Monday, September 1, 2014

Edinburgh

Sunday 10 August
Due to the RideLondon event causing many major roads being blocked to traffic, we had to leave the hotel at 9 am to travel to Heathrow for the 1.20 pm British Airways flight to Edinburgh. Ex-hurricane Bertha had crossed the Atlantic and was now visiting the UK resulting in wild, wet weather. The RideLondon event was meant to be 100 miles but was reduced to 86 miles to avoid areas affected by storm damage.All in all an interesting day for a plane flight. Four days later Bertha was still impacting on the weather in England and Scotland.

The flight from London to Edinburgh is short,  normally taking 55 minutes. We would not have been surprised if the flight had been delayed because of the weather but instead the flight was delayed because there had been a mix-up with baggage being transferred from another flight. Eventually the plane took off and the pilot warned us that there would be a few rough patches, particularly at the beginning and end of the flight. The passengers really did not need encouragement to keep their seat belts on. As a passenger sitting next to me remarked, the trip was rather like being on a roller coaster ride. When we arrived the pilot remarked that the trip had been a little rougher than he had anticipated and suggested that this was a trip that we would remember.

We found our driver and collected our baggage. Jan, a passenger from an earlier flight, had missed her lift to the hotel as her baggage had not arrived on the plane so she came to the hotel with us. The driver told us that baggage going to the wrong destination was a normal occurrence. We discovered the next day that the baggage of another member of our group had gone to Ireland and it was many days before she was reunited with her suitcase.
In Edinburgh we stayed at the Crowne Plaza on Royal Terrace in the area of the city known as New Town. The building of Royal Terrace began in 1821 following the designs of William Playfair (1789-1857). When completed there were forty townhouses within one facade. The residents of the new townhouses included men of wealth, solicitors, merchants and retired officers of the HEICS. The group of buildings were finally completed in 1860. In the 1920s and 1930s some of the townhouses were used a s boarding houses, hotels or offices. In the 1980s a number of houses were connected to form the Arden Hotel, later renamed the Royal Terrace Hotel.

When we arrived in Edinburgh it was raining but as the weather forecast for the next few days was not encouraging we decided to complete our first task which was to visit another location in New Town, Ainslie Place, where my great, great grandmother had been born in December 1830.
Before leaving Melbourne I had made a copy of the route from the hotel to Ainslie Place using Google Maps so we knew not only the route but also the distance between the two locations.
Using the earth view we also had an idea as to the layout of the buildings in Ainslie Place. There is a private park belonging to the residents in the centre of Ainslie Place with the townhouses arranged in one large semi circle on one side and two smaller semicircles on the other.
Number 11 Ainslie Place, the townhouse with the white door, is where my great, great grandmother, Eleonora Mackillop, lived with her family before they moved to Tasmania via India in 1833. The 1841 census shows that they were back living in the house before the family eventually transferred to Bath in England to live.
Ainslie Place was built on the estate of the Lord of Moray and was named after his second wife (the daughter of Sir Philip Ainslie). The townhouses were built in the 1820s. They each had four storeys and stairs leading to a basement. The design of this row of townhouses was similar to the townhouse that the family moved to in Grosvenor Place in Bath.
A feature of the townhouses was the elaborate wrought iron decorations on the lower windows.
As it was still raining we ceased our explorations for the day and returned to the hotel.

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