I snuck away for a few minutes this afternoon and found a perfect spot out of the rain for a late lunch with a view. Edinburgh is a fascinating city.
A few yards away from the hotel is St. Giles Cathedral, which houses the remains of James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose. I am not a direct descendant of this Graham, but my ancestors are connected to this same clan. Montrose has been described as a "soldier, poet and one of the most romantic figures in British history, who led a campaign of dashing brilliance." Now I know where I get it from. Bahahaha! (Just joking, folks!) Montrose was executed as a traitor in Edinburgh in 1650 because he supported Charles II. His body was dismembered and his limbs displayed as an example in various Scottish cities. For 11 years his head was on a pole in Edinburgh and his other remains buried in the Burgh-Moor. Later political changes favored Charles II, who in 1661 reversed the verdict of Montrose as a traitor and had his buried remains gathered and reinterred in St. Giles Cathedral, where they remain today. This morning I entered the church and inquired about Montrose's remains. The shopkeeper told me I must be mistaken as no one is buried in the church. Then a tour guide she knew happened to walk into the church shop and told me more of the story and directed me where to look in the church. Later the kind shopkeeper told me she learned something today because of me. You can learn more about Montrose here: http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cave…/execution-montrose
I enjoyed some time in quiet reflection at St. Giles' Cathedral, which is the main place for worship in Edinburgh for the Church of Scotland. I also had an enjoyable tour. This church dates back for more than 900 years, and this building dates back to the 14th century. It's rich history is interwoven with the Catholic-Protestant divisions and the English-Scottish wars. It was located just a couple of blocks away from the IBIS where our group stayed.
In addition tour tour of Edinburgh Castle today, a few of us followed Jeff Salyer to Ben's Cookies. To say Jeff loves Ben's Cookies is an understatement. After having a few today, I now know why.
Also, I got in touch with my Scottish roots. I truly am my mother's son-- no shame in my fun. 😳😂
Today we toured Edinburgh Castle and saw the crown jewels of Scotland, which date back to the late 1400s and early 1500s. They were hidden from Cromwell's army in the 1650s and then locked away in 1707 after England and Scotland entered a Treaty of Union. In 1818 they were rediscovered by Sir Walter Scott. The sceptre and crown have an impressive history, and they are even more impressive to see.
And we've made it to Scotland! This is the land of my Graham ancestors (Montrose) and my Forbes ancestors. We are in Edinburgh for a few days, and I am looking forward to exploring this city.
Today the students went canoeing on the lake in Keswick. Jeff Salyer, who teaches one of their online courses, is visiting from Lee and accompanied them on the water, along with the canoe guides. I chose to hike around the lake and take in the scenery. I found a bench on which to sit for a few minutes. This bench is one popularized on campus from the stories of another Lee professor, Bob Barnett. Later I enjoyed some tea while reading Wordsworth and, at the restaurant, ran into Indy, a student who also chose not to canoe. She was doing homework. Before the students left for the water, Neely asked me if I would "babysit" her stuffed llama. I'm still not sure what that was about, but I believe it has some connection back to campus. Of course I agreed and decided to make the best of it. I had fun strategically placing the stuffed llama in photo at various places along the hike. The students had a fun time on the water and I had an enjoyable time of reflection. This is a beautiful area.