Saturday 22 September 2018
Most of the choir flew in yesterday (Friday 21/9) and we had a lovely welcome dinner at the Mercure Hotel on Princes Street – our accommodation for the next four nights. In the morning after a rehearsal to warm the throats and clear the jetlag – we were on the coach to Linlithgow – a beautiful town about half-an-hour away. On the way we stopped at what is a modern masterpiece – the ‘Kelpies.’ Here is how they are described online:
The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a new parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland. The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.
They are stunning and breath-taking – after all the history of the last three weeks – here was a modern sculpture which I rank up with a lot of what I have experienced in the trip so far! Next, we were taken to the Falkirk Wheel. Again, this is a piece of modern engineering magic. It is the only rotating boatlift in the world – connecting Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal. It was opened in 2002 and is amazing to experience being lift lifted the 24m. There are two boat bays which balance each other out and both hold 250 tonnes of water. Using Archimedes principle however – it only takes the power of eight kettles boiling to move up or down – truly incredible!
We then moved onto to Linlithgow proper and had a wonderful civil reception before being led by a piper up to the 13th century church (with a modern steeple) It was a good fun concert in the church and both our choir and the local choir – The Linlithgow Rugby Club Male Voice Choir – the only rugby club in Scotland to have its own choir! – were well received by the 300+ in the church that night. A few of us accepted the invitation to head back to the Rugby Club after the concert for the after-glow celebrations. A Male choir tradition – this was a wonderful event – with impromptu singing and a few wee drams!
We made it back to the hotel by 12.30am after a wonderful day and night – a hectic way to start our tour for the next three weeks.
Grand majestic buildings on Princes Street Edinburgh
The view early in the morning across from our hotel
Me going on the canal boat to be lifted up – notice I am wearing a fleecy – only about 11 degrees
being lifted up
St Michael’s Linlithgow – notice the top of the tower!
Civic reception – our President Neil – on the far left – I feel many of our members had uniform envy – the tartans of the Linlithgow choir were stunning!
Being piped up to the church – I had the great fortune to be in the front line behind our piper – a very moving experience.