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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most prominent monuments in Scotland.

It stands on Castle Rock and is the country’s most visited tourist attraction.

The castle is located in the Old Town of Edinburgh. It was built on a large volcanic rock, which gives it a brilliant defensive location as the walls are either sheer cliffs or steep hills. 

The history of Castle Rock began in the Iron Age, 2nd century AD, where there was a settlement, although the nature of this is not known.

The royal castle can be dated back to the 12th century during the reign of David I. It continued to be a royal residence up until 1633 when the royal presence began to decline and by the 17th century, it was mostly used for military purposes.

As of the 19th century, it was considered as an important site for Scotland’s national heritage and so began restoration projects which have lasted over a century. 

As it was one of the most important fortresses in Scotland, the castle was involved in many conflicts ranging from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 1300s to the Jacobite Rising in 1745.

Throughout the 1 thousand-year history of Edinburgh Castle it was besieged 26 times, making it one of the most attacked places in the world.

Every day the One O’Clock Gun is fired at exactly 1 pm, excluding Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

This tradition, the “Time Gun” was established in 1861 as they needed a time signal for ships in Leith and the Firth of Forth harbours. It is no longer needed for the purpose of timekeeping, but the ceremony has become a tourist attraction.  

People believe the ancient castle may be haunted, one of the most infamous ghost stories is the bagpiper.

There are underground tunnels below the castle and the Royal Mile; the cobblestone street which leads to its gates. They sent a bagpiper to explore the tunnels, playing his loud instrument so he could be tracked.

Halfway down the Royal Mile, the music stopped and though people searched for him, he was never found. To this day, some visitors to the castle report the faint sound of bagpipe music from the lost bagpiper.

The castle to this day has a military presence but is now mostly a historic monument that is visited by millions of tourists every year.


The text was written in December 2019.
Short bio of the volunteer:

Lorna Murphy is an Erasmus+ volunteer from Scotland, UK, graduated in tourism management and loves travelling.



Erasmus+ is a program of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the program acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.