Getting up the other morning, I had the notion to go up Calton Hill in Edinburgh. It was cloudy and a wee bit chilly when I eventually reached the capital and in short order the top of Calton Hill. I stood for a good long while at the crest of the hill that faces towards the Port of Leith, Inchkeith, Fife, Easter Road and East Lothian, letting my eyes wander up and down the familiar streets and across the Forth towards North Berwick Law. I sometimes go to Edinburgh and end up wandering towards Easter Road, walking around the side of the ground to head back to the city centre. This time, I felt like going towards Meadowbank, home now to Edinburgh’s third league team, Edinburgh City. Meadowbank, otherwise known as the Commonwealth Stadium, is quite derelict now, with a decaying grandstand and floodlight pylons that can be seen across the east of the city. I walked along London Road and ended up peeking through the fence to Meadowbank and imagining the few hundred folk who go there every second Saturday.
Lochend Park is not on Edinburgh’s tourist trail. The tourists don’t know what they’re missing. I went to school nearby and one of the paths through the park always felt really long, dark even in the middle of the day, and atmospheric. Everything seems bigger when you’re a kid. This being November, the path to the right of Lochend Loch was much less overgrown since the trees have shed their leaves and the walk took about 2 minutes from beginning to end. The atmosphere, though, was very much there, especially as I stood at the top end of the loch, nearest to Lochend Road and the Loch Inn, where seagulls swooped around me and the place seemed full of birds on the water and flying around.
After that, I walked around the side of Easter Road. The Holy Ground was its usual splendour though I didn’t linger as time was marching on. I walked around towards the South Stand as I had noticed an interesting looking building on Albion Road that I hadn’t seen before. It turns out that it houses an arts charity called Impact Arts and the building is called the Printworks. I don’t know much more than that but it was a nice looking building nonetheless. I turned across the Bothwell Street Bridge back into town, looking at the murals on the bridge, particularly appreciating one that showed the city landscape in a sort of coloured silhouette, if that makes sense.
I walked back to Waverley via Montgomery Street, Gayfield Square, London Street, Dublin Street and St. Andrew’s Square. I hadn’t been along Montgomery Street in years and just fancied going another way rather than London Road, which is a fine street but one I walk along fairly often. Gayfield Square leads into the New Town and I often used to use it as a short cut when wandering in the hereabouts. It is also known for being where Rebus was based in the later novels, and indeed it is where Siobhan Clarke and Malcolm Fox are based in the new novel Rather Be The Devil, which is one of the better novels, much better than some of the last few. Dublin Street leads back up towards Queen Street and it is a fine New Town street, with property prices to match.
I think I wrote here recently about looking forward to catching up with some of my favourite places in Edinburgh over the winter. The list is growing – new additions are the National Museum and Gallery, the Meadows and Arthur’s Seat. I probably won’t be there every week but Edinburgh is an easy day trip to plan and put together, often a spur of the moment kind of place. It will be nice to be there a bit more in the coming weeks and months.