Listening Script Vocabulary
(Section 2: You will hear a tour guide talking to a group of visitors at Edinburgh Castle. First, you will have some time to look at questions 13 to 23 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 13 to 23.)
Good morning everyone. Thank you all for arriving on time for our tour this morning. Welcome to Edinburgh Castle. As you know, this is a 1-hour tour so we will get started straight away with a quick summary of what we are going to look at over the next 60 minutes.
The first step of the tour will be to cross Portcullis Gate. This gate is the entrance to the castle and it is 450 years old. You will see that it opens and closes by moving up and down, not back and forth like typical gates. It’s made of iron and it used to protect the castle from attacks.
After crossing the gate into the main castle area, we’ll take the direct route to the top of Castle Rock, up a huge flight of steps – I think there are around 300. These steps used to be the original entrance to the castle. For those of you who aren’t keen on climbing so many steps, there is a gentler, but longer, alternative route that leads all the way around Castle Hill. If you take this route, please follow the red dots on the path to find your way to the top of Castle Rock.
Now, once we get to the top of Castle Rock, you will see the Visitor Centre. This is our meeting point so if anybody gets lost, please head back there. You can see the Visitor Centre marked on your maps with a big yellow dot.
Also at the top of Castle Rock, you will be able to see a huge cannon, or gun, called Mons Meg. The canon was given to King James II in 1457 and could fire gunstones weighing 150 kg for up to 3.2km. That’s spectacular! You will also see magnificent views north across the city, all the way to the sea. On a clear day like today, we should be able to see the famous bridges, many of Edinburgh’s historic sights, and, of course, mountains, including Ben Lomond.
After admiring the view, we will visit the Crown Room to see the oldest jewels in the British Isles. These jewels are extremely precious and are kept in a dark room to protect them from the light. You can also see the iconic Stone of Destiny, which was used to crown Kings and Queens for many centuries. If you are short of time at this point, I recommend you skip this exhibition and go straight to the Clock Tower door into the Great Hall.
The impressive Great Hall was completed in 1511 and was used by King James IV for huge dinners and parties. You can still see the original roof – don’t forget to look up to see the carvings. There is also a remarkable collection of weapons and armour hanging on the walls. It’s well worth spending a few extra minutes looking at the displays.
We’ll end the tour at the One O’clock Gun Exhibition. As you may already know, a gun is fired every day from the top of the castle at 1pm, except on Sundays. This gun has been fired since 1861 as a time signal to ships out at sea. It can be quite a shock if you’re not expecting it – it is very loud – so do try to remember that it will be happening at 1pm on the dot.
Now, we’re coming to the Members’ Lounge so I’ll just tell you a little but about the prices on offer. If you join the castle as a member, it costs £40 a year or £99 for a family with up to three children. It’s quite good value because members get free hot drinks, which is rather important when the weather is as cold as it is in Scotland!
Now, let’s start our tour. Just follow me …