Edinburgh and Ben Lawers, Day One

It’s been a while since the crew have all got together – not since the 100km walk through the Mournes last September. So we thought it was time for a reunion, and met up in Edinburgh last weekend for a look around the city and a bit of a walk in the highlands the next day.

All day Saturday, the fog was out in force. Aldergrove airport was slightly foggy, but by the time we reached Edinburgh visibility no longer existed. We passed the famous Forth Bridge, but we just had to take it on trust that it was really where it ought to be. Edinburgh Castle was almost impossible to see, as well.

Edinburgh Castle in fog

What do you call that, then? Scotch mist?

Efficient as ever, Ben arranged some kind of treasure hunt around the city, and we set off around town gathering odd facts about Walter Scott, Greyfriars Bobby and Livingstone (I presume).

Livingstone statue in Edinburgh

Doctor LivingstoneIPresume.

So we meandered our way around, and decided to take a look into the Walter Scott memorial tower. It’s an interesting building. The spiral staircase inside it is conical, and by the time you get to the top level you find yourself turning sideways – it gets to be about one foot wide at the top. This all makes it very interesting when you have to pass someone on the stairs!

It’s do-able, though, with the help of all the disembodied voices calling “Anywan comin’ doon?” before they start up the next flight of stairs. There’s a little mini-museum inside, and some interesting stained glass and stonework around the building.

Carvings on the Walter Scott monument, Edinburgh

Stonework on the Scott monument.

Stained glass inside Scott memorial, Edinburgh

Scotland stained glass window in the Scott memorial. There's also one for Edinburgh and one for St Giles.

After we came down the tower and went to meet Mini, who was zipping in on the train from Dundee to meet us. So we went to the station, and waited for her train. And waited, and waited, and waited…only to realise that we were standing about five metres away from her all along. We took a walk through the gardens beside the castle,which apparently used to be a massive cess-pit for all the waste coming out of the old city of Edinburgh. No wonder it has such nice fertile soil!

Fountain below Edinburgh Castle

Fountain below Edinburgh Castle. As one of our party pointed out, "If *she* gets on top of the fountain and shows her bare bum, it's 'Art'. If *I* do it, I'd get arrested!"

 

One of Edinburgh's many many war memorials

Never take pedants to a war memorial - they'll count all the legs in the bas relief to make sure it's correct! 😉

As we were visitors to Scotland, Mini decided our visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to some “tartan tat shops” (the technical name for such establishments). It was fascinating to see lace-up tartan corsets! But Black Watch tartan, ermmm, isn’t quite my colour, so I came home empty handed I’m afraid.

The prospects for the next day’s walk were now looking uncertain. My boots had suddenly split the sole, and I had to buy a new pair. It’s said that modern boots shouldn’t need to be broken in, but I was still reluctant to head into the mountains in a pair of boots straight off the shelf. And the fog was getting so thick you would have needed to carve your way through it with a chisel.

Would we make it? The wee gods of mountains were keeping us guessing…

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2 Responses to Edinburgh and Ben Lawers, Day One

  1. beatingthebounds says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere btw. I’ve added a link to my Blogroll (but that won’t bring the traffic rolling in I’m afraid) and a subscription to Google Reader. Happy walking and writing!

  2. Cheers!
    To be honest, I’m not too bothered about gaining a mass following. I started it mainly as a place to write up walk reports and put a few pics. All the interconnectedness of the blogosphere is a nice bonus, of course.
    Need to get out on more walks to get more blog fodder!

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