Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dr Neil's Secret Garden. Duddingston Loch. Untamed Edinburgh. Help!

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
I've saved the best for last in this final post on the charms of Edinburgh. I wanted an honest and real kaleidoscope of the images, evolving thoughts and feelings during my long, action packed, but not unduly hard walking day tour of Edinburgh. The capital is a great place for walking or cycling with the River Almond, The Water of Leith, The Union Canal, Arthur's Seat, Braid Hills, Corstorphine Hill and Blackford Hill all within the city limits yet laced with a network of walking and cycling tracks with many more dedicated paths and lanes connecting through the busy urban areas to the coastal promenade. The view above though is the one that excited me the most. An enchanting and seductive unknown forest captured with the mint fresh tang of bright green leaves in various hues. My sweet Persephone reborn:the eternal debutant daughter of Spring twirling in all her glory once again. More than 40 shades of green on offer here yet grey is where the masses seem to flock and heap attention on today. My gain and their loss. A glance at the map revealed it to be Duddingston golf course which explains why I've never visited this unknown and compelling area before now. Never mind....we will meet very soon for the rotunda dance under bright starlight.
This area, facing south east, away from old Edinburgh, is a green and sylvan delight. Duddingston, where I was parked, could just be glimpsed at the bottom of the meadow, then Greendyke and Niddrie, where a giant called Gulliver used to reside, then the squat bulk of Craigmillar Castle, Liberton and  Gracemount fading into distant hills. A grand view, almost lycanthrope coated, obscured by thick forest of the type that usually exists in fairy tales.
Posted this particular link above because it is very hard to find any decent pictures of the popular public art sculpture which used to exist in the Craigmillar/Niddrie area. It was remarkable and unique both in size and in imagination yet despite being opened by Billy Connolly was mainly ignored by many in the art world and seems to have been forgotten, except by the locals. Jim Knowles appears to have been one of the few to capture it properly for posterity with his excellent kite photography so I hope he doesn't mind me linking to his site. If he does I'll remove it right away.  I only found out about this remarkable sculpture around five years ago as it was not widely publicized during it's lifetime as far as I know, certainly not in Glasgow as I don't remember it but maybe because it was by a former convict with a violent history and was situated in a deprived area as it was then before redevelopment. To me it's the concept that's important here years later, not the man behind it and I've often scratched my head at modern art works consisting of a few lines and a squiggle, yet supposedly worth millions. As soon as I saw this though my thought's were "Wow! Wish I'd visited it before it was removed." Yes, it is simplistic, straightforward, and "naive" but that's what makes it so special. A thing of wonder.

