Monday, 9 October 2017

Edinburgh City Hills (Part 1)

Edinburgh is said to be built on seven hills but as the city has expanded, this is becoming rather an out of date statement. For hill bagging purposes, there are 10 major hills listed as either Humps or Tumps plus a few other smaller hills around the City boundaries. I stayed in Edinburgh for 30-odd years and in all that time only climbed two- Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill. It was long past time to visit them all.
 
30 September 2017. Participants- just me. Corstorphine Hill, 162m/531', Hump, OS 66, NT 206 741
 
I got the train through to Edinburgh- delayed due to work on the line, got as far as Linlithgow and had to get a bus from there. Great advert for public transport! Still, I wasn't in any hurry. Corstorphine Hill promised to be the hill with the poorest view so I decided to start my Edinburgh quest with it. I walked from Corstorphine Road so it felt like I was climbing a real hill in height terms. The most interesting feature was Clermiston tower, situated near to a transmitter mast. It is a 20m tall tower built in 1871 by local landowner William McFie to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott. Unfortunately, it is only open to the public occasionally and this was not one of these days so I was unable to get above the thick foliage that covers this hill in order to get a view. There are a couple of points close to the tower which could be the highest point of the hill. My photos:
 






I then got the bus to the east end of Queen Street for another visit to Calton Hill, one of the City landmarks.
 
30 September 2017. Participants- just me. Calton Hill, 101m/331', Tump, OS 66, NT 263 741
 
I got a pleasant surprise- I didn't know that the Nelson Monument was open to the public. I reckoned that a £5 admission fee would be worth it for the panoramic view from the top- it most certainly was- and there was also an interesting exhibition.
 
 
The monument was built in order to express gratitude to Admiral Lord Nelson for his victory in the Battle of Trafalgar and in which many Scots took part. The design is said to represent an upturned telescope. Building work began in 1806 and was completed in in 1816.
 
As well as commemorating Nelson, the monument became a naval signalling station soon after it was completed. In 1852, a time ball was installed at the top of the monument, designed to drop at precisely one o'clock every day thereby sending a signal to ships in the Firth of Forth. In those days it was critical to know the correct time to enable ships to calculate their position. The signal couldn't be seen in bad weather so in 1861 a sound signal was added- the firing of the one o'clock gun from the ramparts of Edinburgh castle. Both these events continue to this day.
 
Here are some of my photos taken from the viewing platform.
 
Looking along Princes Street with the headquarters of the Scottish Government, St Andrews House, the building closest (left) and the Castle beyond....
 
 
Edinburgh Castle with the Pentland hills distant.....
 
 
The south side with the Pentlands distant.....
 
 
Three more of the hills, Dunsapie, Arthur's Seat, and Salisbury Crags.....
 
 
Palace of Holyrood House, Scottish Parliament and the East Lothian coast.....
 
 
The "Greek" folly built to resemble the Parthenon in Athens but never finished, Leith with Hibs football ground prominent and the east Lothian coast with North Berwick Law visible.....
 
 
The Firth of Forth and the bridges.....
 
 
The redevelopment of St James square (a former office of mine is just a pile of rubble) with Corstorphine Hill distant.....
 
 
Back at ground level, the folly.....
 
 
Oh, and the highest point of the hill is a rock beside the foot of the monument.
 
So a good start to the Edinburgh hills. I aim to do the rest of them over the coming months.
 
 

1 comment:

blueskyscotland said...

Great photos Neil. Edinburgh is a fascinating place and new buildings seem to be continually springing up every year.