Pounding the streets

Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother Andrew on his recent visit to Delft.  He remarks that the weather was perfect for ducks.

e weather was just right for ducksWe had another brilliantly sunny but chilly day today and as we drove over to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh, the snow covered Lake District Hills and Criffel looked wonderful.  The countryside that the train ran through wasn’t so spectacular but it was pretty enough to interrupt my study of the crossword from time to time.

Clyde valleyPocketcam did well to capture the scene through the double glazed window as it whizzed past at 70 mph.

When we got to Edinburgh, the day was so good that I left Mrs Tootlepedal to walk down to Al and Clare’s alone while I took a short tour of the Old Town.

I walked up Fleshmarket Close (seen on the left in the double picture below)…

Old Town closes
The old town is full of these narrow closes.

…until I got to the Royal Mile.  Up the hill is St Giles’ Cathedral and the castle…

Royal Mile…and down the hill, Canongate leads to Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament.

Royal MileI eschewed the Royal Mile and walked down South Bridge until I got to Chambers Street.  Walking along Chambers Street,on one side of the road I passed Guthrie Street, where I first met the future Mrs Tootlepedal in 1962 and on the other the fine Museum building.

museumThen I turned and walked up George IV Bridge back towards the Royal Mile.  Those unfamiliar with Edinburgh may wonder about walking along roads called bridges but all will be made plain.

When I was a student here and feeling peckish, I would assuage my hunger with a mutton pie or a cream doughnut.  An expert once suggested that the most nutritious thing about the 1962 Edinburgh mutton pie was the paper bag that it came in but I thought that they were delicious.  Today I bought a pain au chocolate.  It was quite nice.

Near the top of George IV Bridge,  I turned down the steep hill of Victoria Street and the West Bow…

Victoria Street…until I reached the Grassmarket.

GrassmarketLike the transformation of the mutton pie into pain au chocolate, the Grassmarket has turned from a place of ill repute and homeless hostels into a trendy meeting  and eating spot.

I didn’t meet or eat but turned into the Cowgate, the evil twin of the Canongate. It too leads to Holyrood Palace but by the low road.

It passes under George IV Bridge….George IV Bridge

…and beneath an impressive array of gargoyles…

gargoyles…and then under South Bridge.

South Bridge.  The Cowgate is a dark and narrow road and architects have tried to brighten it up.

CowgateHalf way down this gloomy cavern, the sun shone amazingly brightly on St Patrick’s Church.

St Patrick's churchI must have passed this way many times without the light being quite the same because I have no memory of seeing this church before.  I think that that the stonework has been cleaned.  In my youth everywhere here was the dull grey colour that you can see on the tower.

I arrived at the Scottish Parliament, an expensive and leaky testimony to the vainglory of clients and architect alike….

Scottish parliament…and on the other side of the road, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, an expensive testimony to the excessive number of rooms the titular Queen of Scotland needs when she stays in Edinburgh.

HolyroodhouseI say titular Queen of Scotland because of course everyone knows that the real queen of Scotland can be found a few hundred yards away.

Matilda
Matilda at her Granny’s knee

I didn’t have long to sit down when I got to Matilda’s because Mrs Tootlepedal and I volunteered to take her for a walk to give her parents a few moments of peace.

These few moments turned into an hour as our walk stretched out in the sunny weather.  In the absence of Edinburgh’s usual biting wind, it really was a lovely day for pushing the baby about.  I didn’t take my camera with me as I thought that I had taken enough pictures but I wished that I had had it with me when we came to a small frozen loch in a park and stopped to watch some coots practising their ice skating.  One bird leapt onto the ice from the bank and skidded neatly across the ice until stopped by a tree. It stood up looking very hard done by.

After lunch, we sent some time being entertained by Matilda, sympathising with Clare who is a bit poorly and chatting with Al before leaving to catch the train home.

In all, I walked about 6 miles split into three sections, during the day so quite apart from the views and the pleasure of meeting Matilda, it was a really good day out with my knee.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I played duets in our customary manner of mixing a lot or perfect notes with some that weren’t quite so spot on.

In the absence of a flying bird, a skating coot caught on my phone will have to do.

skating coot

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

44 thoughts on “Pounding the streets

  1. Your photos really convey a sense of the places you photographed, and I thoroughly enjoyed the tour! The history lesson was quite good as well, especially the part about where you met the future Mrs. T.

  2. Amused by the skating coot! Had a grand holiday in Scotland when I was a girl ( I think 1967) and visited Edinburgh a couple of times. I remember it being all dark grey stone like the tower on the church. Most cities were that colour in those days.

  3. Thank you for the colourful tour of Edinburgh. The last time I was there was in the early months of 1974, sent by my employer on a week-long management course. The then greyness was underlined by the fact that the Three-Day Week was on and I well remember studying in groups by candlelight.

  4. I loved the tour of Auld Reekie although with all the buildings being given a new clean face it can hardly be given that name nowadays. The
    Queen of Edinburgh definitely deserves her title.

  5. Thank you for the tour round such an interesting and picturesque part of Edinburgh, place I have never visited as far as I can remember. Matilda looked georgeous as always. Sorry Clare was not feeling well and hope she makes a quick recovery.

  6. What a splendid tour of the city, and great news that you could walk so far with your new knee. The picture of Matilda is a real winner. Commiserations to Clare and hope she feels better very soon.

  7. Fabulous tour of Edinburgh! Truly enjoyed seeing all the interesting views of the city. Your landscape and street photography are both so good! You have a knack for catching the light just right and your commentary during the tour gives us all the perfect sense of “place”. I could almost taste the chocolate au pain. 🙂

    I didn’t care much for the look of the parliament in comparison with the more historical buildings. It looked a bit out of place with its modern, silver shine. I preferred the excessive castle. 🙂

    Matilda is beautiful, as always. Growing by leaps and bounds!

  8. Oh I love that skating coot :D. Such beautiful streets and bridges. A must see place on my bucket list of travel if I ever get to use the passport I got last year. Of course, Matilda is Queen of Scotland 😀

  9. Congratulations on the walking, glad to hear you are doing so well. Matilda and the skating coot trump the architecture although your photos are all great.

  10. I so enjoyed your blog about your recent trip to Edinburgh, especially seeing your darling little granddaughter. I have a great grand daughter about the same age . My husband , Tom loves these walks along all the streets he remembers so well. He does so hope to get back.but health problems keep popping up,all we can do is hope his wish can be fulfilled, in the meantime he looks at all the lovely pictures you post. All the best to you and the missus—–from Gerry`s mother and step-father in Canada

  11. Yet again you make me want to visit Edinburgh. Mind you your Houses of Parliament aren’t a patch on ours. I’d rather have an old building any day.

  12. Thanks very much for the tour of Edinburgh. I always want to say “I’ve been there!” (in 1975). Also, your “florid language” is one of the things I love about this blog.

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