Depths of the Cowgate
And so Real Edinburgh delves into the Cowgate. Running from the Grassmarket to St Mary’s Street it’s part of the old town. During the festival it’s a hive of activity with several venues down here but at other times it’s a pisshead’s delight. With several pubs and bars along it’s length the Cowgate more closely resembles a zoo at night. It’s that bad with “over refreshed” individuals that cars can’t drive along here after 10pm at night to protect the merry revellers from gaining tyre marks up their designer labels.
Apart from the booze soaked locals the Cowgate also is a regular haunt of the lower ebbs of society. With several hostels in the area it’s not unusual to see gaggles of junkies and hardcore alcoholics along here. Now, I’m not suggesting the 3 fine gents below fall into that category as they are obviously athletes with all that sportwear. I’m so going to get my face punched in taking these kind of shots…
Just off the Cowgate is Guthrie Street. Now, it doesn’t look particularly interesting but it’s a street that most Edinburgh residents over the age of 30 will probably remember. In 1989 this was the scene of a major gas explosion that left 2 people dead. A fair chunk of the street collapsed in the blast. I can actually remember walking to work that morning past the old Infirmary A&E watching dozens of ambulances coming and going wondering what had happened.
I kind of hesitated to use this shot. I didn’t realise till I processed it that there’s actually someone lying in the street at the top. It would be wholly wrong to speculate the circumstances. Not sure of the name of the steps but these lead from Guthrie Street to Chambers Street near the Museum.
Nope, it’s not regeneration. It’s not a new development. It in fact burned down. This was the scene of a huge fire in 2002. It ripped though serval of the old building who’s construction made it difficult for the firefighters to tackle the blaze, as a result it got a good grip and a large chunk of history went up in smoke with it. As the South Bridge spans the Cowgate here some of the buildings up there also got a good roasting. Nearly 10 years on, it’s still a gap.
The Cowgate is a bit like the High Street in the respect that it’s got a lot of little closes running off it. Not nearly as famous as the ones of the Royal Mile, this is Robertsons Close.
At the far end of the Cowgate on the road down to Holyrood is this old police box. The stairs next to it boarded up as it was becoming a place for the “disadvantaged” of Edinburgh to sleep and no doubt piss all over as well. Ugly.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the Cowgate, enter at your own risk after dark…