EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
-MARCH 2011-

ALL PHOTOS © RUUD LEEUW

 

 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
We found accommodation in the part of town called New Town; this should not be confused with 'modern', but was built in stages between 1765 and around 1850, and retains much of the original neo-classical period architecture.

Edinburgh, Scotland
On the left is the New Town district; its most famous street is Princes Street, facing Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town across the geographical depression of the former Nor Loch. The Old and New Towns were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Scott monument is clearly visible.

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Protests, to oust Khadaffi from Libya
While travelling I am always less aware of things happening internationally; but recent events in Tunesia and Egypt evolved in another people's revolt, this time in Libya and seen here is an anti-Khadaffi demonstration.
 

 

 

National Gallery, Edinburgh
We visited the 'Portrait of a Nation' exhibition in the National Gallery. It was amazing to find that such an exhibition is free, while such renowned artists as Raphael, Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci were on display.
I was also pleased to see a Dutch painter on display: Hendrick Avercamp (b.1585 - d. 1634 / Wikipedia)

National Gallery, Edinburgh

National Gallery, Edinburgh

National Gallery, Edinburgh
National Gallery, Edinburgh
>click on above image to a larger one<
While I was aware that the Dutch tradition of 'Sinterklaas' evolved in 'Santa Claus', I wasn't aware of any paintings dedicated to this myth!

National Gallery, Edinburgh
Paintings by Raphael and Botticelli as well as da Vinci were here on display, fantastic!
I particularly liked the paintings by Raphael (b.1483 – d.1520 / Wikipedia), the colours are remarkable, see on the wall on the left.

 

 

 

A heavy: Old Engine Oil
The restaurant of the National Gallery (not to be confused with the Scottish National Portrait Gallery) offered two brands described as a 'heavy' (a beer term I only knew from the Ian Rankin 'Rebus' novels) and one particularly appealed to me "Old Engine Oil". I found it one of the best beers I've ever tasted!
Harviestoun Brewery (www.harviestoun.com) offers the following information on this beer: "Old Engine Oil is strong and dark but wickedly smooth. Chocolate dominates the palate but is nicely balanced by a hoppy bitterness; it is a delicious post-prandial beer with a bittersweet aftertaste."
The rest of the lunch wasn't half bad either!

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
Time to walk the steps into Old Town..

Edinburgh, Scotland
The Writers Museum


This building, belonging to the city of Edinburgh and is crammed with pictures, etchings, busts and memorabilia including bibles, pipes and walking sticks which celebrate the lives of the three writers who all at one time lived in Edinburgh: Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Burns.
Admission is free.
Robert Burns stayed in the house opposite the museum during his first trip to Edinburgh in 1786. (since demolished and rebuilt, now as Deacon Brodie's Tavern).
www.edinburgh-royalmile.com/interest/writers_museum.html

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
Music in the streets!

Edinburgh, Scotland


 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
Small alleys such as these lead to the High Street (a.k.a. The Royal Mile);

'Closes' and 'wynds' are narrow lanes running out south and north off the Royal Mile. This is why, when looking at a map, the Royal Mile resembles a fish bone. Each close has a name, usually associated with the owner of tenements on that close. Some interesting closes on the Royal Mile can be found on this website.

Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Streetartist plus audience on the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Fleshmarket Close, Edinburgh
"Fleshmarket' was the first Ian Rankin title I read and have become addicted to the 'Rebus'-crime novels he has written; the books have also been filmed for tv, excellent drama! Rankin did not set out to be a crime writer. He thought his first novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were mainstream books, more in keeping with the Scottish traditions of Robert Louis Stevenson and even Muriel Spark (the subject of Rankin's uncompleted Ph.D. thesis). www.ianrankin.net and on Wikipedia.

Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels are set mainly in Edinburgh. They are considered major contributions to the Tartan Noir genre. Ten of the novels were adapted as a television series on ITV, starring John Hannah as Rebus in Series 1 & 2, with Ken Stott taking on the role for Series 3-5.