My next port of call was another Edinburgh secret, but one that tourists will be more interested in. As my car was close by I had a short tour of Duddingston village, which is very pretty with a lot of olde world charm and met a friendly local women who led me into Dr Neil's Garden which adjoins the loch's nature reserve. The garden is a real labour of love and packs a lot into its few acres on the north east side of Duddingston Loch. It was so extraordinary I wasn't even going to post it on here, given the unnecessary litter in a previous post, which was still uppermost on my mind but I relented when I noticed a message on exit which asked for donations and willing friends of the area and seemed to want some publicity as the garden is losing its grant from the NTS and maybe even its gardener.
Every little helps and this is a remarkable place. Like a setting from a children's fantasy film.
Loads of curving paths weave down a gentle slope to the edge of Duddingston Loch, and flowers, colourful shrubs, and exotic trees are everywhere.
A real delight.
Duddingston Loch from the garden.
Flower growing against a sun drenched stone wall in another nearby public area, which is sign posted.
Like Narnia, a mysterious alcove door in a hedge, not quite a wardrobe, reveals yet another display of flowers and a different aspect.
Many of them unusual.
Daisy carpet.
A path and yellow poppies above a forget-me-not border.  Link to gallery and info here.
I was further delighted on this amazing walk to find even this remarkable garden was not the highlight of my day. Next door, and maybe cared for by the garden staff or the locals in Duddingston, a brilliant wildlife scenario was taking place as the sun was going down and Duddingston loch revealed its true colours.
Who needs to go abroad with views and scenery like this right here in Scotland.
Geese herder in action on the path. I've heard of a pelican crossing but here you have to stop for Canada geese to walk past in line. Maybe I was just lucky here at this time. I usually am with wildlife though and the Rottweiler and the Alsatian mentioned in the previous post are now firm dating friends with yours truly.... but no pups are planned yet.
Animals of all sorts appeared.
Another drinker moth caterpillar eating grass.
A large and beautifully coloured beetle landed on my boot. At this point... out of the corner of my eye... I noticed a very strange sight. It was still broad daylight yet an amorous couple were having sex on the grass right in front of me. I was well aware Edinburgh was and still is a cosmopolitan and broadminded city as even in my teens Edinburgh had pole dancers and naked strippers in bars long before Glasgow entertained such frivolous and outlandish ideas. This was beyond the pale though. I was, to say the least stunned. Nay, outraged! "Black affronted" as Maw Broon would say. I froze on the spot- rooted to the ground like an embarrassed limpet! They didn't seem bothered by me being there at all, In fact, to make matters worse they were actually being watched by several others in the bushes and it wasn't even dark yet.
Which to photograph first? I concentrated my attention on the beetle as it was unfolding its wings to fly away and I didn't blame it with such shameless shenanigans going on.
Like a gull wing car or chitty chitty bang bang taking off it exploded upwards in a noisy clatter.
I couldn't believe all this activity was going on so close to Edinburgh's busy main attractions.
What would the Scottish Parliament make of couples having sex outdoors in broad daylight in a respectable suburb? Is it now a tourist attraction you can drive past in an open topped bus? Would the Queen approve?
Glasgow may have its problems but this was taking the "bohemian lifestyle" way too far.
Even the new buildings in the capital had an unnatural unwholesome curvyness to them that hinted at lustful carnal thoughts. As I watched astonished yet more couples appeared from nowhere and started getting jiggy with an audience watching every move and thrust. Was this how Edinburgh behaved of an evening? I blame that notorious festival and ever growing fringe every year for this drop in standards of decency. As a right thinking Glaswegian I was disgusted by this outrageous display in the racy suburbs and couldn't wait to get back to my own dear city where moral values are still cherished highly.
 I document these images only to show the viewers what really goes on in Edinburgh as the shadows... and other things... lengthen. Never in my puff have I witnessed such blatant debauchery. "Help ma Boab!" as Oor Wullie would say.

The courtship.
Out in the open.
The unconcerned onlookers.
Round two... or three... then 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10 with multiple partners.
Sedate Glasgow has never looked so tame, appealing and peaceful and I couldn't leave Edinburgh fast enough. Must be because it's traditionally had ties to liberal Amsterdam and the Low Countries via it's ports facing Europe. Shocking stuff for a shy boy like me.
The End.



Linda W. said...

Beautiful gardens! But oh the "wild life!" :)

andamento said...

Rabbits! You had me going right till the end!

blueskyscotland said...

Evening Anne,
If you get a rabbit hutch you will never need to explain the birds and bees. Totally shameless they are.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
I seem to be stumbling over a few animals and insects recently engaged in "activities" but it's not deliberate... honest. Springtime revealed in all its glory.

Carol said...

Naughty bunnies! Tis the time for that kind of thing though - the little piglets on my walk home are always at it - or at least the males are trying to be and the poor little females are sitting firmly down on their backsides to stop them! But I knew you were talking about wildlife ;-)

Your quote:
"More than 40 shades of green on offer here yet grey is where the masses seem to flock and heap attention on today"
is so true unfortunately and I can't understand it either. I decided a while back that, the reason I hate winter so much is, apart from it being horrible, damp and cold, there's hardly any green anywhere and everything is colourless.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Bollocks :o) you're always going up high to find the snow and the gloomiest conditions. The good news is it's meant to snow again heavily in the Scottish mountains soon so we could have a winter blanket on the highest summits until July :o) Been a very cold spring but I've stayed in the suntraps. If I lived in a baking hot desert I'd probably be a caver and underground river bagger... I'm contrary that way. It's not a challenge to find rain in Scotland but it is to clock up six years without a rainy day outdoors :o)