The Cadies and Witchery Tour – Edinburgh 2018
What is a ‘cadie’? According to the Collins dictionary it is defined as: (Scottish) “a person in a large town or city in the 18th century who was on the lookout for chance employment, for example, as a messenger.”
So, let me set the scene:
20th April 2018, a lovely spring day, as a treat for my soon-to-be husband, I took him on a weekend getaway to Edinburgh, a place neither of us has visited prior.
For our first night there I had booked us on the 7pm ‘Ghosts & Gore’ tour, run by the award winning Cadies and Witchery Tour Company.
This was a first for us both, a walk-along street tour, described as “suspenseful and mirth filled”, taking place along the famous Royal Mile, the main artery running through Edinburgh’s Old Town. Here, the cadies are going to tell us about some of the gruesome and somewhat gore filled history of Edinburgh. We weren’t sure what to expect, but I assure you, it didn’t disappoint.
Our tour begins just a stone’s throw from the historic and dominating Edinburgh Castle. Our pre-purchased E-tickets tell us to meet outside ‘The Witchery by the Castle’ restaurant five minutes before the starting time. We arrive promptly at 6.55pm and don’t have to wait long. Chatting with fellow tour goers for a few minutes, we soon spot our well dressed guide making his way up the hill towards us. This would be the long deceased and infamous cemetery director, Alexander Clapperton.
The tone of the tour isn’t too serious, it’s very open, fun, and not to mention inclusive – audience participation is a must. We are taken on a spooky trip through the cobbled closes of Edinburgh’s old town, and through to the old courtyards. Here we learn about the history of the dwellings, how they would build them continuously on top of each other, expanding the city upwards rather than outwards. We hear tales of how the lowest classes would have to live at the top of the dwellings, and the highest of classes at the bottom. Of course, the higher you are, the more likely you are to die when the over-tall buildings eventually and fantastically collapse.
We are introduced to several figures from history including the ‘mad monk of Cowgate’, who was badly burned in a 17th century monastery fire. We are also introduced to Agnes Fynnie, a woman who was thought to be a witch, burned at the stake in 1641, and Jimmy Tamson, who had a short career removing and then burying the dead during the black plague of the 17th century. Finally we have Rhuari McLeod, a very animated highlander with lots to say regarding the invasion history of Edinburgh.
This tour is full of torture, plague, witch-burning, grave robbing and hangings. Not to mention that if you are lucky you will be invited to test some of the old style torture devices.
The Cadies and Witchery Tour is a very interesting, fun and eye opening delve into the dark and murky past of Edinburgh. This is a family friendly experience, and a great introduction to the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
The Cadies and Witchery tours run daily. The length of the tour is approximately 80 minutes from start to finish, and begins from the Witchery by the Castle restaurant, located at 352 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh.
(https://www.thewitchery.com/). Prices are very reasonable, £10 for adults, £7.50 for children, with discounts for group bookings.
This is a highly recommended activity if you like gore, ghosts and giggles.
(Images courtesy of https://www.witcherytours.com/enter-our-lair)