Perched upon the brooding black crags of an extinct volcano, some experts regard Edinburgh Castle is the very reason for Edinburgh's existence.
Edinburgh Castle is perched upon the brooding black crags of an extinct volcano stump some 135m above sea level. It is no wonder that the Votadini tribe chose this site for a stronghold some 3000 years ago. It is this rocky hill that is the very reason for Edinburgh's existence. Crammed full of history, the castle played a pivotal role both as a royal residence - Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the boy who was to become King James VI of Scotland and James 1 of England, and as a military stronghold. In fact, it's a miracle the place is still standing after the amount of knocking about it has had to withstand from both the English and the Scots! In addition to being a historic monument, the castle is also a working military establishment - the guard on the gate is from the headquarters of the Scottish Division.
The Tower of London may be the only tourist attraction in the UK with more visitors than Edinburgh Castle, but it is the Scots that won the battle for housing the Mons Meg. This massive fifteenth-century cannon, which was reputed to be able to fire a large stone boulder a distance of one-and-a-half miles, was returned from the Tower of London in 1829. Also known as the One O' clock gun, and weighing over 6 tons, Mons Meg is fired every day except Sunday at precisely 1.00pm to provide everyone with an accurate check for their watches. Just a friendly note of warning - stick your fingers in your ears before the gun goes fire!