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COVID-19 Information

On Monday 14th September, the Scottish Government introduced a new gathering limit of six people from two households either indoors or outdoors.  As this new ruling applies to our walking tours this means that no single booking can be taken for more than 6 people (max of 2 households). Children under 12 from within the two households will not be counted in the new limit of six people.

We will continue to offer a public outdoor walking tour at 7:00pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a limited headcount to permit physical distancing.

Our wee shop remains open Tuesday-Sunday, 12noon - 6pm, with appropriate physical distancing and sanitary safeguards in place.

See the relevant sections on our homepage, and our Tour Booking page, for full details.

I've sanitised my thumbscrews

By Alexander Clapperton, August 14, 2020 - 3:49pm
Alexander Clapperton and a wild Highlander in Victoria Street, Edinburgh August 2020

It's great to be back on the streets of Edinburgh's Old Town conducting our evening outdoor walking tours.

We've adapted very quickly to a socially-distanced tour with a limit of 15 guests in each group. It's been a creative challenge reinventing aspects of the trip which require audience participation, but so far so good. For their part, the customers attending the tours -- a mix of locals and visitors -- are acclimatising well to the "new normal" by keeping a respectful distance from other family groups and wearing face-coverings when required.

On This Day... 17th May 1718: Friared to a crisp

By Alexander Clapperton, May 17, 2020 - 12:55am
Greyfriars Kirk after the fire of 1845

17th May 1718: On this date Edinburgh's Greyfriars Kirk was accidentally blown up by gunpowder. Not quite the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 on London's House of Lords but instead just a simple accident.

Edinburgh Town Council at that time stored their gunpowder in a small tower at the west end of the church. "This was surely asking for trouble!" I hear you loudly shout, and you'd be right. The west end of the church was obliterated, and a new west wall was built.

On This Day... 17th March 1514: We're taxing you all, to pay for a wall

By Alexander Clapperton, March 17, 2020 - 4:21pm
Section of the Flodden Wall in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

17th March 1514 - From the Burgh Records:

"Extent for walling of the toun.

The president baillies counsall and communite hes grantit and consentit that ane extent be gatherit of the haill communitie extending to the sowme of V li., with the dettis awand to the toun for the furnesing and defens of the samyn, efter the forme and effect of our Souerane Lordis writingis direct for that intent."

On This Day... 19th January 1586: Who clenges the clengers?

By Alexander Clapperton, January 19, 2020 - 12:52am
A foule clenger getting a good clengeing from a colleague

19th January 1586 - Yet another outbreak of the dreaded Plague drew to an end in Edinburgh around this time, and on this date the Burgh Council "Ordanis Alexander Fraynche, fowle clenger, to be clengeit and ane vther conducet in his rowme als guid cheip as can be."

That is to say: "Ordains Alexander French, foule clenger, to be cleansed [of the Plague] and another [should be] appointed in his place as cheaply as possible."

Deadly Diesel's dangerous driving delights denizens of 'dinburgh

By Adam Lyal, September 19, 2019 - 8:37pm
FF9 filming on Victoria Street, Edinburgh

It's not every day we look out of our shop window and see a souped-up muscle car careering down the street the wrong way, with a musclebound shaven-headed career criminal at the wheel. Every weekend, certainly, but rarely at about noon on a Wednesday.

Princess pumps, hunts monks, thumps chumps, does own stunts in brand-new show

By Web Monster, May 5, 2019 - 7:12pm

The Cadies & Witchery Tours co-founder, Robin Mitchell, is also the creator of the popular children's character Princess Pumpalot (The Farting Princess). Since Princess Pumpalot's inception in 2012, there have been 2 books published and 105 shows performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Ghosts & Gore, and so much more

By Adam Lyal, March 30, 2019 - 3:27pm
Alexander Clapperton (deceased), a Wild Highlander and friends on a Ghosts & Gore Tour

Some time in the wee hours of tonight, an hour of darkness mysteriously disappears into the aether (only to reappear, equally mysteriously, in the autumn). As those who've spent less of the last two centuries in a coffin have explained to me, this isn't unusual: it's that sleep-thieving time of year when the clocks spring forward to British Summer Time. For me and my phantom crew, this means one thing above all: it's time to kick off the 2019 Ghosts & Gore Tour season!

Ghostly guide gains greater glory with gripping gadabout guidebook

By Adam Lyal, December 16, 2018 - 1:56pm
Euan MacInnes with his book, Edinburgh: 10 Walks in the Historic Old Town

Edinburgh author (and long-suffering veteran Witchery Tour guide), Euan MacInnes, has just had his new book published.

Edinburgh: 10 Walks in the Historic Old Town explains why the Old Town of Edinburgh is so important to Scottish history, and includes everything you will need to explore the world-famous Royal Mile. In full colour throughout, the book has detailed maps, 250 photographs and illustrations, hundreds of historical vignettes, in-depth sections on people and places, and, in addition, supplementary sections on both Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.

On This Day... 1st October 1788: Poor Wullie

By Alexander Clapperton, October 1, 2018 - 12:45am
Deacon William Brodie and some of his tools

1st October 1788 - On this day Deacon William Brodie was hanged along with his accomplice George Smith for burglary and housebreaking.

Prior to his arrest, Brodie had been living a double life. By day he was known around the upper-class parts of town as a successful businessman, council member and deacon of the Edinburgh Incorporation of Wrights and Masons. He was a professional carpenter, and did work for some of the richest people in the city.