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Published: July 12th 2019
From outside and in, this looks a lot like the temple of time.
This morning we woke early to breakfast at the Hundalee house. The hosts and their family were very friendly, as were their dogs. We went on a walk about the property, met a fine horse and a finer peacock, then headed into the town of Jedburgh to tour the Abbey.
As we walked into the ruins, Michelle played the music from the Temple of Time in Zelda - Breath of the Wild. The buildings reminded everyone of the video game temple, and we were all inspired. A climb up skinny and steep circular stairways in the tower (and then back down), some discussion about the engineering of the rooflines, and then speculation about the usage of some of the lower rooms made up the typical Wilson historical site tour.
During breakfast we had rolled dice for our next destination (and seriously confused the rest of the Scottish guests, who were a lot older than us). The dice led us to Gifford, just South East of Edinburgh, and a ruin called Yester Castle.
It took us a while to find the right place to leave from. Many people give much advice online, but we chose the end
Oh, Me... Ok, that's fine.
of Park street in Gifford. There is an easy parking lot, an easy gate, and then easy signs to lead you down the Yester path.
2.5 miles went by pretty quickly as we passed through dark forests, open fields, by cows, by hunter's deer stands (and the smell of fresh gunpowder.. eeek). The path is clearly marked all the way, except the turnoff to Yester Castle itself. We had a map that told us where to turn (Hint, it is the path that goes over the bridge marked very dangerous right near the cement road crossing.. we took the bridge).
As we hoofed up the hill past the last bridge (which we hardly noticed, as it is completely overgrown with grass, bushes and even trees), one of the gates of the castle loomed above us, sticking out of the forest. We stared at the entry gate for a while, then started to realize there were walls and bits of castle sticking out of the ground everywhere. A much larger section of castle several hundred feet away showed just how large this castle originally was. We traced the walls around and found the entrance to the large, and still
Room of Unknown Purpose
Sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons Item. Homebrew forthcoming.
intact, Goblin Ha (and underground room with vaulted ceilings). Stairs led down to the hall, but it was hard to determine if those stairs were on the ground floor, or whether they were indoor or outdoor. The forest has taken over and it's very hard to imagine the immensity of the castle in that quiet place.
After poking around the castle some more, we, reluctantly, decided to leave... we were getting hungry and had no food. Just before descending the hill, we saw another wall on the other side of a ravine (which might have been a moat). The wall turned out to be a farmer's field wall, but was likely made with stones from the castle. After all of that walking (uphill) through the forest, it almost felt unfair that a flat farmers field and adjacent golf course was within 100 feet of the castle. The hiking was fun, though, so we didn't really complain. Before we left, Michelle and Tony speculated that there was likely a village and farms just outside of the castle, perhaps where that farmer had his field. If you were to excavate, you could probably unearth foundations and remnants, and imagine a thriving
The Abbey Front
Impressive looking entrance... but it isn't. It was labelled as the Choir area. The entrance is on the other side.
community, and a wooden bridge over the moat to the castle.
We had gone on an amazing 5 mile hike where we found an incredibly cool and spooky castle in the middle of an overgrown forest with no one around, but we were hungry, so we ate in Gifford at a pub called "Goblin Ha" (named after the intact underground room at Yester Castle). We knew we had to get moving south to pick up our boat the next day, so we broke Northern England (within 2 hours of Burton) up into sectors and rolled the dice to find our Saturday Adventure (again confusing people, including our waiter).
The dice chose Longborough and a Saturday morning market where we can buy fresh fruit and supplies for the Canal Boat Trip. We drove the rest of the day, in the rain, to a Holiday Inn Express in Doncaster. When we arrived, we saw it was right next to a huge Amazon facility. We were tempted to go take a tour, but decided that sleep was in order instead. Tony said it would feel too much like work anyway.
A filling meal at the adjacent carvery and
Stairs leading down to the street, and an overgrown door with more stairs leading down... to what?
we turned in for the night.
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