Fleshmarket Close

 

Stag parties roam the Edinburgh streets
No, not a criminal being led away, but rather a stag party on a pub crawl - am sure there is a message there!
 

 

 

Nightwalking in Edinburgh
I took my camera for a walk, trying to recreate some of the 'Rebus' atmosphere; these narrow cobblestone streets are fascinating in this kind of light (I did not use a tripod, hence the grainy images, which I like).

Nightwalking in Edinburgh
This I found a very nice bar, near to our hotel and I've downed a few pints of Guinness here.

Nightwalking in Edinburgh

Nightwalking in Edinburgh

Nightwalking in Edinburgh One always ends up with the castle...

 

 

 

Edinburgh

The Scott Monument, seen here beyond the National Gallery, is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (not to be confused with the National Monument).
The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and has a series of viewing decks reached by a series of narrow spiral staircases giving panoramic views of central Edinburgh and its surroundings.
The highest viewing deck is reached by a total of 287 steps (those who climb the steps can obtain a certificate commemorating the event, I left it for another day..).
The monument is built from Binny sandstone, quarried in nearby Ecclesmachan. This oily stone was known to attract dirt quickly and was probably a deliberate choice to allow the Gothic form to quickly obtain the patina of age. Arguably the soot of Edinburgh's chimneys, in combination with smoke from the nearby railway line and Waverley Station perhaps over-egged the result, and it is now very hard to make out the numerous carved figures.
Bill Bryson has described it as looking like a 'gothic rocket ship'...
[Wikipedia, more..]

 

Next is a visit to Edinburgh Castle..

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear.

Edinburgh Castle

Calodonia's Queen is changed,
Since on her dusky summit ranged,
Within its steepy limits pent,
By bulwark, line, and battlement,
And flanking towers, and laky flood,
Guarded and garrison'd she stood,
Denying entrance or resort,
Save at each tall embattled port;
Above whose arch, suspended, hung,
Portcullis spiked with iron prong.
That long is gone, - but not so long,
Since, early closed, and opening late,
Jealous revolved the studded gate,
Whose task, from eve to morning tide,
A wicket churlishly supplied.
Stern then, and steel-girt was thy brow,
Dunedin! O, how alter'd now,
When safe amid thy mountain court
Thou sitt'st, like empress at her sport,
And liberal, unconfined, and free,
Flinging thy white arms to the sea,
For thy dark cloud, with umber'd lower,
That hung o' er cliff, and lake, and tower,
Thou gleam'st against the western ray
Ten thousand lines of brighter day.

'Edinburgh' -Walter Scott (from Marmion)

Edinburgh Castle has been involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions. From the later 17th century, the castle became a military base, with a large garrison.

View from Edinburgh Castle

Original plans to create a New Town in Edinburgh date back to a general concept considered by King James VII and II in the late 17th century.
The decision to construct a New Town was taken by the city fathers, after overcrowding inside the Old Town city walls reached breaking point and to prevent an exodus of wealthy citizens from the city to London.The Age of Enlightenment had arrived in Edinburgh, and the outdated city fabric did not suit the modern thinkers who lived there.
Lord Provost George Drummond succeeded in extending the boundary of the Royal Burgh to encompass the fields to the north of the Nor Loch, the heavily polluted water body which occupied the valley immediately north of the city. A scheme to drain the Loch was put in to action, although the process was not fully completed until 1817.
Crossing points were built to access the new land; the North Bridge in 1772, and the Earthen Mound, which began as a tip for material excavated during construction of the New Town. The Mound, as it is known today, reached its present proportions in the 1830s.
As the successive stages of the New Town were developed, the rich moved northwards from cramped tenements in narrow closes into grand Georgian homes on wide roads. However, the poor remained in the Old Town.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Edinburgh Castle

