On Saturday, I went with five intrepid fellow explorers to the town of New Berwick about an hour and a half east of Edinburgh.  New Berwick is situated right on the coast where the North Sea joins with the Firth of Forth.

Of course today would be the day that the brilliantly gorgeous weather vanished and was replaced by cool, misty fog.  However, the fog made everything look very mysterious and rather awesome, so all in all, it worked out rather well.

This was a church we passed by after climbing off the bus.  I thought it was pretty.

Closer to the coastline, there was an amazing grave marker.  It was an extremely tall Celtic cross with a very sad, but amazing inscription on it.  It reads:

“Erected by public subscription in memory of Catherine Watson of Glasgow, Age 19, who was drowned in the East Bay 27th July 1889 while rescuing a drowning boy. The child was saved.  The brave girl was taken.”

The cross stands outside of the remains of a very old church called Saint Andrew’s Old Kirk.

The coastline was very cold and desolate looking the day we went.  I suppose it’s a bit more chipper in the warmer summer weather, but it was still quite idyllic in its own chilly, Scottish way.

That huge rock out in the mist is covered in white birds for a short while each year.  Tourists, mostly those crazy bird enthusiast one sees occasionally, can take boat rides out to see the birds.

Oh, look!  There’s one of those crazy bird enthusiasts!

Saint Andrew’s Old Kirk.  All that is left is the porch and a bit of the foundations from this 12th century structure.  It collapsed in the 17th century.  According to the plaque, it used to be very large and impressive as far as kirks went in those days.

Note the pretty, multi-colored houses in the background.  Those seem to show up all over the place in quaint towns.  I want to live in the blue one.

New Berwick has a whole center just for bird watching.  The enthusiasts in our entourage were, needless to say, beyond thrilled.  I did like the statue of the penguins.  I think Nap wants to take a trip across the Channel on one of these guys.

The seals, however, made Nap feel very uncomfortable.  There was something in their eyes that didn’t seem quite sane…

 LOOK! MORE BIRDS!

Lots of intense fog going on today.  As appropriate as fog is for walking the coastline of Scotland and visiting castles, it does make everything look faded and gray and landscapes can be a bit boring.  I tried to find interesting things to take pictures of.

I do love how the umbrellas contrasted with the landscape.  As far as I am concerned, everyone should own a bright and happy umbrella.  The job of the umbrella is not merely to protect us from rain.  It is also meant to defy the miserable weather with its cheerfulness and joy and color.  So those of you who own black umbrellas should be ashamed of yourselves.

 Bird?
 BIRD!
“I discovered it all by myself!”

In a gift shop, Nap tried on a kilt.  He was not pleased.  It does not come in his size and it definitely does not flatter his figure.  Maybe the red one, Nap?

Finally, CASTLE!  Welcome to Tantallon Castle, my very first castle actually visited and entered and appreciated for all of its castleyness (I dare you to use that word today).  I may have possibly declared this castle my own…

These are the cliffs that the castle sits atop.  Very impressive view.  I think I will be very happy with my new castle.

Some people were much less appreciative of the castle.  They kept seeing birds…

The grass was ridiculously green.  And the fog was ridiculously gray.  Very stark contrast.

And here is the entrance of the castle.  I wanted to shut the door so I could test how easily I could defend my new castle, but it was chained open.  Someone clearly does not understand castle defense.

There are a few holes that may need to be repaired before my new castle is habitable, but I think there is plenty to work with here.  And I like skylights.

Great view of my new back yard.  The grass is so green and then it cuts off abruptly at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.  I could host picnics back there between defeating enemies who engage in lengthy, but futile sieges.  They will naturally be very jealous of my castle.  I will have to teach them that jealousy is wrong.

The walls are still in pretty good shape.  There’s even a nice well right in the back.    Some people found the well a little too fascinating… it was quite deep, actually, though there was a nice grate over it to keep any of the overly curious from actually falling in.

And there are stairs leading up to the top!  When I first arrived, it didn’t seem like there was any way to climb up into the castle, so I was extremely pleased to find stairs that led all the way up to the towers and walls above.  You can’t properly survey your new domain from the ground.

I think my domain is awesome.  Don’t you?

Looking down into the open front hallway is a little dizzying though…

This castle stood at the entrance to the Firth of Forth.  They could see anyone coming from this vantage point, so if there was anyone unsavory trying to go deeper inland, Tantallon could respectfully turn them away… with arrows.  Possibly flaming.  And maybe some taunting (the soldiers, not the arrows).

I took this picture mostly because there were horses and horses make me happy, but it turned out that you can’t really see the horses all that well.  The picture is actually a lot more striking because it shows so clearly how foggy it was.  At the bottom of the picture, the color is vivid and it slowly fades away into the mist.  I suppose that since I am keeping this castle, I will have to get used to mist.

Somehow, I think that I will get used to it.  I gave my castle a hug.  Clearly, we bonded.

No, I don’t intend to use the prison unless people start pestering me too much about my castle.  They can’t have it.  I claimed it.

Well, I thought I had claimed it, anyway.  I told my older brother that I had claimed a couple of castles over the weekend.  He considered this quite seriously and then asked me if I had used flags in my castle-claiming endeavor.

To my eternal shame, I had to confess that no, I had not used flags.  Therefore, my brother said, the claiming did not count.

Luckily, there are many more castles out there, so I can bring some flags and claim some other ones next time.  For now, I will say farewell to Tantallon.

I did visit another castle, but I am done writing and picture posting for now, so await further pictures later this week.