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Lost in Edinburgh

Walk a Mile Monday

Mar 11

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

“Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence; it has long trances of the one and flashes of the other; like the king of the Black Isles, it is half alive and half a monumental marble.”

~ Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

Ready to skip down the Royal Mile? Lead straight down the middle as in the opening figure of this sprightly jig, and try not to get lost in the next curving and chasing figures reminiscent Edinburgh's network of convoluted closes! The cobblestoned Royal Mile, stretches through the heart of Edinburgh, connecting the grand Edinburgh Castle with the stately Holyrood Palace. But beyond its main path is a labyrinth of convoluted closes—narrow, winding alleys that branch off like veins, each with its own tale to whisper. These closes, house hidden courtyards, secret gardens, and the remnants of centuries-old buildings. Mary King's Close, a historic alleyway buried beneath the Royal Mile was named after Mary King, a widow and merchant in the 1630s. The close became infamous in the late 1640s when the bubonic plague ravaged Edinburgh. There were rumors and myths that the city officials had quarantined the sick and dying within the close, leaving them to perish, although historical evidence does not support this. By the 18th century, parts of Mary King's Close were demolished to make way for the Royal Exchange, and the remaining sections were covered over, effectively sealing them off from the modern city above. For centuries, the close was forgotten, shrouded in myths and legends about being haunted by the ghosts of its former residents. It wasn't until the late 20th century that Mary King's Close was rediscovered and excavated. Today, it is a popular with tourists and ghost hunters! 👑 👻

Lost in Edinburgh

The Royal Mile is one of Edinburgh's most famous and historic streets, stretching from Edinburgh Castle at one end to the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other. Here are some of the best places to get lost in:

  1. Edinburgh Castle: This iconic fortress dominates the city's skyline and offers breathtaking views, historical exhibitions, and the famous 1 o'clock gun.

  2. St Giles' Cathedral: Known for its beautiful stained glass windows and crown spire, this cathedral is a central point of Scottish religious history.

  3. The Real Mary King's Close: A historical journey into Edinburgh's past, exploring the city's underground streets and spaces.

  4. The Scottish Parliament Building: A striking piece of contemporary architecture located near the foot of the Royal Mile, offering tours to learn about the political history of Scotland.

  5. The Palace of Holyroodhouse: The official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, boasting beautiful apartments and gardens, and the ruins of Holyrood Abbey.

  6. The People’s Story Museum: Located in the Canongate, this museum tells the stories of Edinburgh’s people through objects, photographs, and personal accounts.

  7. The Museum of Edinburgh: Here, you can discover the city's history, from its earliest settlers through to modern times.

  8. John Knox House: One of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile, associated with the Protestant Reformation leader, John Knox.

  9. The Writers’ Museum: Celebrating the lives of Scotland's great writers, such as Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

  10. Dynamic Earth: An interactive museum that takes you on a journey through time to witness the Earth's history, including volcanoes, rainforests, and polar regions.

For more on Mary King's Close, click the namesake narrow alleyway below!

Lost in Edinburgh

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Lost in Edinburgh

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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