The Irish annals record that in 638, after the events related in Y Gododdin, "Etin" was besieged by the Angles under Oswald of Northumbria, and the Gododdin were defeated.
The territory around Edinburgh then became part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, which was itself absorbed by England in the 10th century, when Athelstan of England, according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise, "spoiled the Kingdom of Edinburgh".
The first documentary reference to a castle at Edinburgh is in John of Fordun's account of the death of King Malcolm III.
During the reign of Malcolm III, Dunfermline rather than Edinburgh was the primary royal residence. This began to change though during the reign of his youngest son, King David I (ruled 1124–1153).
King David's largest contribution to the development of Edinburgh as a site of royal power undoubtedly lay in his administrative reforms. However, he is also credited with effecting more tangible changes to the fabric of the castle. Any buildings or defences would probably have been of timber, although two 12th-century stone buildings are known. Of these, St. Margaret's Chapel remains at the summit of the rock.
In 1174, David's successor King William "the Lion" (ruled 1165–1214) was captured by the English at the Battle of Alnwick.
The castle was occupied by the English for twelve years, until 1186, when it was returned to William as the dowry of his English bride, Ermengarde de Beaumont, who had been chosen for him by King Henry.
[Wikipedia. more..]

 

Edinburgh Castle, Great Hall

Edinburgh Castle, Great Hall

From the Great Hall we move down to the prison quarters..

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

 

 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
The colourful shop fronts and the houses on top have a remarkable effect. This is West Bow.

'The photographer as a loafer strolling through the world is himself a mask. The camera covers his face, the gaze through the lens prevents him from being seen. Much like any other mask, the photographer's mask provides protection and security - and, before he could even tell, this mask would become the photographer's true face.'
--Ulf Poschardt, in his Introduction, in Anton Corbijn's photobook "33 STILL LIVES"

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
From West Bow, over Grassmarket, we get to West Port - here I had my eyes set on some secondhand books.
When we arrived here it was a sunday an donly Armchair Books was open of the bookshops here. No matter, I found what I was looking for with the kind help of the shopkeeper and carried off two large plastic bags...
When the shopkeeper caught me staring at the pile of books, with a little trepidation in my eyes, he realised I had probably become a bit over enthusiastic and he was nice enough to cut me a good deal.
Armchair Books; recommended!well done!

Edinburgh, Scotland
No, that is not the shopkeeper, but he could well have played the part!

 

 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
This is the Thistle Street Bar, obviously on a quiet night.
Two nights later, with Barcalona playing Arsenal (3-1), things looked quite a bit different.
 

 

 

Calton Hill, Edinburgh
The hill was used from ancient times as a place of execution...
Most famously Major Weir, the self-confessed Edinburgh warlock, was executed here.
The hill was originally part of the Barony of Calton which was abolished in 1856. King James II of Scotland allowed the residents of Edinburgh to use the North West slope of the hill for 'tilts and tournaments' in 1456.

The lands passed from the church to Lord Balmerino after the Scottish Reformation in 1560. Later in the 16th century, a leper hospital was built. A square was walled off in 1718 and became officially a burial ground, evolving into what is now known as Old Calton Cemetery. The area was elevated to the status of royal burgh in its own right immediately thereafter (1725). It did not officially become amalgamated with the city of Edinburgh until 1859.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Calton Hill, Edinburgh


The Scottish National Monument was intended to be another Parthenon and to commemorate Scottish Soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars. Construction started in 1826 but work was stopped in 1829 when the building was only partially built due to lack of money. It has never been completed.
I found the area quite inspiring, with the various buildings spread out over the hill, and the unobstructed view (fortunately it was a bright, sunny day) in all directions. But besides a photoshoot elsewhere on the hill and my own photography, I later read there are more reasons to visit Calton Hill..
The Calton Hill site has caused controversy in recent years after becoming notorious as a venue for open air sex. Along with the drug users and the underage drinkers, prostitution among males is on the increase. The area is traditionally known as the place to go for homosexual sex in Edinburgh. In one infamous incident a man was arrested for stimulating himself with a traffic cone at the bottom of the hill.
[Wikipedia, more..]

