Baden-Powell Council BSA
at the
2014 Blair Atholl Patrol Jamborette

Day 7 - July 21st - Edinburgh

We dropped off the rental vehicles first thing in the morning, then hopped on Edinburgh's new tram system for the ride to Princes Street. 

The Flower Clock is one of the oldest in the world. 

Our Instant Expert for the day introduces the group to Edinburgh Castle, high on its rock above Waverly Park Gardens. Originally, this green park was a man-made loch which formed part of the Castle defenses. It was used as an open sewer, with all of the waste from the houses along the Royal Mile running downhill into it - no attacker would want to wade through that, even if they did think they could climb the sheer slope up to the Castle. 

As we entered the Castle, a military band marched in for a ceremony. 

The RAF Band was performing outside the National War Museum, so we stopped for a while to listen before we went into the museum.

The War Museum starts with a short film about Scotland's military tradition. 

The view from Edinburgh Castle across the Firth of Forth to the Kingdom of Fife is spectacular. 

Inside the Castle's Great Hall...

...where Queen Margaret conscripted some of our Scouts to perform a 13th century dance.

After lunch, our first stop was the Camera Obscura. The Camera itself is Victorian high-tech - a periscope which projects an image on a bowl at the top of the building. Our guide showed the Scouts around Edinburgh by panning the lens and mirror, and performed the ever-popular "swatting tourists with a paper card" trick.

The rest of the Camera Obscura building is filled with a wide mix of optical illusions. This tunnel of lights rotates around a stationary walkway. As you walk along, you're convinced that the walkway is lurching from side to side. 

Disembodied Scout's Head 

The Glow Wall - normally, you stand in front of the wall, and when a strobe light flashes your shadow remains on the glowing wall. Our Camera Obscura guide pointed out that the wall works in reverse, too - you can paint with a flashlight. Luckily, I just happened to have one in my camera bag...

Scouts' portrait through thermal imaging. Red is hotter, blue is colder. The dark blue is a frozen water bottle. 

Kaleidescope Video Camera, and the Scout Twins

This is one of the best Mirror Mazes around - you need to use plastic gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints on the mirrors (nose-prints, on the other hand, are hard to avoid...)

In the Ames Room, Nico towers over the much-taller Scott

"Look into the magic ball..."

Richard shakes hands with himself in the spherical mirror, which projects a real image in 3-D

Then, it was off onto the Royal Mile for shopping in the many gift shops. 

The Scouts spent a lot of time shopping for kilts at the Tartan Centre. 

In the Museum of Childhood - looking at the display of badges, etc., from Scouting and other youth groups.

We had an Italian dinner. Several of the Scouts had haggis pizzas, and Pete was presented with the world's biggest Calzone. 

One of the Royal Princes was in town for the Commonwealth Games. We saw his entourage speed by several times through the day.

After dinner we walked over to Greyfriars Kirkyard. Along the way, we stopped to greet and pet the statue of Greyfriar's Bobby. 

In the Kirkyard we looked at the headstones, the Covenanter's Prison and this mortsafe, which protected a grave from "resurrection men" (graverobbers).

The day ended with a fun tour of Mary King's Close, a plague street walled under the Municipal Chambers.

"Men in Kilts" - our Scouts try on their new attire. 

Then, off to bed (well, off to floor, actually) - next day, the bus picks us up for Blair Atholl!

On to the Jamborette!

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