I invariably get to Edinburgh far too early for the football. I usually take the scenic route to Easter Road, usually up Leith Walk and then around by Leith Links and Easter Road the street to Easter Road the ground. Urban walking isn’t exactly a problem for me and usually I get to Edinburgh and feel happy to be there, eager just to wander rather than heading straight to the stadium. Hence I go up Leith Walk, looking in the shop windows, always mentally noting the point at Pilrig where I leave Edinburgh and enter the ancient burgh of Leith.
When I was in Edinburgh for the recent derby, I got there even more bloody early than I needed to, partly to avoid the peak ticket restrictions on the train but also to enjoy as much of my day off in the March daylight as I could. I hadn’t been out of the west for a while due to the snow and of course work. I walked as far as Restalrig, paying particular attention to the old water tower on Restalrig Drive I wrote about here recently, then by the ground and up to Leith Links where I sat and read my book for a bit. At that point I decided to head back into the city centre to get some food, walking down Leith Walk the wrong way. On the way to Leith Walk I came across an information board which I hadn’t seen before as normally I walk the other way, which mentioned St. Triduana, Leith Academy which is across the roundabout, and also Hibs and Leith Athletic, the football teams of the parish. On the Walk itself, the different perspective was nice. Heading south the city buildings are on the skyline, St. Giles and the Balmoral Hotel, which is a nice perspective, quite similar to the one from Holyrood Park where the city centre seems to be sitting on a slight straight-edged slant.
A bit further down were some railway arched buildings, quite like those along Cumberland Street in Glasgow, though now this bit of Leith doesn’t have any trains. I also like the neat building down Smith’s Place, which it turns out belongs to Raimes Clark and Co., a pharmaceutical company affiliated to Lindsay and Gilmour, a chain of chemists around the east of Scotland. Every day’s a school day.
The only thing about walking towards Edinburgh was that I didn’t get the right perspective of the mural on the side of one of the shops and also the church at Pilrig which marks the historic boundary between Leith and Edinburgh. I still enjoyed the walk though, a new insight into a familiar street that I could still explore more.