Monday, July 15, 2013

UK Trip #18: Enjoyed the"Witchery Tour" of Edinburgh, Scotland

Adam Lyle (deceased), our host
It's unusual to have a dead guy tour you through a town at night, pointing out the horrible histories, but that's what we got when we were in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  A tour guide of the "Witchery Tour" (  calls himself "Adam Lyle (deceased) and gave us an historically interesting, light-hearted, fun and memorable tour of downtown Edinburgh.
 I'll tell you who Adam Lyle was, shortly.
   Now, calling a "Witchery Tour" subtitled "Murder and Mayhem" fun may seem weird, but the guy who played Adam has a great sense of humor. He was dressed as a vampire, dark suit and cape, and his face and hair were bright white (makeup).
  He also had an assistant who would jump out along the tour from time to time, dressed as either a skeleton, mad monk or something else. It made for a couple of startling minutes, but good laughs afterward.
Edinburgh Writer's Museum

EDINBURGH WRITER'S MUSEUM - The first stop on our walking tour of murder and mayhem was at the Edinburgh's Writers' Museum. The museum is located off the Royal Mile (main street that connects Edinburgh Castle with Holyrood House Palace) in Lady Stair's Close. The building was built in 1622 as a private home for one of the city's wealthiest families.  The Museum hosts permanent exhibitions to three of Scotland's great literary figures, all of whom have strong Edinburgh connections: Robert Burns (1759 - 1796), Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894).
 **The Museum is said to have a figure that appears in one of the upper windows.**

Cow's gate in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Mad Monk About to Run Toward Us!
THE GLOOMY COWGATE - We walked down a gloomy part of Edinburgh, on a street called "Cowgate"? The street's name was recorded as far back as1428, in various spellings, as Cowgate and in 1498 as Via Vaccarum. It is derived from the medieval practice of herding cattle down the street on market days; a number of other streets in the old town of Edinburgh (such as Grassmarket and Lawnmarket) also reflect their market roots. Gate is a Scots language word for "way" or "road."
   Between the mid 18th and mid 20th centuries the Cowgate was a poor, often overcrowded  slum area. In the 19th century, nicknamed "Little Ireland," it was home to much of the city's Irish immigrant community.
   It was here that the "Mad Monk" ran out from behind a building and 
ran toward our group, scaring the heck out of everyone! 

The Mad Monk and Adam Lyle Team Up

WHO WAS ADAM LYLE? - Adam Lyle (1785 – 1811)
was a highwayman that  reached the peak of his career by stealing over £126 (pounds) from a merchant on the road to Stirling. Unfortunately for him he was soon caught, after buying an extremely expensive pair of shoes. He was hanged on March 27,1811, in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh. It is believed that he still nightly haunts the Old Town’s closes and courtyards, terrifying locals and tourists alike.
WHO IS THE MAD MONK OF THE COWGATE? - For hundreds of years the Cowgate was home to many monasteries. However, in the mid-1600s, part of Blackfriars monastery was mysteriously burned to the ground. The ghost of one of the monks, terribly burned and utterly insane, is said to haunt the Cowgate to this day.  While some speculate that this tragic spirit is attempting to find his long-lost home, others claim that he is merely trying to get into one of the many pubs which later came to replace it…

The Australian family looking for the Mad Monk!

   The Mad Monk followed us up a small alleyway, called a "close" because the buildings were close to each other.
   You can see by the picture here how close the buildings were to each other. That's the way the old city was built. Because of these high buildings, the city tended to be very dark.
  As Adam Lyle led our group up the close, the Mad Monk ran up behind us!
   The only ones on the tour with us were a family of three from Australia- a mom, dad and teenage girl who was scared silly. 
  The Mad Monk sprayed us with water at one point, too, after he disappeared and re-appeared later (and again, startled everyone). It was a lot of laughs because we never knew where he'd show up.

ONE OF THE STORIES:  Agnes Fynnie died in 1641. She was an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed fishwife, who abused and cursed the locals whenever they refused to buy her wares. In fact, she was so disliked that she was accused of witchcraft, and managed to attract the largest number of charges in Scottish history (legend has it that this was the only thing she ever attracted). She was worryitt (strangled and burned) in 1641, on the Castlehill, but it is claimed that she can still be heard, venting her wrath on passers-by...

This was a great tour and we highly recommend it!  For more info, it's called The Cadies and Witchery Tours‎ 
L to R: Mad Monk, Tom, Adam Lyle and Rob


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next