Sunshine on Leith

I went to Edinburgh today. Mainly for the football (2-1 Hibs, since you ask, and against the Rangers too) but I also managed to take in some culture and have a walk while I was at it.

I left Glasgow early, to avoid too many Rangers fans being on the train through to the capital. Glasgow city centre was pleasantly bustly for that time of day. It was a nice, sunny morning, which thankfully continued to Edinburgh. Often if it is nice in the West, it is horrible in the East or vice versa.

I headed to the Portrait Gallery where I knew there was a small display of photographs of lower league football grounds and scenes, including at least one I have actually been to (Recreation Park in Alloa), as it turns out. My favourite was showing a junior game at, I think, Whitehill Welfare in Midlothian which showed some wee laddies swinging around on the barriers while the game was happening behind them. Another interesting one showed the seats at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh, which are all numbered out of order and a bit old compared to the sleek, plastic seat I plonked my arse on at Easter Road later on.

Also on display in that gallery were some other documentary photographs, with different themes. Some were of Jamaica, in the context of the links between Scotland and slavery. Others were of female farmers in different parts of the country while there was also a display of photographs of participants in the Common Ridings and other festivals in Border towns, like Galashiels, Selkirk, Hawick, Duns and Peebles. I liked them all for different reasons, particularly the farmers with the insights into their lives and the varying landscapes they work in.

Also on was the BP Portrait Award, which I didn’t know was on. It was a cracking show, very varied, though as ever the one I liked most didn’t win (I didn’t take a note of the title – it’s the one facing the back wall with a portrait of an older man with a beard and portraits behind him).

After this unexpected detour, I took a slow walk to Easter Road, taking a mazy meander through the New Town. I had been curious since I was a kid about where Radio Forth was based on Forth Street and on an impulse walked along to see. It’s a surprisingly grand building, quite reminiscent of buildings on Charlotte Square, though all locked up given it was a Sunday.

After the game, I walked back into town along London Road. It was getting close to sunset and the sky was gorgeous. On impulse I headed up Calton Hill, which was invariably busy with tourists enjoying the comprehensive views over our capital. And rightly so.





The sun was low over the city centre so I didn’t take any photos of that. Plus every man and their dug takes photos of that view, fine as it is. As I walked, I had a line of poetry by Hugh MacDiarmid in my head, about Edinburgh being a ‘mad God’s dream’, not quite remembering the rest of the quote. Given the result at Easter Road and the weather over the Port at that particular moment, my thoughts soon turned, as they often do, to Sunshine on Leith, as demonstrated below.


Not bad at all.


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