Saturday, 20 May 2017
Edinburgh Castle: easy but very scenic Balcony Trail around the city.
Edinburgh must be one of the most photo friendly cities on the planet and you could easily take a 1000 holiday snaps here no problem without repeating the views. I was actually through here by bus to do another walk but in the late afternoon I still had time to squeeze in this superb balcony trail around the castle, directly under the steep walls.
For those who don't know the story of how a brown bear ended up as a corporal in the Polish Army fighting against Italian and German troops then moved to Edinburgh in retirement here's the short version.
snakes would have trouble squeezing past each other, let alone a six footer with a rucksack descending and twenty Japanese students determinedly coming up. No queues usually- very cheap admission entry and great fun.
Unfortunately most of the local accents I heard came from people sitting hunched up on the pavements begging for money- some very young- so obviously it's a year round thing here and in Glasgow, not just for Christmas/ New Year,where one homeless person dies every week.
In the media recently though it was mentioned it was people's generosity that encouraged them into the city districts in the first place as many can earn good money every day with which to buy drink or drugs. You don't notice them as much in Edinburgh on a nice sunny day because of all the tourists milling everywhere but in less busy Glasgow City Centre they are very visible and must be off-putting to the tourist industry as they do number in the hundreds in both city centres. Like everything else in 2017 it's a complicated picture as presumably folk have different reasons for ending up homeless and on the street and everybody usually has a strong opinion on the matter and what's causing it. Why does nearly every district, village and town in the UK have a food bank now though?- something unheard of 15 years ago. Just a trend or a need?- as the numbers using them seemed to have doubled or tripled year on year since 2008. Even affluent Milngavie, a well heeled suburb near Glasgow, has a food bank now, something that surprised me on a recent bike ride there although I suppose losing your job or being stuck on low wages with a large mortgage to pay and a family to support is a burden no matter where you live. Fashion trend or necessity? Why should they even exist I wonder, if, as the government says, we are almost at full employment in the UK with more people than ever in work and the 5th richest economy in the world- which ironically jumped from 7th up two places higher during a so called recession. Something doesn't add up somewhere. Like seven years of brutal austerity measures and service cuts yet the national debt is twice what it was before... so we are probably in for another seven years of that hardship on the bottom rungs, even though it's very obvious that plan isn't working to benefit the majority- just the top five percent- as usual.