So it rained today. Well, the majority of the day. But if we were looking to get away from the weather we’ve been getting all summer in Yellowknife, well, Scotland would not be where we would go. We did not come to Scotland for the weather; we came to Scotland for castles and battlefields…and Outlander…and Fringe…
We got three out of four of those things today, after a delightful breakfast that included haggis.
Blackness Castle was first. We drove about 40 minutes from the B&B to the southern shores of the Firth of Forth to what would have been a spectacular view were it not cloudy, rainy, and foggy. Despite getting waterlogged — turns out Dan’s water resistant jacket was unable to resist that much water, and the rain jacket Jarod made me believe was mine did not in fact fit — the visit was pretty cool.
Blackness Castle is a 15th century fortified castle shaped like the prow of a ship, which while odd is rather appropriate given its location. It was originally built as a residence for the powerful Crichton family, and then soon became a garrison fortress, state prison, and then ammunition depot. When used as a state prison it often housed both noble prisoners as well as common prisoners, although they enjoyed vastly different accommodations. While the common prisoners were left to rot in the pit, the nobles lived in the four-story tower with their families and servants, and they were able to continue working.
For the Outlander fans, Blackness was used to film the Fort William scenes (ie Jaimie’s flogging, and saving Claire from Black Jack Randall).
Next, and not far down the inland road, was Linlithgow Palace. The palace was used as a peaceful residence (pleasure palace — that’s what they called it) for the Kings and Queens of Scotland and then England. James I built the palace in 1424. James V and Mary Queen of Scots were born there. It declined after James I and VI moved to London. The North quadrant fell to the ground, but was rebuilt about 13 years later. And then about 120 years after that the palace was destroyed by a great fire. It never recovered. While James V reigned, he commissioned a tiered fountain, which remains at Linlithgow Palace as the oldest functioning fountain in the United Kingdom.
For the Outlander fans, Linlithgow was used to film the Wentworth prison scenes.
The rain calmed down a little bit while we went on a boat cruise to the Avon Aqueduct. Linlithgow Canal Centre offers the two-and-half hour round-trip cruise. The Avon Aqueduct is the largest in Scotland, second largest in the United Kingdom. It’s really a lovely little tour. Don’t let my having a little nap on the return leg fool you, it wasn’t because of the cruise, that was the jet lag talking. All of the volunteer staff were wonderful and very kind.
We drove back to the B&B, making a couple of wrong turns on the way (Lady Sat Nav sulked for a little bit). We still managed to make it back with enough time before our first Fringe show to stop for supper at a place we happened upon called Buffalo. The food was really good, but nothing unusual or that we hadn’t tried before.
Okay, so, the first show was David O’Doherty. Now, this whole trip and during the planning stages every time I pronounced David’s last name as it’s spelled Dan would correct me and insist it was pronounced O’Dockerty. My mouth resisted that pronunciation, no matter how much I wanted to believe Dan I just couldn’t do it. So we go to the show, and the man says his own name. And how did he pronounce it? That’s right, he pronounced it how it’s spelled! I just looked at Dan, and Dan didn’t say anything for a bit. Then he says to me, I guess Jimmy Carr was saying it wrong…on purpose maybe? Turns out David O’Doherty has been a panelist on 8 Out of 10 Cats Do Countdown and Jimmy Carr has been introducing him as David O’Dockerty. Uh-huh. Insert eye-roll emoticon here.
Moving on, we went to The Best Of Scottish Comedian of the Year. The host and two comedians performed. One was a finalist in the Comedian of the Year competition, the other actually won it. I don’t remember which was which, but I really enjoyed Ray Bradshaw’s show. Turns out he has another show he’s just started that he gives simultaneously in English and sign language. He was born to deaf parents, so his first language was actually sign language. It should be a lot of fun, so if you get to see him I recommend it.
And that’s about it for today. Have a great one!
Adelle and Dan