Saturday, 3 October 2009

Old Town from Calton Hill

View of the Old Town of Edinburgh as seen from Calton Hill, looking west.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Newhaven Lighthouse

The lighthouse in Newhaven Harbour with storm clouds gathering behind it; I barely made it back inside before the heavens opened....

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Deep Fried Mars Bar

Yep that's right, this post is about the well-known Scottish delicacy called the deep-fried Mars Bar. This horrendously unhealthy (but surprisingly tasty) item is said to have been invented in the famous Haven Chip Bar in Stonehaven in 1995, but can now be found throughout Scotland. The Mars bar is dipped in batter used for fried fish, sausages etc and fried in chip fat. To make sure the chocolate doesn't melt, it is usually chilled beforehand.

Connaisseurs will recognise the location of this poster as Cafe Piccante on Broughton Street.

Monday, 7 September 2009

East Claremont Street

Neo-classical stateliness that is East Claremont Street, here on a map.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Airbus A380 visits Edinburgh

At 1.30pm this afternoon, the world's largest commercial airliner, the Airbus A380, performed an 'approach and go' manoeuvre at Edinburgh airport. (Just as well - had it landed, it wouldn't have been able to leave again because the runway would have been too short!)

Anyway, thousands of people watched this magnificent plane fly directly over the airport first before turning over the bridges, doing a big loop and finally a fly-through just above the runway. I took this photo at the plane's lowest point, as it (noisily!) pulled its nose up and rose again to disappear into the clouds. We must have had the best, exclusive view - from the roof of the airport!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The real castle!

And here's a picture of the 'real' castle, high on the rock in the background. In the front left is the Fruitmarket Gallery, next to Waverley Station (right). The blue bus is the Airport Bus 100, waiting at its stop on Waverley bridge. Above it you see the National Gallery on the Mound. The blue domed building at the top of the Mound is the Bank of Scotland HQ. This well-known view can of course be seen from North Bridge.

Monday, 31 August 2009


The way this block of tenement flats just peeps over the trees and overlooks the Water of Leith always reminds me of a castle on a hill!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Five Pound Fringe

Over the last few years, ticket prices for Fringe shows have shot up quite a bit. Expect to pay at least £8 pounds for lesser known shows, and £15 for the big names! This is why some venues - like the Tron on Hunter Square - have decided to support initiatives like the Five Pound Fringe, or even Free Fringe, each of which does exactly what it says on the tin!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

C Venue - Chambers Street

Normally a quiet, stately University building, during the festival Adam House is transformed into C Venue!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Piper with Drummers

This is the piper who plays with the drummers (see yesterday's post).

Monday, 24 August 2009

Drummers on the Mound

A guest entry from Difa - during the Fringe, this well-known group of drummers & piper often perform on the Mound next to the National Gallery. Can anyone remind me of their name?

Friday, 21 August 2009

Fringe Framed!

I'm totally blowing my cover here but I don't care, because... today my picture got printed in the Metro!! The Fringe Office and Metro run a competition called Fringe Framed, where each day they select a photo for publication. If you want to take part, all you have to do is e-mail your photo (jpeg) to Good luck!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Not sure what to call this!

As spotted at the Cavalcade in Holyrood Park - this Lord of the Rings-like figure is, I believe, part of a theatre company that specialises in stilt-based, costumed street theatre. These imposing figures (there were three of them) wandered around high above the crowds, scaring unsuspecting bystanders by suddenly pecking them in the neck.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wedding at St James's

At the weekend I photographed the wedding of this lovely couple, Kaivo and Margit from Tallinn, at St James's Church (see post on Sunday). See here the happy two, accompanied by the Rector, Tembu Rongong, in kilt!

