City of Edinburgh Tours operates historical and ghost tours from the High Street in Edinburgh.
In partnership with Edinburgh Museums & Galleries, City of Edinburgh Tours is holding an Edinburgh-wide schools story competition – with prizes from P4 to S6.
The subject, broadly, must be a ghost story or an historical story set in Edinburgh. It can be historically accurate or complete fiction.
What the judges are looking for is a good story, well told - simple as that.
It could be a family story that’s been handed down over the generations, or a story that takes its inspiration from elsewhere.
Take inspiration from the Royal Mile Museums,
Great sources of inspiration are the museums on the Royal Mile.
For example, pick an object in the Writers’ Museum - say Robert Louis Stevenson’s pipe. That pipe takes you back to the 19th century and Stevenson’s own imagination: from pirates and treasure islands to Jekyll and Hyde.
Or, in The Museum of Childhood, there are old dolls and toys which tell the very real lives of ordinary young people from long ago. What must it have been like living in Edinburgh back then?
Or what was it like to be in jail in the 17th century?
Or what was it like to be accused of being a witch by the witch hunters of James VI?
You can visit Edinburgh Museums & Galleries Royal Mile venues, to find out more information visit www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk The venues are:
The People's Story Museum The Writers' Museum
The story does not have to be scary. It doesn’t even need to be a ghost story. Or if it is, don’t assume that ghosts need to be bad. Perhaps, for example, a child who died young centuries ago appears to a child today to give the gift of happiness?
From the People’s Story Museum pupils could, for example, explore the lives of builders or stone masons – people who long ago built schools that are still being used today.
So, it could just be about finding a fascinating link from the past to tell a historical or contemporary story.
Davy is head guide with City of Edinburgh Tours. He knows Edinburgh’s history (scary or otherwise!) backwards. Here are some of his ideas:
Ghostly Piper: In the 18th century a tunnel was discovered under Edinburgh Castle. A piper was sent down to follow the tunnel, while the locals followed him above ground. When he reached the Tron Kirk the pipes ceased and he was never seen again. To this day on a quiet night it is said the ghostly pipes can be heard underground!
Q: Why was the piper sent down alone? What happened to the piper? Is the tunnel still there? Have you heard the ghostly pipes?
Castle headless drummer boy: It is said when disaster is about to hit Edinburgh, a young headless drummer boy appears on the castle ramparts and plays the drums in warning. The first recorded sighting of the boy was in 1650. Two days later Cromwell invaded. The last time the boy was seen was in 1916. Two days later Edinburgh was bombed by Zeppelins!
Q: Who was the headless drummer boy? Is he the young Earl of Douglas who was beheaded as a child in the castle in 1440. When will he reappear?
The ghostly girl of St Mary's Street: A girl aged about 12 years old often appears at the top of St Mary’s Street. The girl is dressed in rags and always seems to be in distress. When people approach her to offer help, she simply vanishes! This ghost is seen on a regular basis.
Q: Who is the girl? Why is she so distressed? Why does she vanish when offered help?
How to Enter
The word count should not be exceeded: P4 to P5 250 words, P6 to P7 300 words, S1 to S3 500 words, and S4 to S6 750 words.
Entries should be hard copy, either printed or handwritten and title of story clearly displayed on entry.
One entry only per pupil.
Drawings can be included, but will not form part of the judging process.
No names, first or last, should appear on the entry itself.
Instead, an entry form must be completed by the teacher for each entry and include the pupil’s name, title of their story and school details.
We regret that printed entries cannot be returned, but all handwritten entries will be posted back to the schools after the judging process is complete if you request this clearly on the form.
No responsibility can be taken for the loss or damage to any entry.
We will accept the five best stories as chosen by each school. The shortlisted stories will then be judged by a panel of judges from City of Edinburgh Tours and the City of Edinburgh Council.