So what madness had led me to be standing out the front of the Edinburgh Dungeon on the Saturday before Christmas? Well it wasn't exactly an environment for Christmas cheer, but I had made a promise to myself at New Year's last year that in 2014 I was going to do something completely outside of my comfort zone. Honestly, New Year's is the time that I make ridiculous plans and then regret them for the rest of the year. I had managed to avoid the resolution all year, but now that people are thinking about the resolutions they made, it came up in conversation and there I was agreeing that I needed to it. The one place in Edinburgh that scares the bee-jeezus out of me is the Edinburgh Dungeon, so naturally that is where my New Year challenge had to be.
Thankfully my super brave friend Susan agreed to come with me (hey, I never said I would do it alone) and so down we ventured into darkness and impending doom. We waited in a dark room with 6 other nervous looking tourists, not really making eye contact with each other but probably all thinking "I hope they pick on you, not me". Soon we were ushered into a dim courtroom where a judge noted our crimes of witchcraft, impersonating Santa (the tour had a slight Christmas theme), and crimes against fashion (not me thankfully), before we were shoved on our merry way into the depths of the Dungeon.
The journey is a labyrinth of passage ways, dark rooms and plenty of scary props. More than once I jumped at my own reflection or a fake dummy, and found myself looking over my shoulder in case anything jumped out from behind me. We made it through a torture chamber unscathed, only to be thrown onto a boat ride delivering us to a family of cannibals. Like the brave soul I am, I cowered in the corner of the boat with my jacket pulled up over the top of my head, my eyes closed and ears covered- Hear no evil and see no evil style. Sawny Bean the cannibal was pretty scary, especially when he told me I had lovely big eyes that he would like to suck out of my head and eat (what a charming pick up line...). We were mercifully rescued from the cannibals, and then led into the path of William Wallace and the freedom fighters, and Burke and Hare and a particularly scary grave yard.
My favourite part of the tour was 'The Street of Sorrows' and the plague victims of Edinburgh. The actress was a particularly likable character and scored the most laughs of the tour (hey it's not all doom and gloom down there!). The tour ended with the stomach churning drop ride and a maze of mirrors that played tricks on the mind. All in all, I was rather impressed with myself when I made it out of there alive, having only screamed a few times. I laughed as much as I screamed on the tour, and never at any point felt so terrified that I wish I hadn't gone. In fact, I was wondering why I hadn't done it before! It was the most I'd laughed in months, and I felt super proud of myself for the rest of the day. I recommend taking a friend with you (for moral support and extra laughs) and going down there to experience it for yourself.