Old Railway Line at West Bryson Road

A new one for me this, I never knew this was here until the wife mentioned it. She grew up round this way and know’s it well. This is part of one of the old railway lines of which there are loads that criss cross Edinburgh. The railways must have been really extensive in Edinburgh years ago, shame it’s all gone but not so bad if we get quiet wee walks like this I suppose. In a little wander along here I never met another person.

This is where I started out at West Bryson Road heading towards Harrison and Ashley parallel to Slateford Road.

Way in at West Bryson Road

Way in at West Bryson Road

The path is pretty muddy but would be a cracking walk in the summer.

Muddy Path

Muddy Path

At first glance these looked like bird feeders, on a closer inspection I think they were for squirrels?

Squirrel Feeders

Squirrel Feeders

And one of the locals who dine here…

Squirrel

Squirrel

The path runs behind the houses on Slateford Road more or less.

Slateford Houses

Slateford Houses

This bridge is on Harrison Road, despite driving over this hundreds of times over the years it was difficult to get the bearings of where you were below it.

Harrison Road Bridge

Harrison Road Bridge

The trail leaves the mud behind as it reaches Harrison Place, from here on the path is proper road and it looks like it’s owned by Network Rail.

Paved road from Harrison

Paved road from Harrison

This is the bridge at Ashley, on the little hump in the road at the shops.

Ashley Road Bridge

Ashley Road Bridge

Just past the bridge at Ashley you’ll find this, the scene of the huge fire in the terraces last year. Looks like a huge amount of damage if the size of the scaffold and wrap around the building is anything to go by.

Fire damage at Ashley

Fire damage at Ashley

The path here follows the back of the Ashley Terraces.

Back of the terraces

Back of the terraces

A tarzan, a rare sight these days. Kids hardly know what it is to amuse yourself outside these days. I just sounded like my dad there…

Tarzan

Tarzan

Another of the locals…

One of the locals

One of the locals

At the end of the path Network Rail block you from going any further, you can see the roof of Matalan and the Maltings on Slaterford Road to the right.

Rail Yard

Rail Yard

Beyond the gates there are trains parked up, the bridge in the foreground is part of the rail line that runs up past the side of the Locarno on Slateford Road.

Train

Train

First signs of spring?

Has spring sprung in Edinburgh? It’s still cold enough to worry a brass monkey but the floral indicators of spring seem to have other ideas around the city just now. Is it to be a snowless winter after last year’s snowmageddon? You know why that is though don’t you? Because after last year everybody has at least 2 tons of rock salt and 4 snow shovels sat ready and waiting to be used.

Crocus’s (or is that crocii?), in Harrison Park.

A crocus eye view

A crocus eye view

And the daffies are sticking in an early appearance alongside the canal. These ones are quick, everywhere else they just seem to be green stumps just now.

First daffies of 2012

First daffies of 2012

 

The Dead Cormorant Sketch

Found at Newhaven Harbour…

An ex-Cormorant

An ex-Cormorant

‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

We’re closin’ for lunch.

Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this cormorant what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Oh yes, the, uh, the Newhaven Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.

Look, matey, I know a dead cormorant  when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Newhaven Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful plumage!

The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!

All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up!  ‘Ello, Mister Polly cormorant ! I’ve got a lovely fresh cuttle fish for you if you show…

‘ELLO POLLY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

Now that’s what I call a dead parrot.

No, no…..No, ‘e’s stunned!

STUNNED?!?

Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! Newhaven Blues stun easily, major.

Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this. That cormorant  is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not ‘alf an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

No no! ‘E’s pining!

E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This cormorant is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-CORMORANT!!

etc etc…

 

Edinburgh and beyond

This is a wee bit different from the usual Real Edinburgh stuff but it’s still essentially Edinburgh, just maybe an angle on it you’ve never really seen before. One of my “other” photography interests is astro-photography, i.e. anything that’s not in the Earth’s atmosphere. There’s a long held misconception that you can’t get the best of the night skies from Edinburgh due to the light pollution from the city, but that in fact, is bollocks. These 3 shots were taken up by Harlaw Reservoir, just above Balerno out to the western edge of the city. Looking east or north you get the lights from the city, looking south and west it’s perfectly dark, proper dark. Even more so when the moon isn’t rising till the early hours of the morning and flooding out the sky with light.

This was the International Space Station crossing over the Pentlands at twilight tonight, it’s about a lot over the next couple of weeks passing over us around every 90 minutes.

ISS crossing the Pentlands

ISS crossing the Pentlands

From last night at Harlaw, this is the Milky Way, the densest part of our universe, which is why it appears as it does. To be fair, you wont see this with the naked eye from here but the camera picks it up.

Milky Way at Harlaw

Milky Way at Harlaw

To end with, the 2 bright stars in the left of the shot are Jupiter to the top and Venus to the bottom, 2 plants in one shot. At the moment, Mars is visible in the east at night after 8pm and Saturn to the south east after midnight. In a few weeks Mercury will also be visible, all to the naked eye.

