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guided walks in Edinburgh, etc

would like suggestions on a private guide or group tour for castle and history, evening walk. Also looking for historical fiction to get a feel for life.... weather the end of sept. for Highlands hiking?
thanks, barb

Posted by
1957 posts

This doesn't cover the castle, but we enjoyed the best time in Edinburgh at tour of Mary King's Close just down hill from castle. I think it took about an hour more or less. Look up on Google. I think the first time we saw it was on one of Rick' shows but not sure.

Posted by
5669 posts

Look for Nigel Tranter's books on Scotland. They are historical novels and really good with the detail. You may have to buy through Amazon.co.uk. Dorothy Dunnett also has some good historical novels based in Scotland. Of course, there is always the founding father of Scottish historical novels, Sir Walter ScottRob Roy and Ivanhoe come immediately to mind. And then there is RL StevensonDr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. George Mackay Brown has written several based in Orkney. Magnus might be a good one. P.F. Chisholm wrote a couple of great mysteries based in the Borders during the Elizabethan era. Of course, there is always Diane Galbadon if you wish to intersperse some fantasy with your fiction. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon was once voted the all time favorite book of the Scots. I enjoyed it. If you want WWII check out Whisky Galore, also a movie. And of course, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, another one also a movie. One of my favorite contemporary writers is Andrew Grieg. I loved The Return of Rob McNab. Other than his book Raw Spirit on whisky, I've not been able to get into Iain Banks. Don't forget Irvine Welsh. And Ian Rankin is one my very favorite authors. Contemporary Edinburgh, Scotland and the Scottish People are as much characters in his book as Rebus. Pam

Posted by
571 posts

It's not a private tour, but I cannot recommend more highly the Scottish Literary Pub Tour. Read some Sir Walter Scott or Robert Louis Stevenson or Robbie Burns for atmosphere before you go, then listen to two actors lead you through the streets of Edinburgh as they debate whether it was the city's intellectual atmosphere or its lowly taverns and brothels that inspired the great authors that came out of Scotland. And you stop along the way at three pubs for a pint of ale or a whisky. It makes for a fun evening.

Posted by
67 posts

At Edinburgh Castle there is a free 20-30 minute tour that is very good. I had to wait about 1/2 before the tour time, but they are posted as soon as you come in.

Posted by
3428 posts

For 'historical fiction', check out Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. There is a touch of Sci-fi/ fantasy because they are based on the premise of time travel, but basically they are historical fiction. The first few books are set in Scotland, just prior to, during and immediately after 'the rising of '45'- or Bonnie Prince Charlie's attempt to retake Scotland.

Posted by
5669 posts

I've not tried these tours yet, but intend to the next time I am in Edinburgh. They are tours based around Ian Rankin's books. Rankin's Inspector Rebus is based in today's Edinburgh and the city is as much a character in Rankin's books as is the Inspector. They are called Rebustours and it looks like they have added some interesting new tours as well. Pam

Posted by
8102 posts

We really enjoyed the Mercat tours of the Underground Vaults. Very unusual. Wished we would have gone on one of the Literary tours. We did do one of those Sandemann free tours and hated it. Waste of our time, and we felt really pressured to tip, even though it was so bad, especially because we knew the guide had to pay a fee for each person that begins the tour. People kept leaving all through the tour, it was so boring and awful.

Posted by
9681 posts

I know you said historical fiction, but I love Alexander McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series. There are 8 in the series, the first one being...44 Scotland Street. I didn't really get in to his #1 Ladies Detective Series or the other Scottish one featuring Isabel Dalhousie, but I really like 44. They do need to be read in order.

Posted by
11805 posts

There are probably a dozen walks that depart from Merkt Square around sunset. They are variations of underground/ghost walks. Some are geared more toward small children while others cater to adult tourists. I arrived at the Square a little late and hooked up with one tour but dropped out quickly when I realized it was oriented toward small children. Get there early and ask around (or ask the TI) for a tour that fits your interests. There may be a second set of walks later in the evening that are worth looking into but I didn't try then.