Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Castle

Wrapped up the first week back at the old millstone job.  Juvat's rules for the ratio of time off and time you must remain cheerful is one order of magnitude.  If you take off for an hour, you only have to remain cheerful for 1 minute before ripping someone's face off.  A day equates to an hour and a week is a day.  That day expired Monday evening.  So...It's been a long week.

I need to revisit Scotland.


As mentioned yesterday, we had a few rocky periods on the vacation, but even the unlucky sicko's were enthusiastic about the trip.
Mrs J and Gary (pre-Fish and Chips)
Monday morning we awoke and looked out the window of our flat to see our objective for the day.  

Troops!  Today we will dine in the Castle Keep or die trying!    DAAAADDDD!
Yes, We're going to tour Edinburgh Castle, and see what there is to see.  Oh, and we might stop by and visit the Scotch Whisky Experience on the way back down.  The younger crowd was enthused by that option, hence, the "on the way back down".

The morning mess complete, the troops fall in and the assault begins.  The light infantry composed entirely of 20 and 30 somethings, quickly takes off and soon is beginning the ascent.  The heavy infantry brings up the trail and requires several stops during the ascent for a resupply of oxygen.  

And miles to go before we sleep
After defending our flanks against the delaying tactics of local merchants distracting us with pretty baubles, we arrive at the final assault point.
The King has deployed some skirmishers, but we will NOT be denied.

Well.....Except for a snapshot of Little Juvat and DIL
Onward we go

A short pause to check that the left flank is secure.  Yep, ain't nobody comin' up that way!

Troops! Halt!  Waterloo!  The tomb of a Dragoon who captured the standard from which the Royal Scots Greys emblem was designed.  Rest in Peace, Warrior, you've got a nice view.

Breeching the Castle's main gate was simple.  It merely required the downloading of £13 per attacking trooper.  

No great victory is without cost.  (I'm sure that will go down in history as a pithy comment and be properly attributed to me!  Yeah, juvat, right!)

Once inside, our attack recommences (after the requisite stop to resupply Oxygen).

We look upward at the Flag we must capture and are undaunted by the vertical distance remaining to be covered.  However, we do perform a careful analysis of the amount of Oxygen remaining compared to the amount required.  The Issue is in Doubt! (another Pithy comment by somebody or another)

Our Lead Element makes an Exciting discovery, a shortcut, obviously built by a very clever person.

Seizing the initiative, I leap upon the battlements and direct the fire of the main battery.

The response to my tactical brilliance by the troops was overwhelming.  Brought me nearly to tears, it did.

The attack is going swimmingly as the troops rush around another bend in the cobblestone.

Only to find:

Another Gate.  

Upon Breaching, we quickly captured the King's secret weapon of mass destruction (at least in 1529).

This Behemoth (notice the full sized live people on the other side) was known as Old Meg and it commanded a spectacular view field of fire.

The attack commenced from our flat circled in the left center of the picture.

The Batteries on this level clearly were the last line of defense as the Keep is in sight.

The Royal residence when the Queen is visiting.

Having captured the summit, we take a few minutes to savor our victory (and resupply ourselves with Oxygen).  

One of the sights we take in is this bit of unusual architecture.

We interview a few of the vanquished defenders as to its significance.

Ourselves not being knowledgeable about navigation during the age of sail, they were happy to provide us with that information. Seems that Sailing Ship Captains would use the Sextant to determine Latitude, but would require an accurate chronometer to determine their position.  So, the tower would drop a cannon ball at precisely 1300 every day.  Captains would use that signal to make the adjustment to their chronometer and then would proceed on their journey. Realizing in the late 1800s that weather could interfere with the ships being able to see the ball drop, it is became accompanied by the simultaneous firing of a Cannon (now a 105mm Howitzer, my camera decided to take a break and go to sleep, just as the shot was about to go.) The tower is now called the Lord Nelson Tower in honor of something he did at some point in his career or something.  I mentioned that it might be worth a visit, but was advised against it.

At this point, Mrs. Juvat and I decide to RTB as she needed to contact Bob, from Pakistan, to arrange a rendezvous with our baggage train.  Eventually she will succeed, but not today.

Fortunately, the Oxygen level in the air seemed to be quite a bit more robust on the way down.


  1. Fun post and a great tour, Juvat. That's a tough old bird of a cannoneer in the video. And the stone shot for Old Meg are enormous. Wonder what they mass? Bet it was a joy to have the job of chipping big chunks of rock into spheres.

    1. I tried to find a castle guide to ask them a bit more info about the Bombard, but they were all gathering for the 1 O'clock shot. After the fact (read, this morning when I realized I hadn't referenced anything about it), I found this which had some pretty good information. The barrel diameter was 20" and the range was at least 2 miles. Not sure what the rate of fire was, but I'd think it was pretty slow. I'd think it had pretty good shock value though.

  2. My son and DIL went there a week or two before you guys did. He said the stairs on the tower were tough to navigate. Lots of trip steps on the way up. The door at the top was tiny!! He's over 6ft, and had to squirm to make it thru.

    They had a ball, and it's neat to see it from another point of view. Thanks for sharing the vac!

    1. Yeah, my son said the same thing about the steps in the tower. Mrs J and I decided based on that, not to go up, using the need to contact Bob as an excuse. Still looking out from the Battlements gave me an appreciation for what the common soldiers would have seen, and that's more along my lines.

  3. The Lang Stairs? I'd rather take the Short Stairs, thanks.

    1. Probably by design, but as far as I could determine, there was nothing short, convenient or easy about getting to the top. Still once there, the view was well worth it.

  4. Most excellent post Juvat. There's something about those stairs, hhmm...

    Loved the photo of Charles Ewart's grave. Quite a lad he was and what a regiment he belonged to, he's featured in a number of paintings for his seizing the Eagle of the 45eme Ligne early in the Battle of Waterloo.

    Your narrative style is most excellent.

    1. Thanks, Sarge. Thought you'd recognize the Ensign. We'll be talking about the Royal Scots Greys tomorrow.

  5. " The issue is in doubt" Commander Winfield Scott Cunningham, USN Wake Island DEC 1941

    1. Yep! The only "real world" operation I conducted while on Active Duty was on Wake Island.

  6. Thanks for the post, juvat. It was enjoyable as usual.

    Paul L. Quandt

  7. Nice tour pics! Sadly, I had one day there and it was raining like hell... Never made it to the castle.

    1. So...A typical Scottish Day? That day was the only one while we were there that it didn't rain. Lucky for us, but it still was cool and blustery, especially at the top.

  8. Hey Juvat;

    Thank you for the post, awesome Pics. It is on my bucket list to attend a "tattoo" at Edenburgh castle.

  9. Yeah, that would have been a nice addition, but the timing didn't work out. So.....Rats! I've got to go back. Cheers.


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