Venus and Jupiter over Harlaw

Venus and Jupiter over Harlaw

Next time your sitting there surfing the Sky tv looking for a repeat of Top Gear because the telly is crap, if it’s a clear night why not try a little jaunt out to the Pentlands and look up?

 

Blackford Hill

A bumper post for you tonight, Blackford Hill in all it’s glory. Found out to the south side of the city Blackford is one of the 7 Edinburgh Hills and has some of the best views of the city. The highest Hill, Braid Hill sits to the south of Blackford but it’s views are largely spoiled by Blackford in front of it! Blackford Hill is the home of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh and  a local nature reserve. It’s a popular spot and you’re very unlikely to get the hillside to yourself, even at night in the dark where it’s still used by joggers, dog walkers and yes, even photographers!

There’s a few access points to Blackford Hill but for the sake of being lazy, lets start off at the carpark to the side of the Observatory.

Blackford Hill

Blackford Hill

It’s a fairly easy walk to the top up here it’s paved all the way up to the radio mast near the top, from this side you get some great views out the the south east of the city and beyond.

View South East

View South East

This is a view over the fields towards Liberton, Liberton Tower is the building on the left. It’s actually luxury accommodation rather than a historic building you can go and poke around.

Liberton Tower

Liberton Tower

The radio mast. It’s kind of dominates the hill itself but if we all want mobiles these things are kind of needed and we’ll just have to put up with them!

Blackford Mast

Blackford Mast

One of the many benches on Blackford Hill, with Braid Hill to the rear.

Blackford Bench

Blackford Bench

These steps up next to the radio mast lead down towards the Hermitage of Braid, believe me, it’s better to be going down them than up.

Blackford Steps

Blackford Steps

If you follow the path to the right of the steps it’s the easiest route to the top of Blackford Hill, once you get up there you get a great view of the allotments at the bottom of the hill.

Allotments

Allotments

Looking to the west, Craiglockhart Hill (east and west) and in the view, with the Napier Uni campus Craigshouse at the top of the hill.

Craigshouse

Craigshouse

Also from up here you get your first view of Edinburgh Castle, this is the complete opposite side you see from Princes Street and also a great location to watch any fireworks from the Castle.

First view of the castle

First view of the castle

Looking down from this point it’s a fair drop down to Blackford Pond. You can walk up from there to the top but your legs won’t thank you for it.

Blackford Pond

Blackford Pond

Just to the side of the pond is the old Astley Ainslie hospital, when I say old I mean it’s been there for a while, it’s still a working hospital, I’ll let you google to find out more about it.

Elsie Inglis

Elsie Inglis

The view to the West over the city, Murrayfield Stadium to the top right.

View to the west

View to the west

And now to the highest point of the hill, the trig point marks the spot. Great views over the city and to Arthurs Seat.

Blackford Trig Point

Blackford Trig Point

Also on the top is the marker to show you where everything is, well, other hills and things at least.

North South East West

North South East West

This is probably the most photographed bench in Edinburgh and a great place to grab on a summers night and watch the sunset.

Bench with a view

Bench with a view

It can be windy at the top, even if it’s not windy lower down, as this guy was finding out. At this point my nose was running like a tap in the cold.

Windy at the top

Windy at the top

The views of the city are great from this part of the hill, this is looking deep into Marchmont and the Grange.

Marchmont

Marchmont

The view over to the Firth of Forth and Salisbury Crags.

View to the Crags

View to the Crags

The view towards East Lothian and Cockenzie power station.

East Lothian

East Lothian

The north side of the hill is pretty steep as you can see from the view down the way.

Up above the houses

Up above the houses

This is the Royal Observatory, unlike the one on Calton Hill this one is very much operational.

Royal Observatory

Royal Observatory

And a closer view of one of the domes.

Observatory Roof

Observatory Roof

This is the weather station on the east side of the hill, this is where the 102mph gust was recorded during the January 2nd storm that hammered Edinburgh.

Weather Station

Weather Station

And to finish up, another one of those Blackford benches with a view.

Another Blackford Bench

Another Blackford Bench

Sort it out Edinburgh Council!

You’d think, with something like Calton Hill in the middle of your city, overlooking a World Heritage Site, a magnet for nearly every tourist that visits the city, a place with some of the best views of the city centre you’d make more of an effort to keep it clean? Sadly the hill is regularly used as an alfresco drinking spot for what seems to be mainly Eastern Europeans and the hillside is littered with empty beer cans and booze bottles, not to mention MacDonalds litter. Add to that, the bins are nearly always overflowing as they are simply, obviously not emptied enough!

There’s a good few Edinburgh councillors, MSP’s etc follow this blog, so sort it out please? Stop the drinking dens and get the place a bit cleaner? What would it take, 0.001% of the tram budget? If our council can offer to support the workshy Occupy arseholes they can keep one of the cities major tourist attractions cleaner and safter! Rant over.

