8-2-07 We woke up in Scotch-Corner, had a nice breakfast, and boarded the bus for today’s destination – Edinburgh, Scotland. On the way we made a stop in Melrose, where the heart of Richard the Bruce was buried, and then in Jedburg, where we had a nice lunch at the Ships Wheel Pub. In our group some of us had Soup with crusty bread and others had soup and sandwiches and others had BLT’s. We also had some nice pastry items from a local bakery.
After lunch we stopped at what is left of Hadrian’s Wall, a barrier built by the Romans to separate the Scots from the Celts and then we began our journey through the hilly lowlands of Scotland. The pastures were the greenest I have ever seen and we saw many, many sheep and cows too. I would really like to someday buy property and have a house right there in Scotland, that’s how much I liked it.
Upon our arrival in Edinburgh we did a quick drive through the town and headed to the Edinburgh Capital Hotel, which is very nice and also has a pool. At night our groups were on our own to get into Edinburgh for dinner, so using the bus we were to go and return.
Most of the groups went in and had dinner, went shopping and returned. I was lucky to be part of the group going to see the remarkable Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This annual event sells out in January, but Randy was able to get 12 tickets for the rehearsal show at half price, so since I was part of his chaperone group I got to go along with some of the other scouts and adults. Evan Altamirano and I decided to purchase kilts, which we did and then changed into them somehow while waiting in line to enter the Military Tattoo.
The event takes place at the base of Edinburgh Castle and there are bleachers for 8,500 people. We had great seats looking directly at the castle and saw the many different military bands, bag pipe bands and horse guard bands. There was even an all-girl High School band from Taiwan that had perfect military precision with flags and rifles.
The event also honored Scouting’s 100th anniversary and had Scottish Scouts participate in the closing ceremony, which included all of the performers and finally all went dark except for a lone bag piper from the top of the castle. It was very dramatic and will be something I am soon not to forget.
By Alec Hughes