Welcome to another Virtual Loose Ends, connections when we can’t travel. We left off at Neptune’s Staircase by the Caledonian Canal.
The Kingdom of Neptune is the sea. To sail the sea requires knowing about the weather, for which a barometer might be useful, such as the one at the Old Harbour in Dunbar, dedicated ‘to the fishermen of Dunbar to whose perilous industry the burgh owes so muh for its prosperity’. It was put there in 1856 and stands at the head of the harbour.
Weather instruments also sit at North Berwick harbour. I was last at North Berwick in March and walked to the edge of the harbour to look out to the islands of the Forth, Fidra, Craigleith and the Lamb as well as the Bass Rock. It was bright but cold.
Anstruther is in the East Neuk of Fife, a place known for picturesque villages and fishing. It is also right across the Forth from North Berwick, about 11 miles to be precise though by road it is much longer. What I would give for a fish supper sitting on a bench at Anstruther Harbour, looking back over the Forth.
Thomas Chalmers was one of the instigators of the Disruption, a schism in the Church of Scotland which begat the Free Church of Scotland in 1843. Ministers walked from the Assembly Hall on the Mound in Edinburgh to Tanfield and formed their own church. Chalmers was born in Anstruther and connects quite dandily to the Assembly Hall. The Assembly Hall is one of the more prominent Edinburgh buildings, also housing New College, the Divinity college of Edinburgh University. From 1999 to 2004 it was the meeting place of the nascent Scottish Parliament prior to its move down the hill to Holyrood.
Also close to the Assembly Hall is Princes Street Gardens. The Gardens are regularly used for big events, like the Hogmanay party and concerts during the Festival. I personally find walking through the Gardens a much more pleasant experience than navigating Princes Street.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote extensively about Edinburgh, the city of his birth. A grove of trees bears his name in Princes Street Gardens. A statue of him stands in Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, a dapper figure set in the splendour of Kelvingrove. It’s particularly fine.
Mary Barbour was an activist who led a rent strike in Govan in 1915. A statue of her leading her people stands at Govan Cross, by the Subway station. It is a fitting tribute to her and a long-overdue one at that. I can’t think of any other connections between Mary Barbour and Stevenson except that both are statues in Glasgow.
That’s another Virtual Loose Ends. We will continue a week on Wednesday just across the Clyde. The blog goes on hiatus until then. Until then, keep safe. Cheers just now.