Sunday, June 1, 2014

Edinburgh Castle, leadership and history

Our group visited Edinburgh Castle shortly after we arrived in Scotland. After strolling up the Royal Mile, we arrived at the castle, just as a wedding was ending. Edinburgh Castle was stunning: full of rich history, knowledgeable and friendly tour guides, and fantastic views of the architecture,  the Firth of Forth (an estuary that flows into the River Forth and on into the North Sea), and the lush Scottish countryside, including the dormant volcano the castle rests upon. For more information, see

If you visit Edinburgh castle, a complimentary tour is included with your ticket. You may take as many tours as you like; we took two and jumped in on another. The tour guides are a font of information. In addition to the knowledge they possess, they are super friendly and are seemingly willing to answer any question.

As we strolled about the grounds, it was obvious how much the Scottish people revere their ancestors and history. From St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest structure in the castle built in the 12th century, to Thomas Randolph who invaded the castle and took it by stealth from the English in 1314, to the Scottish National War Museum honoring Scotland’s fallen soldiers of World War I, heritage and pride were everywhere. Many of the sites and stories also tied in to the subject matter of our class, international leadership and culture.

The tour guides told us the story of Thomas Randolph, the nephew of Robert the Bruce, the reigning Scottish King in 1314. Edinburgh Castle had been in English hands for approximately 20 years. Randolph and a few of his men snuck into the castle via a secret path in the middle of the night and took it by force from behind the castle walls, effectively ending the English occupation.

The castle has housed soldiers, stored munitions, and provided “hospitality” to prisoners of war from all over the world, including England, Ireland, France, America, and Germany throughout its history. Today, the castle continues to welcome visitors, including brides and grooms tying the knot in St. Margaret’s Chapel. Visiting Scotland? Make this important historical landmark one of your first stops. It’s truly amazing!

-Shelly Gardner

The proud CEHD group at Edinburgh Castle Gatehouse. From top to bottom, left to right: Shelley, Melissa, Cicely, Tracey, Dr. Stone, Stephanie K., Dr. Herd, John, Megan, Caroline, and Stephanie P.

Stephanie K., Dr. Herd, Shelley, and the curiosity for men with kilt.

Edinburgh Castle.

The Portcullis Gate.

Lion statue with coat of arms.

Edinburgh Castle.

Gentlemen attending a wedding at St. Margaret's Chapel.

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