Saturday, July 5, 2014

Historic Scotland, You're Brilliant; Jousting at Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace with jousting set up on Linlithgow Peel.

When we arrived in Scotland last summer, someone (probably my boss) recommended that we get a family membership to Historic Scotland.  They run some of the loveliest and most popular historic properties in Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle and our "local" castle and cathedral in St. Andrews. They also run special events in the summer, and especially after going to Jousting at Linlithgow Palace near Edinburgh today, I am definitely a convert - our Historic Scotland membership was worth every pound.

Linlithgow Palace courtyard
We had not been to Linlithgow Palace before; birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots, and her father James V. It is a ruin, but quite impressive as ruins go.  The fountain in the courtyard (pictures below), re-installed in 2005, is magnificent.  If I hadn't had two little ones dragging me off (to the Peel! to the Stairs!) I could have spent a long time looking at it. 

Below: the whole fountain from one side, from above , and a close-up of a Unicorn.

  Speaking of those little ones - I am so impressed, Historic Scotland, with how well prepared you were for them, and us.  The special-event parking area was clearly marked, Historic Scotland staff checked our cards and gave us wristbands for entry right there in the car park, there were buses lined up to take us over to the Palace, and we were dropped off just down the (small)  hill from the entrance.  There were toilets right as we went through the gate, and more down near the Jousting area - clearly, Historic Scotland event planners, you are familiar with potty-training toddlers!

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day - sunny, warm but not roasting, with a wee bit of wind rain thrown in during the joust, just to remind us it IS still Scotland.

Peel, from a window of the Palace

Introducing the competitors

My best picture of the competitors; not that flattering of the horses...

And the Linlithgow Peel was gorgeous as well; mature trees for shade, all the arenas and tents well organized, and even dueling ice-cream trucks  (one with real ice cream and the other with the whipped-cream-ish stuff that passes for ice cream here - but they were equally popular.) 

Dueling ice cream trucks in the shade
And of course the most popular feature for the girls - they had hobby-horse jousting, which amused for a minute, but the playpark and the grass and trees held their attention much longer. The most scenic playpark I've ever been to, for sure.

Hobby horse jousting with dad holding the lance (can't hold horse and lance at the same time...)

Part of Linlithgow Peel playpark (swings not pictured)

Playing with a friend they found, under the trees
All in all, a great day out (as Historic Scotland promises) as you can see by the smiles as we were getting ready to head out (note duck in shining armor), and Paul's artwork for Audrey before she headed off to bed...

In a window near the Palace entrance

Jousting artwork by  Paul Orzech

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