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

 

Tolbooth pub, Cannongate
What a remarkable building: Tolbooth Tavern, on Cannongate.
The burghs of Canongate and Edinburgh were formerly two separate administrative regions. The Tolbooth Tavern was built in 1591 as the primary council building of Canongate. Today, Canongate has been subsumed by the city of Edinburgh, and a pub has been in place in this building since the 1820s.

Tolbooth pub, Cannongate

Tolbooth Kirk
Tolbooth Kirk

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
Going through this gate brought me to the Museum of Edinburgh on Cannongate ('The Royal Mile').
The Museum of Edinburgh is depicting the town's origins, history and legends. Situated in the late 16th-century Huntly House, it is maintained by Edinburgh City Council, admission is free.

Museum of Edinburgh

Museum of Edinburgh

Museum of Edinburgh
Museum of Edinburgh

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland
Cemetery of the Cannongate Kirk

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
Cowgate, what else?!!
 

 

 

Edinburgh, ScotlandPress were standing by, but it took me too long so I left. On tv later that night I learned a mother, Theresa Riggi, had killed her three small children and that was what the press had gathered for.
 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland
With so many tourists in the streets it's nice to see some local schoolkids roaming the streets on a lunchbreak.
 

 

 

Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh
Greyfriars Kirk, this church was founded in 1620.
Website: www.greyfriarskirk.com

Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh

Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh


 

 

Tearoom

 

Captains Bar, Edinburgh
The Captains Bar has music of all sorts (singer/songwriters, folk music) on most nights. When we were there Richie Henderson played. Note the insert in th ephoto above has writer Ian Rankin toating a brew which is undoubtedly a McEwan's heavy, proclaimed to be the favourite beer of Inspector Rebus.
A very nice bar with a very nice landlady! She told us many historic details of the bare and immediate area.

Richie Henderson playing

Captains Bar, Edinburgh

 

Rud1

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland


 

 

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland. The palace stands at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle. Holyrood Palace is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining.
Photography was not allowed here and the stewards were eagle-eyed, so I've only a few photos of this visit.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I, King of Scots in 1128, and Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 15th century. Queen Elizabeth II spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Many rooms were dark and the painting poorly lit; overall I found the paintings often hard to examine.

Palace of Holyroodhouse
Nice to see the famous blue tiles from Delft also in this palace.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse


The ruined Augustinian abbey that is sited in the grounds was founded in 1128 at the order of King David I of Scotland. Holyrood Abbey has been the site of many royal coronations and marriage ceremonies, and a number of Kings of Scots and other Scottish royalty are buried there. The roof of the abbey collapsed in 1768, leaving it as it currently stands.
The abbey was adapted as a chapel for the Order of the Thistle by King James VII in 1687-88, but was subsequently destroyed by a mob. In 1691 the Kirk of the Canongate replaced the abbey as the local parish church, and it is at the Kirk of the Canongate that the Queen today attends services when in residence at Holyrood Palace.
[Wikipedia, more..]

 

Edinburgh
A marked difference in building styles.


 

 

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

 

Museum of Scotland
Another fine museum is the Museum of Scotland. The museum next door, Royal Museum of Scotland, was being renovated but we found very interesting exhibits here which kept us busy most of the last morning of our stay.

Click here to enlarge the image

Famous Scottish writers
Famous Scottish writers: Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns.

Ian Rankin
Another famous writer: Ian Rankin!


 

 

The Royal Oak pub


Couldn't resist a visit to the Royal Oak, Inspector Rebus' favourite pub...
They also have live music here on many evenings; don't forget to pick up a copy of the 'Gig Guide'!

Royal Oak pub, Infirmary Street

Royal Oak pub, Infirmary Street

Royal Oak pub, Infirmary Street
My artist impression on the interior of The Royal Oak pub concludes this photo report.


 

 

Bounty of Books
The final picture was taken upon arrival home: the bounty of books we returned with..

 

 

External links
Edinburgh on Wikipedia
www.viewedinburgh.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Created: 22Mar11 - Updated: 3 Juli, 2011