I was hoping to meet my elder son on my visit to Edinburgh today but he was too busy at work so this picture of him and his partner Marianne enjoying their recent trip to Spain will have to do instead.
Warning: Far too many pictures in this post.
As it was Friday today, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to Edinburgh to visit the world’s greatest baby. We got to Lockerbie in plenty of time to catch the train and as it was a few minutes late, I also had time to take a picture of the surprisingly ornate Lockerbie Town Hall tower looming over the station.
When we got to Edinburgh, we had a little time on our hands as Clare was at the dentist so I took the opportunity to purchase a stout pair of winter trousers and Mrs Tootlepedal topped up on vests for the forthcoming chillier days.
While Mrs Tootlepedal did some further clothes browsing, I walked along Princes Street with camera in hand. It was a beautiful day.
To the south I could see the famous castle…..
It looks more like a jumble of buildings from this angle but it is surrounded by a high wall and is perched on steep crags and would have been hard to attack.
The castle is situated on the end of a volcanic pipe and further down the pipe are a selection of impressive buildings. Right next to the castle is Ramsay Gardens, a set of elegant private houses now considered rather too noisy and too close to a tourist hotspot to be as desirable as they once were.
Further along we find the rather sombre building of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
And further along still we find the imposing headquarters of the Bank of Scotland……
…once a byword for Scottish financial prudence and reliability but now a painful reminder of the descent of banking into chaos and part of an English banking group.
Below these impressive sights, the railway creeps along the bottom of the valley into Waverley Station.
And on the other bank stands Princes Street famous for its views, its shops and now its overpriced but handsome trams.
My eye was caught by an exhibition in the Scottish National Gallery which might appeal to Dropscone.
I was reunited with Mrs Tootlepedal when she finished shopping and we walked along the tram route to St Andrew’s Square.
This was the first part of the New Town to be built but has been much changed since we were students here fifty years ago. the impressive monument is to Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
He was the first Secretary of State for War and became, in 1806, the last person to be impeached in the United Kingdom, for misappropriation of public money. He got off but this might explain why there is no record of his name on the plinth of the column.
We followed the tram lines out of the square and were reminded that the New Town of Edinburgh is built on the top of a long slope down to the shores of the Firth of Forth and you are never far from a glimpse of the sea as you walk along its streets.
We met up with Clare and Matilda for lunch in an Italian restaurant at the top of Leith Walk, where we grown ups had a good meal and Matilda enjoyed a spoon.
It was decided that Matilda might need some warmer clothes now that autumn is coming and so after lunch we passed my two favourite giraffes….
…and headed back to Princes Street for some shopping. I was delegated to wheel Matilda up and down the pavement outside the shop while the experts went in and bought things. She slept peacefully while I sauntered up and down and my sense of entitlement was so great because I was pushing a baby that pedestrians parted before me like the Red Sea as I went along and I didn’t had to deviate from my course once.
It was such a lovely day when the shoppers came out that instead of taking the direct route, we walked back to Matilda’s home by way of Calton Hill. I last visited Calton Hill in March when we came to visit Al and Clare before Matilda was born. Looking back, I see that I took many similar pictures today that I took then but that is not going to stop me putting them in again.
We had to take a gently curving and roundabout way to the top of the hill as we were pushing Matilda along in her personal transport system and this gave us the opportunity to admire a splendid rooftop garden of a hotel below.
Not to mention no less than five smaller gardens on the roof of a neighbouring building.
We finally got to the top of the hill and enjoyed the notable buildings there.
And the views down to the Forth and to Fife on the far shore..
In the distance to our left, we could see one of the arches of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge on the horizon.
I was so enjoying the views that I forgot myself and took an arty shot of the Nelson monument against the sun.
It was a delight to be out on such a warm and sunny day in October but all good things must come to an end (especially when you are pushing a baby about) so we started to descend from the summit. A last look back at the monuments….
….and a sideways glance at Arthur’s Seat….
Wikipedia says: Like the castle rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system of Carboniferous age (approximately 350 million years old), which was eroded by a glacier moving from west to east during the Quaternary (approximately the last two million years), exposing rocky crags to the west and leaving a tail of material swept to the east. This is how the Salisbury Crags formed and became basalt cliffs between Arthur’s Seat and the city centre.
….we dropped down past the rather brutal modern (1939) home of the Scottish Government bureaucracy…
…and the more elegant memorial to Robert Burns….
….and peeped respectfully at the roof of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, nestling at the foot of the hill…
…before arriving home more than ready for a cup of tea….and a biscuit.
Matilda has discovered that if she smiles and sticks her tongue out, she gets a big reaction.
Tourists may have been surprised and even alarmed by the sight of thee grown adults peering into a pram, sticking their tongues out and laughing dementedly. It was great fun though.
Matilda’s father came home from work before we left but as he was a bit poorly, we didn’t have much to say and we were soon on our way back to the station.
We had another retail moment as Mrs Tootlepedal wanted to buy some circular knitting needles (don’t ask me) and we enjoyed this elevated temple portico tacked on to the side of a building which we saw on the way to the shop. Only in Edinburgh….
Our train was a little delayed on the route home by signalling problems but we arrived home safely after a very satisfactory day.
I did try to catch a flying bird of the day before we left in the morning and I just managed to snap a goldfinch before it landed.