Unbelievable, it's already Thursday and our last complete course day. Two weeks can pass by so quickly when you're having fun and learning interesting things in a wonderful city. As it's the final day, there needs to be a special program, well we always have fantastic activities, but this is one of my favourites as it includes food. Yes, we're travelling all the way to Duddingston to Edinburgh's oldest pub. But, I'm not telling you about the really delicious food and all the useful vocabulary we learned today, I'll tell you more about the village Duddingston. While exploring the village the CLIL Teachers explained to the Speaking & Listening students some interesting facts about this hidden gem.
By Kim Laura Kühne
The area of Duddingston was originally a separate village to the city, which back then was only the medieval Old Town and later the New Town as well. Other areas of Edinburgh used to be separate villages such as Leith. Nowadays Leith is not noticeable as a village, it seems like a part of the central city whereas Duddingston still has its village character and it gives you the feeling of being transported into a sleepy country town.
First stop, the Sheep Heid Inn. The Sheep Heid Inn is known as the oldest pub in Edinburgh, dating back to 1360! For those who are not fluent in Scots, Heid means head, so sheeps head. And they say the name comes from a snuff box which was either embellished with or shaped like a ram's head.
The Sheeps Heid used to have a very famous customer. Just some around the corner from the Inn is a house, were Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed for a month before the battle of Prestonpans. So, it's pretty likely that he would have had a pint or two at the local pub, the Sheeps Heid.
Next stop is an incredible place, even a lot of locals don't know about it: Dr Neils Garden. It's located between Duddingston Church and the Duddingston Lake. The founders of the garden were Nancy and Andrew Neil who both worked as GPs, or family doctors. In 1963, the couple started to work on the Duddingston church land which was the start of Dr. Neil's Garden. The doctors encouraged their clients to help out in the garden, as they thought it was a brilliant therapy. Andrew and Nancy Neil both died in 2005. The garden is open to the public every day from 10 am till dusk and still functions as a therapeutic place.
A special feature in the garden is Thomson's Tower, which was designed by William Henry Playfair, and built in 1825 for the Duddingston curling Society to store its stones.
On our wee tour through this little village we also stopped by the church, or kirk as the Scots would say. The church was built around 1124. At the entrance to the kirkyard you can see the gatehouse, built as a lookout point to watch out for "bodysnatchers" in the early 19th century. Some other noticeable things at the entrance is the big metal chain, called "jougs", used as punishment. If you had done something bad they would put the chain around your neck and you had to stay there for a day or longer. And everyone knew you've done something bad. Right next to it, you can see something which looks like steps. This was an elegant way for a lady to get on a horse.
And to finish off, a nice picture of Duddingston Loch. Wait what, Duddingston Loch? Doesn't it ring a bell? Do you remember who was ice skating on this loch? If you can't remember in my very first blog about the Scottish National Galleries you can find the answer.
How have you enjoyed my blog post about our intensive? Which day was the best in your opinion and why? Not had enough yet? On Monday the Advanced Speakers course starts and you can read more about our summer activities. But the best thing would be if you join The Edinburgh Experience for one of our future summer courses. Don't hesitate and get in touch with us!
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