour of Edinburgh. We met him behind the castle at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Our first photo stop was in front of a newly renovated fountain with the castle in the background. Rich was explaining to us how to use manual settings and was suggesting which aperture and time values to use. We started walking around the bottom section of the castle with Rich showing us some great veiwpoints to take photos of the castle. After here he showed us the oldest pub in Edinburgh ‘allegedly’.

We then went around the corner to see the street that JK Rowling used as inspiration for Diagon Alley. It was so cool. The street curved around and how rows of shops on both the street level and then another level on a pedestrian walkway above. The shops are all very close together and have brightly painted walls. It looked fabulous.

We then headed up to the monument for Greyfriar’s Bobby. This was a little terrier dog that showed unending loyalty to his owner, sitting by his grave for after his owner had passed away until the dog died as well. There is a pub named after the dog and a little monument. We then went into a cemetery behind the pub with a grave for the dog. We saw the school (through the gates) that inspired Hogwarts and a grave of a Thomas Riddel. Rich was telling us how he often does night time shots from the cemetery to get the star trails and the ghost tours often come through. He takes great delight in jumping out from behind grave stones to scare the daylights out of the people on the ghost tours.

After we had explored here, we headed back to The Royal Mile and into Riddle’s Court. There was an interesting set of stairs in this little enclosure. This courtyard is over 400 years old with the buildings being used for a variety of purposes, initially as a merchant’s house but with many other uses since then.

After here we headed back out onto The Royal Mile and diverted off at different points to take great photos. Rich was constantly helping us with composition and ways that we could get the most out of our camera.

We started crossing the city to reach our evening location above the city. Along the way we went into a courtyard that used to house an inn for people waiting outside the city walls. It was really interesting.

We got up to Calton Hill and started setting up the tripod. Rich was explaining different options and ways to improve our night photography. I was pretty exhausted by this time, but Phil was super keen.

Rich suggested a place to take photos on our way out of Edinburgh tomorrow morning. We learnt so much from him and got to see different parts of Edinburgh we would never have found on our own. If you are in Edinburgh and would like a local to show you great shots (and some of the Harry Potter sites) I would highly recommend contacting Rich.

We are picking up our hire car tomorrow (driving on the ‘normal’ side of the road – for us anyway).

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