Even writing this, excitement is bubbling up in me as I remember the part where we forewent the sunshine and ducked underground to explore the tunnels under the castle at St Andrew’s.
Sure, it’s the typical tourist activity here… but I’d bet good money on the fact you don’t often find yourself lurking in tunnels on a holiday. Double down on that bet and I’m confident you don’t usually pinpoint this as your defining moment of a city.
My brother was going to catch up with a highschool friend who lived in St Andrew’s, and I was happy to tag along knowing this was where a whole lot of posh Brits had gone to university. Wills and Kate, anyone?
As per usual, I had no idea of what was there. I was slightly confused at the local bus that got us out there from Edinburgh, until we were met and shown around.
St Andrew’s is tiny.
That doesn’t stop people from flocking there though. We assumed the university students had left during our visit, so it was slightly odd seeing the town completely overrun by outsiders. Very fortunate that we were being shown around by someone who had been living there.
We bypassed the high street, “there are only about 5 stores”, and agreed on letting our friendly tour guide lead us around.
We were taken through the grounds of St Andrew’s Cathedral, dotted with gravestones and sidled up to the coast. The sun was peeking through the clouds every so often, so we made the most of the pier and strolled along the water while everyone caught up. I seem to recall a moment where we all stood there for a good 30 seconds just letting the view sink in.
There was a lot of talk of getting together for the next Coheed & Cambria gig too.
The photos look drearier than the day was. It doesn’t help that the picture quality of my iPhone 5 is beyond useless. At this stage the front-facing camera doesn’t even focus.
After staring out at the waves for a solid half hour, our tour guide asked if we wanted to go and do the castle and underground siege tunnels. Can’t say I was overly keen on this until realising there wasn’t much else going on… except eating and drinking.
We walked to St Andrew’s Castle and paid to go underneath, finding out it’s history on the way through. Imagine a mini-museum? We came out the other side of the castle, which is where things got interesting. This was where the tunnel access was, so down we went.
The backstory to the tunnels is that they were part of a siege. One without much intuitive planning… or good maths. Seems the digging didn’t quite match up to where a bunch of invaders were hiding, so it took a couple of attempts to make a tunnel that actually led to the right place. More fun for us!
Being the token spoilsport, I wasn’t initially game enough to actually head all the way in to the tunnels. That was until the boys disappeared in front of me and I decided that waiting outside would be boring. Part of my plan to just do it.
It was cold, wet and creepy. But there were kids down there with us, so it couldn’t be too bad. I clutched on to my handbag (inappropriately dressed for activities) and crouched down, manoeuvring myself forwards in a gangly waddle all the way down. Once I got over the claustrophobia of it, I started to enjoy myself and attempted a few photos despite being terrified of smashing my phone and losing my light source.
We popped in and out of the tunnels, having a candid laugh at the dungeon hole where someone had dropped their phone. Never to be retrieved. Poor sod.
After emerging for air, a drink was required.
We stumbled upon St Andrew’s Brewing company. Couldn’t have planned it better myself.
The boys were happy to sit and drink, and I was able to consume a bowl full of carbs in front of one very attractive bartender. We told him we were already hungover, he suggested Iron Bru. Can’t say I gave it a good review, it tastes like a medicine I had pretty commonly as a kid.
No one was game for haggis, despite being promised we wouldn’t know what it was if packaged up as nachos. Too hungover for that kind of food gamble.
Revived with a good dose of hair-of-the-dog, we chilled out at our friends house before heading back to Edinburgh.
Still sad we didn’t try the ‘best milkshake ever’ but we were far too full. Promises were given to make sure this was first on the agenda next time in Scotland.