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Auld Reekie Terror Tour (Edinburgh)
Member Name: SaveMeTheMoney
Auld Reekie Terror Tour (Edinburgh)
Advantages: Good history
Disadvantages: American guide
Having just returned from a long weekend in Edinburgh, the first thing I wanted to advise people to go do was the 'Auld Reekie' ghastly terror tour!
This tour is a walking tour, so my first bit of advice is for the ladies not to wear high heels! You will be walking over cobbled steets and up and down steep hills, so best to get your sensible shoes on!
Auld Reekie is a Victorian nickname for Edinburgh - although the guide did not explain this, we found this out later while overlooking the city from Camera Obscura. It is a rough translation of old smokey, because of all the chimneys belching out smoke all over the city back in the nineteenth century. This has all been banned in the city now, so it is a lot cleaner.
My wife and I went on the 10.00 pm tour so that we would get to do the tour in the dark to increase the fear factor! The tickets cost £10, and the tour lasted an hour and a half so it is well worth it.
The guide greeted us at the Tron Kirk, dressed up in some ye olde world garb. Our guide was knowledgable and did set the scene well, but this was my only area of dissatisfaction, as our guide was an American. Now I have nothing against Americans per se, but she kept referring to 'us' when clearly she meant Scottish people. Now I know that it was just part of the script and was being done to set the scene, but still....
So we were taken round a couple of streets and told about witch burning and killing that took place outside St Giles Cathedral and then a quick stop in the torture museum where we were shown lots of horrednous implements used on humans of all ages and sexes before going deep into the vaults. The torture stuff was interesting, but to call it a 'museum' is possibly erroneous, as it was more like a room with 15 things in.
The Nar lough which is now Princes Street Graden, sounded like a truly disgusting place. This was where all of the excrement would have ended up (as there were no toilet facilities a bucket was emptied twice a day and it all would have run down the hills into the lough) and all sorts of waste ended up here. This added to the idea of a generally not very nice place.
The vaults were home to all kinds of robbers, thieves, murderers, rapists and all round bad people. This was because homelessness was outlawed, but obviously the poorest people needed somewhere to live. Our guide told us that the city even stopped investigating anything that went on there, which only increased the crime.
The vaults themselves were quite eerie, all very dark and a few candle lights. The guide kept telling us a few 'scary' stories, and we went into a room where the local witch occult guy had apparently stayed and was terrorised by ghosts, etc, etc - you know the usual stuff! Now I may be sounding pretty dismissive now, but during it, I was as scared as anyone!
The tour culminates in a room where the guide turns off her light and....well, if I told you that I would ruin it!
Part of the tour included two free drinks. Oh sorry, wait, beer is extra, the free drinks are vodka and mixer. These were given where the tour ended - in the 'most haunted pub in Edinburgh'. This was where some entrepreneur had turned a few of the vaults into a small club full of under 18's drinking. That was probably the scariest thing I saw.
The tour was good though, the guide very knowledgable and the vaults pretty creepy. Definitely worth doing.
Summary: Great tour
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