The Winters are starting to draw in now…
When it gets to this time of year, it can be difficult to muster a team together for a hike in the country.
With the mercury steadily dropping on the thermometer, making our way into the heart of the countryside can feel a little daunting right now, especially when it’s raining so much here. As we start getting towards the true depths of Winter, we start to take our walks away from the freezing wastes and locate our walks either outside of the country altogether, or retreat to a nearby city where the streets and buildings usually make for a slightly more liveable temperature.
As much as Aberdeen is a perfectly festive place to enjoy during this time of year, there’s something so jovial about hopping on a train to Edinburgh. From around 2.5-3.5 hours, the journey isn’t that long, so if you feel like making a day trip of it from Aberdeen, like a small group of us did last weekend, then you can easily fit in an action packed day of activities and make it back for the last train home at half 9.
On a typical day, we’d be shuffling ourselves out of bed at an ungodly hour and onto a minibus with our big rucksacks, looking forward to a bumpy ride for an hour or so to some desolate part of the countryside.
This was a different kind of walk altogether though. We hopped on board the train to Edinburgh at a reasonable time of half 7 and soon found ourselves being whisked along past some stunning views of the surrounding areas.
Before 10am we’d reached Edinburgh and were ready to start our action-packed walking tour. As proud Scotsmen, we’ve all visited our capital on more than one occasion, but it’s not somewhere that we’d had the chance to visit during the festive season before. Although it wasn’t quite chilly enough to snow yet, there was still a pleasant chill in the air, making us all glad for our thermals. We set out at a brisk pace from the train station and made our way to the one attraction in Edinburgh that you are almost guaranteed to have to queue for.
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest in the city and is, quite rightly, flooded with tourists pretty much every day that it’s open. Parts of the castle date to as far back as the 12th century and although there have been many changes made to the grand building in it’s time, it has still retained the ancient feeling of those centuries old parts. Well over a million people visit the Castle every year, yet the Castle does not feel any more worn that it should do. After taking our fill of the historic landmark, it was time to make our way over to the Old Town.
Edinburgh’s Old Town is probably the closest that history buffs will get to literally walking through history. Many of the streets have remained unchanged for centuries and although the shop windows might well be filled with modern clothing boutiques; strict rules, part and parcel of being part of the UNESCO Heritage agreement, has ensured that the area is protected from any building work that might interfere with the area’s ambience.