Travels in Our Motorhome – RV66 ORG – Autotrail Imala 736G- occupants - two adults of a certain age
We enjoyed a quiet Sunday morning drive across country from West to East through some wonderful scenery, making for the Caravan and Motorhome Club Edinburgh campsite.
This site is very close to the esplanade that runs along the River Forth’s water front, The esplanade and is no doubt very popular in summer with a café and ice cream vans etc. We did cycle out and about along the esplanade and beyond a couple of times but the weather here was quite a bit cooler than it had been in Oban.
The Botanical Gardens – or not?
Cyclists are well served in Edinburgh with plentiful, clearly signed cycle routes using dedicated off-road paths and roads through quiet streets. However, not all is as cycle friendly as it first appears. One of our planned visitor destinations was the Botanical Gardens, about 5 miles from the campsite along a clearly marked cycle way. When we arrived at the Botanical Gardens they have nowhere inside the gates to leave bikes. People are expected to leave bikes in the road outside. Chains and safety locks are no real barrier against a determined thief with the necessary equipment especially when the owner is away for some time. The road outside is fairly quiet – ideal – not many people around to be suspicious – owners likely to be away for hours. We were not going to put our bikes at risk and were severely disappointed that no effort has been made to provide some out of sight bike storage, especially when cycling to the gardens is obviously encouraged! 
The National Museum of Scotland
There is a minibus service that runs from the campsite to the city centre - £8 each return. The bus is much cheaper and the stop only an easy walk of about 15 minutes or so but we opted for the convenience of the pick up from the site.
We have been to Edinburgh before and visited the castle so although it was many years ago decided not to go again. It was a very cold day and so we opted for an inside attraction. I have read excellent reviews of the National Museum and on the evidence from our visit would say they are well deserved.
The museum is large and would take several days to look at everything properly. So we focused our visit on that part of the museum dedicated to the history of Scotland. This is housed in a brand new extension of the original building and the exhibits cover everything from prehistoric times to the modern industrial period. It is fascinating and interesting with a host of items – some mundane industrial products others items of fabulous jewellery. The exhibition as a whole succeeds in separating out the myths, and stereotypes from the real facts of Scotland’s history.
I am half Scottish and I love history and consider myself reasonably knowledgeable on British history – which in reality means English history. I was lucky to be well taught in history both at primary and secondary level but there was little mention of Scotland in all that. I was taught a little about Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, James VI/I, Bonny Prince Charlie – mostly in negative terms for the latter three!  I have just started reading a book by Clare Hunter, a Scottish writer. According to Clare Hunter it seems that even in Scotland, until very recently, Scottish children were taught no more about their own history than I was. So for anyone with any interest in Scottish history this museum is an absolute must – and it is free with an excellent café.
A view of the castle
Edinburgh from the museum roof garden