Edinburgh Rocks!

I am perhaps the only person I know who has never been to Edinburgh and would just like to gently enquire why none of you ever told me what gem of a place it is? It is stunning. Like most cities the place is covered in statues – in this case Adam Smith and co of the Scottish Enlightenment plus the usual bewhiskered military suspects looking stern and self important. The difference in Edinburgh was that without exeption they had a seagull standing on their heads ( with the inevitable consequence!) which somehow set the tone for the cheerful anarchy which is the Edinburgh fringe.

From Shetland to Edinburgh and Holy Island

Once again I had no idea what to expect, but with 300 or so venues and literally thousands of shows to choose from we rapidly came to realise that you need a degree in logistics to make the most of your visit. Between performances , most of the performers were packing the streets and giving their shows the hard sell , so even when you had decided what you were going to see that day , you ended up with a whole bunch of others that you wished you could squeeze in somehow.

Getting from venue to venue was pretty difficult too as the city seems to exist on several levels , none of which interconnect , and when you do find your way , it is usually blocked by a crowd watching a fire eating mono-cyclist or some such madman. The whole thing was immensely good humoured and great fun and the general impression was of a huge reservoir of talent desperately deserving to be noticed. Sadly , some of it wasn’t ; we went to several shows with less than 5 in the audience , but with perhaps the single exception of our foray into “stand up humour “ – (the high point of which was watching Bill squirm when asked “what was the worst music he had ever had sex to “ by a girl about the same age as his daughter!) – the standard was very high.

If only you could bottle all that energy and enthusiasm, it would keep you young forever, but sadly no one has cracked that yet and after 4 days we had run out of energy, shoe leather and money in equal measure and so set off South again whilst Bill took a plane back to Hamble. We would have needed to stay for a fortnight to see all we wanted , so will have to come back some day with more time.

From Shetland to Edinburgh and Holy Island

50 miles down the coast and just South of the border is Lindisfarne or Holy Island. We crept in at 0200 and anchored under the Heugh just as we did 40 years ago in Undine. This natural anchorage next to the Farne Islands was the sight chosen by Saints Aiden and Cuthbert to bring Christianity to the North, but in doing so they made a big mistake as , on a coast with few places to shelter it attracted all sorts of unsavoury visitors .Thus it was that the Vikings swept through the narrow entrance time after time , forcing the monks to decamp to the far more defensible heights of Durham. We were far better behaved , but as we dropped our hook the night was rent with demonic howls and moans as if the souls of the monks murdered there 1500 years ago had come back to haunt the place. The morning revealed the cause- a population explosion of hundreds of seals squabbling over the best haulout places on the sands and ,incidentally,some very disgruntled local fishermen who no longer catch any salmon at all. It really is wall to wall seal here , and if I was an Orca I know where I would be going for my summer holidays!

Talking of which , it’s nearly time for our holiday to come to an end , so we will set off South as soon as the tide turns in our favour again. The problem is that there is scarcely an isobar in sight for the next few days, but somehow we have got to get down to Norfolk ( SE from here ) before the South Easterlies set in at the weekend. The only wind at present is coming from a lone piper on the shore , so it could be an interesting passage!

So , greetings from Festina and crew– back in England once more and heading home – slowly!

Leave a Reply