Dungeon Masters

Before the day could even begin we had to walk to Tesco to find some cold soya milk. On our other holidays we’ve had a cool box full of ice as our portable fridge but we couldn’t exactly take it on the plane, so cue us trekking to Tesco in the rain for a milk mission. It was about a mile from our Travelodge but walking’s cheaper than a bus. We bought bags of ice to put in the sink with our milk and Red Bull. Then regretted it as we had to lug the heavy bags for the mile home. We were going to go to the castle but after that hike and the rain, we decided to go to the dungeons instead. The sun did make an appearance, but by then we had our hearts set on the dungeon.

Edinburgh Dungeons, The Edinburgh Dungeons are amazing! We knew were in for a good time when the first thing you do is pose for a photo. The girl who took our photo (we didn’t get her name) was lovely. Sadly we weren’t allowed to film or take photos, which was a shame because we want to relive it. We were first taken into a room where a judge awaited us. There was a couple on our tour but they weren’t really entering into the spirit of the dungeons. To put it another way, they looked like they’d accidentally taken the wrong turn out of Topshop and were too embarrassed to leave. The girl was the first put on trial, for witchcraft and just stood there, looking like she regretted the ticket price. Had we been called to take the stand we would’ve been proclaiming our innocence and even attempted an escape and body tackle while laying a curse upon people’s houses. Ryan was called to stand so us and Neen started booing him and calling for the death penalty, loudly declaring his guilt. He was put on trial for cross dressing – namely sneaking into Lady Chatterly’s back garden, putting on her pink frilly underwear and dancing around singing “I’m Shirley and I’m a big girly,” whilst slapping his backside. We haven’t laughed that hard in ages. We were in serious danger of rupturing vital organs. We were now really gutted we couldn’t film. This was comedy gold. Ryan was then known as Shirley for the rest of the holiday. It’s nice he gets a new nickname for each holiday, it’s like a souvenir that never gets lost.

The next stage was our punishment – the torture chamber – where a handsome torturer awaited us. Once again Ryan was his victim. There’s something about him that the guides pick up on because every tour we do, he gets picked on. Maybe it’s the Lynx Effect of his deodorant. The torturer demonstrated tongue removal , the chappy chopper (no prizes for guessing what that was used for) then made Ryan bend over the chair for the butcher’s hook. Never seen him look so nervous 😀 Now he was the one looking like he regretted the ticket price as he awkwardly put his hands on the arm of the chair. That was as far as he got to bending over, the spoilsport. Neen and us were the only people who knew exactly what each piece of torture equipment was used for. Anyone would think that had been our favourite part in history lessons. We were put on a boat and sent through the pitch black caves of Galloway. There, we were greeted by the infamous Sawney Bean – the cannibal. He took a liking to the girl on the tour, but she seemed a little freaked out. We moved on to Dr Knox’s anatomy class where his assistant performed an autopsy. We would’ve happily helped him – we’ve seen autopsy programmes, we know what to do.  We got sprayed with water from the fake bladder before being led to a graveyard. We need a graveyard themed room in Casa Raven. We sat on headstone thrones and listened to Burke and Hare talking. It would’ve been nice to have actors portraying them, but being prodded through the thrones to see if we were suitable specimens was pretty cool. We should’ve slouched lower so they could have massaged our aching shoulders.Edinburgh Dungeons

The next part was a replica of Mary King’s Close, where a cloaked man scared the crap out of the couple we were with. The lights would occasionally go out then when they switched back on, he’d stand in front of them. Never heard a guy shriek like that 😀 We thought it was the girl but no, that high pitched squeal of terror contained a Y Chromosome. We were sentenced to hang and given the option of backing out of the drop ride. Neen and us hate heights and hate that type of ride but we wanted the full experience so went on. As the ride went higher and higher we started to regret it. We barely paid attention to the judge delivering the death sentence, we were so nervous. After being told “you will hang from the neck until you are dead,” they pulled the hangman’s lever and we dropped. Weirdly we enjoyed it and there’s an amazing photo of Neen screaming. We got trapped in the hall of mirrors until the guide rescued us. There was one spooky moment when we approached each other, thinking we were nearing a mirror until we both realised we were wearing different clothes. To be fair, it was dark. After we bought our souvenir photos, we took the lift to the gift shop. We would’ve bought the whole place if we weren’t so broke. We loved it so much, we could have happily spent the day doing tour after tour. There needs to be a Cardiff Dungeons. We’d go and work there. Sadly though, Cardiff doesn’t have the same dark and bloody history as Edinburgh. To our knowledge, we’ve never even had a serial killer.

