2019 tour travel blog

Royal Mile


Biggar Kirk

with Heather, lunch at The Dome


Tuesday 2nd July

An emotional farewell today, it has been great to stay put for a couple of weeks. Carol had an appointment in Inverness, so we got a ride with her, and had a couple of hours to wait for our bus to Edinburgh. Not too bad a price for the bus to Edinburgh, two tickets cost £30/$59 for the 4.5 hour journey. We get in around 6.30pm, and walk down to our hostel, in Blackfriars St, just off High St. We are right on the Royal Mile, near the corner of South Bridge. Edinburgh is very busy, the footpaths are heaving with people, it seems their recent tourism campaign has paid off.

High Street Hostel, which isn’t actually on High Street, is a great wee place. £132/$257 for five nights in an eight bed dorm. There is a decent sized kitchen downstairs, and they have breakfast available for a couple of pounds. The shower room and toilets are co-ed, three showers and three loos on each floor, so there is a bit of a wait at times.

Wednesday 3rd July

We decide we need to stay an extra couple of days, as we want to go to the Ancestry centre, Thursday and Friday are both out, so it needs to happen Monday. We book an extra couple of nights, £52/$100 is the cheapest we can get (nearly full), but we can at least stay in the same beds in the same dorm. We have a bit of a wander around town in the afternoon, a nice sunny day. Not a lot has changed since we were last here, it is great to be back, it feels like home, just as it did last time we visited. There is a festival village above Waverley Station, lots of people around the bars that have been set up here. Princess St gardens are getting a makeover, most of it is closed off.

The Queen is in town at Holyrood, and this afternoon there is a garden party there. Carol and Alistair are coming down from Kishorn to attend. One of the few changes we notice from our last visit in 2012 is the anti-terrorist barriers that are around the Royal Mile, and these seem to be permanent, rather than something put up because HRH is in town.

Thursday 4th July

An early start this morning, we at the bus station soon after 8am, we are off to Biggar to see what treasures we can find at the museum. Elaine, the curator, has found three large boxes of legal documents that were from the family lawyers. When the law firm left town they gave all the family records to the museum, as there was no family left in town.

We ask after Fergie, the driver we met last time, but he no longer works on the Biggar run since Stagecoach took over the run from McEwans. It takes a good 80 minutes to get there in the bus, it is busy today as there is a walking group on board, £18/$35 for two return tickets. We head down to the museum, but it has moved. Tony did know, but had forgotten. We went to head back when a local asks if we want to look through the church, she is about to open it for the day, so we go in for a look around. We have a quick stop at the family graves, and head back the way we came to site of the new museum building.

The family documents are in the research room for us, there is an extra box that Tony has not seen before. It mainly contains lease documents from the late 1600’s, written on calf skin and most too fragile to open up. A couple can be unfolded, but they are hard to read due to the age and sheer size of the page. One is nearly a metre across and the writing goes all the way across, no small columns at all, so it is difficult to read. Tony managed to scan one, so hopefully it can be transcribed at some time. It is a productive day, we manage to sort through two file boxes, and think we have the important stuff. It gives us details of family who had disappeared for a time, and confirmed the existence of a couple of others. Around three hundred pages scanned, so it will take a bit of work.

Friday 5th Jul

Our friend Heather is visiting home, from Texas, and she us treated to a wonderful lunch at The Dome, a restaurant in a beautiful old bank building. It was great catching up again, we last saw Heather when she was home in 2012, and we met at the pub near Oxenfoord.

We had a bit of a wander around the shops, and on the way back to the hostel we booked in to the ancestry centre for Monday, for £15/$29 each we can view as many records as we like, normally £3 to view each record, and 25p to print each page, a fraction of the cost of on line.

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