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St Margaret's Chapel

With a despairing cry she realised the battlements abutted St Margaret's Chapel and wouldn’t allow her to pass. She ran to the chapel door and yanked, but it wouldn’t budge. She turned and threw herself back around the cannon in one last effort to break out onto the wider courtyard, but she could see her pursuers rushing towards her and knew they were closing her escape. Hopelessly she ground to a halt and retreated until her back was pressed against the great gun. Grinning, they spread themselves and approached with spears levelled.

It is perhaps apt that The Wolf Mile, Book One of the Pantheon, culminates beside the oldest building in Edinburgh. The chapel was first constructed in 1130 by King David I and named after his mother, Queen Margaret. Today it perches high within the walls of Edinburgh Castle and the airy views make it a favourite for wedding ceremonies, despite its limited dimensions. 

On the stone courtyard outside stands Mons Meg, one of the largest cannons in the world, along with the 175 kilogram cannonballs it used to launch. 

This spot - with its tiny chapel and huge gun - has a powerful effect on the visitor. You stare at the distant panorama and know instinctively that you stand at the historic heart of Edinburgh. I've never been there at night, but I can imagine the solitude, the cold clear air and the hum of the city below. What a place for a sword fight!

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