We returned to Greyfriars Kirkyard so we could see it in the day. It’s beautiful. It has stunning monuments that are carved with skulls, skeletons – need we say more? Whilst we were there, an American couple asked if they could take our photo. This is happening with increasing regularity and sadly, it’s not because they know who we are. We all gathered together for the shot then got talking to them. Turned out, he works for the bass player of Matchbox 20, who had just finished a gig in Glasgow. Everyone had flown home, but they decided to head for Edinburgh instead. After the graveyard, we made our way to Black Lion game shop so Ryan could buy some dice. We spent ages in there while he deliberated, so just chatted to the owner.

Camera Obscura, mirror mazeBut we had another place planned – Camera Obscura. It’s filled with optical illusions and the camera obscura, which is a large mirror on the roof of the building, which reflects the city onto a table, allowing us to see the city from above. There was a cool mirror maze which was easier to navigate than the one in the dungeons. There was also a vortex tunnel, which had a metal bridge through a tunnel of lights which spins. It’s very disorienting and we all felt sick. No idea what possessed us to go through a second time.

We made a quick stop at our Travelodge then headed out for our vault tour. We called in to our closest pub – Jekyll and Hyde. Jeykll and Hyde pub, Another awesome pub. It is filled with dark wood, chandeliers, displays of old glass bottles, skulls and an old type writer and an area made to look like a library. Turns out, this was where the toilets were. They were concealed in the library walls. It’s the first time we’ve ever wanted to sit by the toilets. To get to the back section of the pub, you went through a tunnel with horror monsters painted on it. We need pubs like this in Cardiff. Perhaps one day someone will open a Soul Asylum pub in our honour, with cocktails with name like ECT, Insanity or The Lobotomy. The walls could be padded, the tables could be stretchers, the beer garden could be the graveyard, with headstone seats…we haven’t really thought about it.

After a quick drink, we made our way to the vaults. Our guide, Samantha was brilliant. The City of the Dead tour takes you to the Niddry Street vaults known as Damnation Alley. Each tour company has their own section of vaults. On this tour, there are only 3 vaults to go in, but one of them, Vault 19 has the legendary South Bridge entity, who attacks people. We were hoping tonight would be the night he made an appearance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. We hear all these stories of people being attacked on tours and not once has it ever happened on a tour we’ve been on. We got talking to an Australian tourist, who like us, was looking for scary things to do. He seemed nice and stuck with us for the tour. Either because we were the ones with the big light, or so he’d be able to throw us in the path of the entity. Or he figured the entity would be more scared of us and would therefore, attack the less threatening members of the group.

When we were in the vault, our guide had everyone switch off their torches so we were in complete darkness. Having been locked in the punishment cell in Ruthin Gaol, we’re used to being in a room so dark it makes your eyes hurt. But the girls in front of us were clearly scared. They kept switching their torches on. Samantha told us a story about a little girl, Claire, who was on a tour with her mum. The guide’s torch had died and Claire’s mum went to grab her hand, but Claire wasn’t there. After the guide’s torch switched on, Claire was stood in the corner, facing the wall, Blair Witch style. When her mum asked why had she gone, she replied “someone took my hand.” The guide asked if she thought it was her mum. She answered “no, I knew it wasn’t my mum. My mum doesn’t have claws.”Niddry Street Vaults

A guy burst into the vaults, screaming. The girls in front of us freaked out and rushed backwards. We were at the back of the group so were almost trampled. How could they not see that coming? It’s a classic horror technique. Although the scare did relieve some of the tension, the story would have been creepier without it.

We were gutted this tour didn’t have the cursed stone circle, as we were going to dance in it. We’re booked on the Mary King’s Close tour tomorrow, so unless we can change the time, we’ll have to leave the stone circle for another holiday. We finished the night in the Jekyll and Hyde pub before returning to our Travelodge to see if the entity had scratched us. Sadly it hadn’t. But there were more tours  to come…