Wednesday, 29 August 2018
The reason we were hanging around, killing time on the summit of Blackford Hill, is that we were planning to break walking around all six of Edinburgh's Hills into two days. Four hills the first day and two the second day. ( We were skipping Arthur's Seat as we'd climbed it at Christmas.) Salisbury Crags seen here, above, from Blackford Hill Summit.
I was keen to try out my sleeping bag and Anne had agreed to it as unlike me she had to pay for buses city to city and for local routes. Although OK with it she couldn't really afford accommodation expenses on top of bus fares or doing the hills separately on day trips, money or free time wise which is why it was a one go event.
She'd never slept out before under the stars without a tent to go into and even for myself, a camping veteran, going completely tent-less was a handful of times only novelty.
We had to wait for the last dog walkers and stray locals to depart before we could relax and settle down properly- the hill all to ourselves. There was no sunset to speak of- it was too murky for that so it just got dark, slowly but surely.
My companion had a surprise waiting when darkness fell as we settled down side by side in our sleeping bags. A sizable bottle of wine appeared from her rucksack and two packets of cashew nuts.
"That's very generous." I complimented. " I wasn't expecting that. Perks of being a tour guide."
" No, that's for me- get your own stuff."
Later on she relented and I was allowed some of the swally although she drank most of it. I've never been a wine fan. I then swapped two chicken sandwiches for a packet of nuts as she was starving, and quietly bitching about the outdoor life in general by the time midnight came around. ( Lying on the bare ground was admittedly colder and less comfortable than having a soft sleeping mat under the body and we did wake up sore and less refreshed as a result.) I was just relieved we had no midges, clegs or rain to worry about. Even though it was a short night we didn't get that much sleep... or I didn't, being still sober and a light sleeper usually.
We had a lot of visitors during the night- first an inquisitive fox... then a noisy owl, then a pest of a cat that wouldn't go away and came back several times to sit a few feet from me, silently watching, staring at my unprotected nose, even licking it when I nodded off briefly. A prelude to eating my face I presumed if I didn't put up a fight so I wanted it gone.
Despite being apprehensive beforehand Anne slept away no bother thanks to being half pissed. A wise move. I don't drink much these days and can go for months without alcohol. Changed times.
Incredible to think the fastest elite runners can do the entire seven hills race and the 14 miles 2,200 foot ascent and descent course in under 2 hours. Mind boggling stuff and you can see an interesting short compilation video of that full event here. Never mind, we still enjoyed our taking it easy version. I've always preferred walking to running myself, even at school, and I was in a running team then and fairly good at it for that level but never a serious long distance running fan at any time. Different strokes for different folks.
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Edinburgh's Union Canal at its end point at Edinburgh Quay. A nice spot with watery reflections on the canal, a few restaurants and bars/coffee houses and a line of boats. When I said in the first post Edinburgh hills revisited it was marking the fact that I'd been up them before but usually on separate day trips over the past decade- never in one go. I was more than happy to do them again and the fact that most of the walk would be new and fresh to Anne was more than enough for me.
But throughout the city it's a favourite theme on buildings here.
The main reason Glasgow had its immense period of growth, almost doubling its population every decade for a while and turning it into the UK's second largest city by the early 1900s with over a million toiling souls was it's lucrative trade with America, an influx of workers from the impoverished Scottish Highlands and Ireland plus its strong heavy industry base offering them tough working conditions but a hopefully brighter future.
Being the Scottish capital (Edinburgh that is) with close ties to the EU the eye catching round tower in Strasbourg springs to mind here as a possible inspiration for 'round tower land'. The 60 metre high Louise Weiss building reputedly based on the Tower of Babel is the HQ of the European Parliament in that French city... also the European Court of Human Rights is based there, another round building very similar in style to these, except built slightly earlier than here. Just a thought that occurred while walking along.
Glasgow, during its growth spurt, ended up looking more like New York, until fairly recently The UK city with the greatest number of hi rise apartment buildings. Both cities, New York and Glasgow may have influenced each other with a regular sailing connection established over a long period of time to absorb each others culture and styles.
The Hermitage above.
To be continued.....
Anne's choice of video this time. Sorry, no Bryan Adams. No way.
But as an alternative song I also like.... here's a modern classic- with clever visual imagery. And a great catchy tune. Venus and Mars.
Friday, 17 August 2018
The famous floral clock in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens was our starting point. The city of Edinburgh is built around seven distinctive separate hills, although being a very hilly city in general there's actually a lot more than that. The traditional Seven Hills race however takes around four hours and covers 14 miles but it's usually elite fell runners that take part in that. Not something I've ever been keen on although I was a fairly fast uphill walker in my youth but never felt drawn to multiple hill endurance events like the Skye Ridge in one go, The Three Peaks Race, or similar. I've always preferred taking my time and seeing the different landscapes properly to appreciate them rather than just as a passing exhausted blur.
The gift that keeps on giving.
I like moaning mind you... it makes me happy... and it's still free and not yet privatized. 'Use it while you can' my old mum used to say.... :o) I must come from bolshy stock, online at least, if not in person. Mild mannered I am in grim reality. I never rock the boat.
http://www.qmile.com/ Full info and glamorous photo gallery of rooftop apartments here.
but I'll leave that for part two of our long walk......................... to be continued.
Edinburgh is not the only city/place to be built over seven hills. Here's the full list.