On Rose street I pass the old hotels such as the Kenilworth. From my first Edinburgh festival images I decide to focus on the old and the new. – the way they sit so cleverly side to side in Edinburgh’s historic lanes, closes and stairways. A town built on hills always has its long range views. It is good to venture off the main pavements – where you can see the unexpected. Edinburgh is a good place for walking and cycling – and with the castle, gardens, dips and valleys – often easier to get around than by car. At Biblos restaurant I remember they play an original playlist – how nice.
There is now Blackwell’s where Thins bookshop used to be. Beside the Scott monument is a large Ferris wheel. There are now large maroon and white trams running along the centre of Princes street.
I walked up the steps from the galleries of the mound, which take you quit suddenly from the busy thoroughfare of Princes street to the Edinburgh old town. Instead of heading to George IV bridge I decide to take the old steps past the Lady stairs close and the tiny turret of the Scottish writers museum. There is a plaque which states that when Burns came to live in Edinburgh, shortly after his first book of poems was published, he lived here in the close. It is very near to the castle and these hidden places are very unexpected. Burns must have felt right at the heart of things. It must have felt like a bustling cosmopolitan place to the Ayrshire born lad. Here he became the toast of the Edinburgh intelligencia class.
I walked past the statue of William Pitt on George street - a seagull sat on his head. In 1783 Pitt, at 24, became prime minster. There was a great deal of corrupt government he claimed he’d reform, but on gaining office he put all these thoughts aside. Nothing ever changes....There is also a statue on Hanover street to King George who came to Scotland and even wore a kilt here. I also passed Martyr's monument Edinburgh I read of the radical Thomas Muir - an incredible Scot - who along with others, set up the Convention of the Societies of Friends of the People in 1792 and dared to march for democracy. For which he was sent by the then Scottish Secretary of state to Botany Bay. A true radical thinker.
Each year I travel over to Edinburgh for the August festival. It’s one of the highlights of my year.
Edinburgh is known as Auld Reekie. I grew up here and walked its historic streets without realising all the stories around me. Perhaps I sensed then though along the winding closes; the tall narrow buildings; the elegant Georgian new town; and always the castle high street that led over to Arthur street and the distinctive historic skyline.