Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 13 - Edinburgh St. Andrew’s and Falklands

We took a cab into town to join our tour for the day. The guide was also the driver. He was certainly no Steve! He was on the dry side but knew his stuff. I really can’t say that he really told us anything we didn’t already know.

We stopped to get pictures of the Firth of Forth bridge.

We stopped in the fishing village of Anstruther where we had an hour to wander around. It was a little early otherwise we might have tried some fish and chips from the Anstruther Fish Bar considered the best in Scotland.

From there we continued through small fishing towns. We passed through Pittenweem where we had a flat tire the last time we were in Scotland. It had been pouring rain but the Automobile Association arrived promptly and we were back on the road in no time.

Weather is not an issue today, the skies are clear and the air is fresh by the water.

Next stop is St. Andrew’s, the guide takes us around the town by bus to point out some landmarks and then drops us in the car park by the Old Course.
The bleachers were already assembled in preparation for the Open to be played in July. The groundskeepers were busily grooming the course and some amateurs were already out practicing.

John had played it the last time we were here. Here is a pictorial of that day.

After much oohing and aahing by the guys and some serious shopping by them as well it was time for some food. We headed to the hotel where we had eaten the last time after John’s momentous round of golf, but it was under new management and had become rather gentrified. However, we stayed and enjoyed our lunch. 3 of us had burgers and Karen had Mac and Cheese which looked very good.

Back on the bus and we headed to Falklands which has a Palace, imagine another Palace!

Falkland Palace was a country retreat of the Stuart Kings. It is built on the site of an earlier fortress that dates back to the 13th century. The castle belonged to the MacDuffs, Earls of Fife, and the remains of its Great Tower are still visible in the gardens. It was adopted as a Royal residence by James II in the mid 15th century and work began to convert it into a more comfortable property.

When the Royal court moved to London in 1603, following the succession of James VI to the English throne, Falkland Palace was seldom visited and remained in the care of a Keeper. The Keepers of the palace were not usually resident and the building was left empty until decay set in and the palace fell into ruin. In 1887 the Keepership was acquired by the 3rd Marquess of Bute. He set about restoring much of the palace but died before the work was complete. In 1952 the National Trust for Scotland took over the care and maintenance of the property.

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