Empty can of “wifebeater”, welcome to Edinburgh!

Disgarded Stella

Disgarded Stella

MaccyD’s… helping litter cities the world over.

Maccy Ds and Holsten

Maccy Ds and Holsten

Seeing new things from the familiar

I was 38 years old before I ventured up Calton Hill. Edinburgh born and bred and it had never crossed my mind to see what was up there. Then along came the photography thing and a dog and suddenly on a day off I found myself walking the hill for the first time on a cracking day in late May in the sun. Since then I’ve been up here dozens of times and photographed every inch of the hill in all conditions and times. With that in mind, this post was about seeing things from there I had previously never noticed, looking deeper into the city and trying to see something new from a familiar viewpoint.

This building is down by the junction of London Road and Regent Road (I think), and what I noticed about this in particular is those pillars, leading out on to a flat roof? Unusual.

Regents Road Pillars

Regents Road Pillars

looking down toward Leith the building in the centre of the frame stood out. It looks derelict and it’s heavily vandalised towards the top of the building but what actually is it? I drove down Leith Walk after leaving here but couldn’t see it?

Derelict in leith

Derelict in leith

I read something the other day about the old tenements at Greenside most of which has been long since demolished but there’s still some left as you can see in this pic. Despite them being clearly visible to the side of the Edinburgh Playhouse I’d never spotted these before.

Greenside Tenements

Greenside Tenements

I’d seen this building loads of times but never actually realised what it was until recently, the HQ of Rockstar Games. Somewhere in there is Grand Theft Auto 5…

Rockstar

Rockstar

This, as far as I can make out is the back end of the Waverleygate building on the corner of Waterloo Place and the North Bridge. Of course the former GPO building these days it’s pretty plush and houses NHS Lothian and Microsoft amongst others. This maze of rooftop walkways is to the rear of the front facade, but what’s it for?

Waverleygate Walkways

Waverleygate Walkways

I didn’t think I’d see anything on Calton Hill itself that was new but there it is. Tucked away below the Nelson Monument is the curious little plaque mainly hidden by the trees, it would be totally hidden in summer. It appears to be a quote from a psalm on it but what’s it all about?

Calton Psalm

Calton Psalm

Breeks Malfunction

Don’t you just hate it when this happens. There you are, posing for a pic and your pants go right up the crack of your arse? Never a good look…

Breeks Malfunction

Breeks Malfunction

An early morning dog walk

Curiously, I found myself in town, on a Saturday morning just after half 9. Not the norm I assure you. Since I was there I took the dog for a wander around Calton Hill figuring it would be fairly quiet at this time and I had an idea for another blog post I wanted to try out. How wrong was I…

First, an introduction. This is Scrappy. He’s 3 years old and a full pedigree Shih Tzu, he goes pretty much everywhere with me and in the summer around here gets his picture taken more by the tourists than the castle does. I kid you not. I’ve had people ask if they can pose with him for a picture of all nationalities.

Scrappy

Scrappy

Like I said, I figured it would be quiet, what I didn’t reckon on was a full coach load of Italian tourists getting tours around the hill. I mean, bus loads in February, in Scotland? Are they mad?

Droves of Italians

Droves of Italians

This wee walloper thought it would be hilarious to run at Scrappy barking. Scrappy just stood and looked at him, I however swiftly told this prick to “get himself tae fuck”, which he did. And this is him in the process of “getting tae fuck”. The world over, no matter the language barrier a broad scots accent and the word “fuck” will always help you get your point across.

Prick

Prick

10 past 10… an ungodly hour on a Saturday to be out and about getting fresh air. I’ve shot the views from Calton to death over the years in more traditional photography styles, these days I like to challenge myself to get something new. Little did I know taking this that not long after the whole area around the Balmoral was shut off as the Britains Got Talent judges are staying there for the Edinburgh auditions at the Festival Theatre. Not that I’d have gone to see them, cannot stand David Walliams or Alesha Dixon.

10 past 10

10 past 10

Despite being the smallest of the 7 Edinburgh hills Calton is fairly high over the city streets, especially on the Leith side. I still reckon the views from the Crags are the better of the views from here though.

Looking down

Looking down

The back end of the Edinburgh Playhouse. Now more of a musical theatre venue than anything else but to me the Playhouse was the scene of dozens upon dozens of heavy metal concerts in the late 80’s. My first time ever in here was Feb 1986 when I saw Motley Crue and over the years have caught most of the major metal bands live in here at some time or another. Metallica, Kiss, Def Leppard, Scorpions, WASP, Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Ozzy, Iron Maiden to name just a few. The SECC is a poor substitute to me, a soulless barn of a place. Just a shame the bands are unlikely to ever come back here again.

Edinburgh Playhouse

Edinburgh Playhouse

Spotted this on a lamppost as I was leaving the hill this morning. I’ll pass thanks.

Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna

Nom Nom Nom…