Night of Day 4: Double Dead Tour
Saturday 18 Jun 2011 - Saturday 18 Jun 2011
I went out in the evening with the intent of going on the Burke and Hare Murder Tour, so first thing of course was to grab nourishment. I stopped at a slightly touristy pub, the Royal MacGregor, and had their Porkbelly with Black Pudding and Onion Tatties, with a pint of Edinburgh Gold Ale. Surprisingly, the pork belly was very good, tender and flavorful, with a crunchy bit of cracklen. The black sausage was excellent and the onions and Tatties were great, a sort of potato-onion casserole.the ale was as good as any I've had here and better than most.
After supper, I went to the West Port Tours stall on the High Street to sign up for the murder tour. Unfortunately I was the only one interested in it that night, so the tour was cancelled. Instead, I went on the Double Dead tour, which combines mini versions of two tours, the Underground and Graveyard tours.
Rob, our guide, led us through narrow streets and wynds, up closes and alleys until we came to a dark doorway beneath Southbridge. We entered and he led us to a locked door at the end of a dark corridor. Through here we entered the underground. The first chamber was dank and musty, with water dripping from the stone ceiling. The floor was uneven, worn smooth by water and thousands of feet passing through. Here, he explained a bit of the history of the Southbridge, built with 19 arches, many of which were below ground level. This is where the Southbridge Entity is said to dwell. Rob was an excellent storyteller and gave us bits of history as well as ghost stories.
The underground portion of the tour is not for claustrophobics. There were many times when 30 people were crammed close in a darkened room, listening to Rob tell us about the Entity, by candlelight. When we finished the underground portion, with no fatalities, we surfaced and made our way into the open air again.
We went to Greyfriars Kirkyard where we heard the story of Greyfriars Bobby, with Rob's special twist to it. He makes it into quite the ripping adventure story, highlighting the more unlikely parts, and informed us, sadly, that the story was not factual. We visited some of the markers, heard the story of the Flodden Wall (built to keep out the Brits) and then visited the Covenanters' Prison, a site where religious rebels were slowly tortured to death.
It was a wonderful tour and a nice capper to my first evening in Edinburgh.
This morning has been spent doing laundry and planning my day. More later.