A day in Edinburgh

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September 23rd 2013
Published: October 1st 2013
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Last time we visited Edinburgh in 2009 I was the one who did all the family research as we spent a full morning and a bit of an afternoon at the Scottish Registry Office. Today is Gretchen’s turn as she tries to find some of the missing pieces in the puzzle of her family history on her mother’s side.

So we needed to be there as soon as the doors opened to the free ‘tasting ‘session that started at 10am.

We had contemplated going into the city by train as the station was just a short walk away as we recalled that finding a car park was not an easy task and quite expensive in the city.

However, to keep some flexibility we ended up taking the car and as it turned out we spotted a car parking building just below the location of the Registry Office and took the opportunity while it presented itself.

Striding up the street we found the Registry building and entered just on 10am, the time the free session was to start, only to find that the last free place had been taken for the morning session but we could come back and try our luck for the afternoon. The alternative was to pay GBP15 for a full day of unlimited access. We had come all this way and the pay session needed to be done.

So I left Gretchen merrily tapping away searching the records while I headed off for a walking tour of the city.

The city is relatively easy to walk around and I headed down the road that starts at the Registry Office and walked for 20 minutes or so until I came to a road that went off to the right that I recognised from our last visit to the city. The road led to The Meadows an extensive area of playing fields with tracks criss crossing.

I carried onto the far end from where I had started to see if anyone was playing croquet at the Meadows Croquet Club.However, there was no one playing with the only activity coming from a guy walking up and down spraying the lawns while another two workers stood and looked on. I wonder what their maintenance bill is if the firm they are paying to do the maintenance sends along workers who don’t actually appear to do any work!

With no croquet to watch to fill out the time until I had arranged to meet Gretchen back at the Registry Office I took what I thought would be the road that would take me back to our meeting place without having to retrace my steps.

All seemed to go well for a while and I had the sense that I was going in the right direction. Crossing over Princes Street, the principal shopping street in the city, my journey took me down a hill and I started to have the feeling I was going away from where I needed to end up. So before I got too far and knowing that I was going to have walk back up the hill I turned around and went back to Princes Street thinking that the Registry Office was at the end of the street. The only question was which end?

Four years ago we recall that the local authorities were laying down tram lines and putting up overhead wire for a tourist tram line that would make a circuit of the busiest part of the shopping area. All this time on and the trams still weren’t running as the project wasn’t yet fully completed. It seems the construction firm had had problems with the soil structure under where the rails had been laid and the cobbles had had to be re-laid and there had also been concern that in hot weather the rails had nowhere to expand. Although I can hardly imagine too many days hot enough for this to happen in Edinburgh!

I picked the right direction to walk back along the broad pavement of Princes Street and soon the Registry Office came into view and I linked back up with Gretchen again who had not had the success she had been hoping for in the family history search.

We found ourselves a place for lunch across in the Princes Street Mall and although Gretchen could have gone back for the afternoon to continue the searching she decided her head was full of

false leads that she had found and would let the afternoon session slip.

Back at the hotel she discovered a 14 day free trial on Ancestory.com which provided some help in her research and while she worked away on that I put my feet up for a well deserved rest after a couple of hours of walking around the city in the morning.

While I had done the walking in the morning Gretchen needed to stretch her legs so we decided for a walk around a few of the sights of Musselburgh including the quaint historic Musselburgh Racecourse which has a 9 hole golf course located in the centre.

We had thought that we could take a walk along part of a 70km long walkway, part of which ran along the foreshore just a short distance from the town streets. However we couldn’t see where the track continued after finding an entrance at the racecourse and so we reverted back to the road and walked the 5 furlongs that was the main straight of the racecourse to where we thought there might have been a pub to have dinner at.

We found the pub which was actually more of a restaurant with prices higher that what we wanted to pay so we walked back to town and the Weatherstones pub for Monday Burger Night and a tremendous feed and a couple of beers for less than GBP14 for the two of us. Great value and tasty food to be had at a Weatherstones pub!!

So it had only been a partially successful day searching family history but we only have a limited time so what she has will have to do for now.

Tomorrow it’s off to the Highlands for a stop near Fort William and then over to the Isle of Mull and a much awaited visit to the tiny Isle of Iona and Columba Abbey.

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