Edinburgh trip report

Ah. Now this is a bit late, isn’t it? Even by the relaxed standards of Losing it[1], five weeks is a bit of a long time between a trip and me posting the report. The problem is that I started playing with Photoshop, realised that I didn’t really know what I was doing with it, and decided to get a book on it. And so, I’ve been spending more time learning how to fiddle around with my pictures than actually fiddling with them. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something or other, possibly even something quite profound, but as we don’t do profundity on this site, I’ll have to let it go.

Anyway, I’ve uploaded a selection of the pictures, which you can see at the end of this post. More will follow when I get a little more organised[1]. Full descriptions will be attached to the images, err, later. In the meantime, enjoy the pretty pictures.

Now for the verbal report of my trip. Readers with better memories than me will recall that in the first week of May, I decided to take a day trip to Edinburgh, on the quite sound grounds that I hadn’t been there for quite a few years, and I’d only ever had a couple of free hours at a time there before. Now the obvious way to get there from here is by train from Newcastle. Easy, I thought. Those nice GNER people who usually take me to London can take me there. So I had a look on the relevant website, and I was surprised to find that the cheapest way to have a day in Edinburgh was not to buy a return ticket, but to buy two restricted single tickets. These were “travel on named train only” tickets, but as the cost was about £20 compared to £40 for the cheapest return, I decided to go for it, even though it involved using Virgin Trains.

Got the train there without any problems. First stop was Marks and Spencer to buy a sarnie and a bottle of water. Then I walked the short distance from Waverly Station to Thunderbird 3 the Scott Monument. Like the Albert Memorial in London, it’s a delightful example of totally bonkers Victoriana. It’s actually possible to climb stairs inside the monument. Sadly, my knees suggested that if I tried to climb up there, they’d have a word or two to say to me, and that they’d make sure I wouldn’t enjoy it at all. I decided to go along with their way of thinking. I’d like to get up there one day, though – apparently the view is spectacular.

After that, I went up to the old town. There are a lot of steep hilly bits in Edinburgh, and I had to go up one to get there. I went to the Camera Obscura, which was fun. If you’ve never seen one of these, it’s worth seeking one out. Basically, there’s a perisocpe on top of the building, which projects an image onto a table in a darkened room. As it was a bright sunny day, this was working very well, and the view was quite impressive. The presenter obviously knew her material very well, and put on a good show. In the same building, there is a rooftop observation gallery with telescopes – a great view over the city. Not only that, but there’s an excellent exhibition of holograms, optical illusions and old photographs. Worth a visit, but go on a sunny day for the best effect.

A short distance away is Edinburgh Castle. I decided against the tour, as I only had one day, and I suspect it’s worth more hours than I had available. And it was expensive. So I walked down the Royal Mile – a sequence of mostly cobbled streets leading from the Castle to Holyrood House. I spotted some interesting buildings and a Tardis on the way. At the lower end is the new Scottish Parliament building. This was mind-bogglingly expensive, and is, err, umm, unusual. I think I’d have to see it a few more times, and maybe leave it to settle for five or ten years before deciding if I like it or not. As with the Castle, I decided against going into Holyrood House. Maybe next time…

From there, I took a walk up Calton Hill. This is a big hill that dominates the skyline seen from Princes Street. At the top is the National Monument and the Nelson Monument – another tower with lots of stairs that my knees told me to forget about. But the main attraction is the incredible view. I could see clear across the Firth of Forth, and the famous railway bridge was easy to spot. I took some pictures of the view, and they’ll appear in the gallery when I’ve sorted them out. It started to get a bit windy while I was up there, so I walked back down to Princes Street.

Next stop was the National Gallery of Scotland, where after an espresso and a croissant (and a quite necessary sit down), I enjoyed the pictures.

The last part of the day was a wander down Princes Street to look at the tourist tat shops, then a wander around a few more streets before returning to Waverly for my train home.

I had a good day in Edinburgh, and I’m sure I’ll be going back before too long.

[1] So don’t hold your breath…

9 thoughts on “Edinburgh trip report

  1. Twisty

    Nice report. Sounds like the walkabout was the equivalent of at least one castle climb, which I’m sorry to hear you missed. I’ve never been to Scotland, but the scenery is amazing…here are some pics from a friend of mine’s blog: link

  2. Les Post author

    The general walking is fine, but stairs can be a problem. Well, walking up Calton Hill hurt a bit, but I came down the less steep way, which was easier. Nice pics on your friend’s site, but what on earth is a “Passel”?

  3. Les Post author

    Oh yes, and I fixed those links for you. For future reference, if you’re just putting in a URL, you should be able to paste it as text, and WordPress will make it do the linky thing. Though URLs with spaces in (gah! abominations!) might break it. The link button works in one of two ways. If you highlight the text you want to link, then click it, you’ll get a box asking you for the URL. Enter it, and click OK, and you’ll get a proper link. If you click it first, you fill in the URL, click OK, and then type the text you want to be in the link. Finally, click the link button again (you’ll see it’s changed to /link).

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