Picture This: Looking Down On Holyrood

by Keith Savage · 8 comments


I step off the path on the backside of Calton Hill and stand in the wind as it flows among Edinburgh’s seven hills. The sun has come to Scotland, and there are people traipsing in the greens like ants upon the hill. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the ancient seat of the kings and queens of England in Scotland, bookends the Royal Mile opposite its loftier counterpart, Edinburgh Castle. The light turns beige and gold and a rainbow of browns on the palace’s stone. Like an oil slick going pearlescent in the setting sun, it is a beautiful, ugly thing.

I only know what I don’t feel as I look down upon Holyrood Palace. I don’t feel that balloon of awe in my chest that Scotland’s scenery evokes. I don’t feel close to something buried and powerful. I don’t feel the justice of the landscape. I don’t feel the weight of nine centuries. I sit down among the gorse and grass and watch a calico cat saunter by on a railing. Why does it feel like we are interlopers, a bad stitch in the otherwise perfect quilt? Am I just a misanthrope? Or is some kernel of truth wheedling to the surface, pressing against the permafrost, and aching to blossom?


HansNo Gravatar June 18, 2015 at 6:09 AM

It was fantastic to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse during the stay in Edenburgh. What a lot of history came over me. Even so the ruïns of the Abbey behind the house.

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Gayla~No Gravatar April 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM

That is one dramatic vantage point. I enjoyed my visit to Holyroodhouse for the historical benefit and the architecture. Visiting such places is always a mixed bag of emotion, seeing and enjoying the grandness, beauty and extravagance, yet thinking of the less fortunate who suffered greatly while the ruling class acquired such riches…

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar April 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Every time I’ve tried to gain access they were just closing down visitation for the day.

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HoggaNo Gravatar April 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM

it’s so pretty!

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AndiNo Gravatar March 29, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Wow what an amazing castle!

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KenNo Gravatar March 29, 2013 at 7:33 AM

I regret not trying the walk up to the top. What a great view and a really fine photograph!

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DaveNo Gravatar March 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Though I’ve yet to make it to Scotland, your words ring true to me, as to how I think I’d feel if I were sitting there as well.

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pankajNo Gravatar March 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

This is amazing castle. I wondered they still exist. Here in india, there are lots of forts. It is amazing that these stunning architectures exists for so long.

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