As I promised in the last post, this one is dedicated to Edinburgh Castle. The photos are all in the Edinburgh gallery; I won’t be posting all of them, so feel free to go look. Here is the first photo of the Castle, the entrance (a little fuzzy, sorry – my phone doesn’t handle auto-focus as well as I’d like). As you can see, there was a pretty fair crowd waiting to get in.
Here’s a better look at the entrance gate:
The Wikipedia article I linked above gives a pretty complete history of the site, including the fact that the hill it’s on (called Castle Rock) is the plug of an extinct (very extinct) volcano, a form of basalt called dolerite. The site has been used at least since the Iron Age (1200 – 600 BC), and its use by the rulers of Scotland goes back to King David I of Scotland, in the 12th century. Because the sides of the basalt rock are pretty much vertical except to the east, where softer land was deposited by glaciers passing over, the Castle Rock could only be approached from the east, which simplified defense. The rest of Edinburgh is all to the east of Castle Rock, including the approach area called the Esplanade.