Monday, 17 August 2009


This is of another preview of a show we saw on the Royal Mile. I've forgotten the title; the costumes and makeup were pretty cool but despite the obvious enthusiasm of the actors, it was a bit, well, pants really!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

William Hole Murals in St James's

Anyone who's ever visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will remember the beautiful murals and frieze painted by William Hole around 1900. Few, however, will know that Hole painted two equally fabulous murals in St James Church at Goldenacre, some years before his more famous commission. St James's , a red stone building on Inverleith Row, was Hole's own church, and he carried out the decorations as a favour to his own parish. Just as well he did, because this work later earned him the Portrait Gallery job!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Performance on the Royal Mile

All day, performers showcase their shows during allotted slots on stages on the Royal Mile. These guys are from "Bloodbath - the Musical" (21:30 at George Square), and this lady definitely stood out from the crowd with a fenominal voice - though you couldn't really hear the music from the stereo.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Street Performance on the Royal Mile

Edinburgh street performer Todd Various doing what he does best, spotted yesterday on Parliament Square - just off the Royal Mile. With guest performances of 'England' (left), 'Scotland' (right) and two very cheeky little boys.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Festival Time!!

Hi Everyone!!
Back by popular demand... after this inexcusably long absence I'll keep the blog going during the Fringe and International Festival at least.
This picture was taken during the cavalcade on Saturday, the official start of the Fringe. The entire cast of the Tattoo, as well as a host of other performers and bands parade through the city - except this year due to tramworks on Princes Street the entire show was moved to Holyrood Park. And you know what? I actually preferred it - there was lots of space for everyone to go, no traffic restrictions for other good citizens, and the setting is just so beautiful! I met up with a couple of good friends and gave my brand new zoom lens a run for its money :-).

Friday, 8 May 2009


When you walk past this bar on Forrest Road you will probably not notice the interesting facade of the building, let alone know about the history of this place. Built in 1873, Oddfellows Hall was the gathering point for members of the Oddfellows Order. I understand that these were guilds with members from an odd assortment of trades (rather than all from the same trade), hence the term 'odd fellows'. Oddfellows Hall was a Lodge where they would congregate, with lecture rooms, meeting rooms and domitories.

Many Edinburgh people will remember "Bar Oz", previously located in this building, which was accessed through a narrow passage and laid out over two floors. In 2006, £1.05 million was spent on redesiging and opening up the space, and many of the original features can now be seen again.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Stone - Crown Office

I think this blog is due another 'stone' picture, so here's a nice one! This decorative stonework can be found on columns on either side of the entrance to the Crown Office on Chambers Street, the body responsible for prosecution of crime in Scotland.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Colourful shops

Some long-established, colourful shops on Greyfriar's Place, opposite the Museum of Scotland.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

George IV Bridge

After serving as starting and finishing point for the Great Edinburgh Run on Sunday, this is George IV Bridge returned to normal. It's really more a high-level street than a bridge, although it does bridge the Cowgate (just behind the bus).

Monday, 4 May 2009

May the 4th... Edinburgh Run part 2

What can I say....? Except that last year, the Great Edinburgh Run was held on May 4th, aka Star Wars Day, and so this year I suspect that Princess Leia and this Stormtrooper wanted to recycle their outfits... May the 4th be with you today!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Great Edinburgh Run part 1

Today saw some 10,000 runners take part in the Great Edinburgh Run 2009! This 10k road run followed a route across the Royal Mile, past Holyrood Palace and along the Meadows to a finish on George IV Bridge. I was there merely in a supporting role and to take pictures of various friends who are much more sporty than me. This picture was taken about half way along the route, from South Bridge looking down on the Cowgate. As you can see the weather was gorgeous.

Well done to all of you!!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Theme Day: Shadows

At low tide, Newhaven Harbour is almost completely dry, with the ropes between boats and pier hanging rather limply across the mud. A great contribution from Mr Dido who, for recession reasons, suddenly has a lot of time on his hands...

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Same Guy

... and this is the same guy (see yesterday's picture) from a more conventional angle, with houses in Parliament Square in the background.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Famous fireman

Dear all - I'm back!! For several weeks my (working) days have been completely taken over by conference organisation, but I'm pleased to report that all this is over now and I am back to my normal blogging self. Better still, I have a new camera - a Canon EOS 1000D. We're still getting used to each other but I have a feeling we'll be best friends before too long!

Anyway, this handsome fireman is James Braidwood (1800-1861) who founded the world's first municipal fire service in Edinburgh in 1824. He tragically died fighting a fire in London, and is commemorated with this statue in Edinburgh's Parliament Square.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Sunset over George Street

Sun setting over George Street....

Thursday, 2 April 2009


I really like this recent addition to the Chrystal Macmillan Building, now home of the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. The building sits on the north-west corner of George Square and faces the Middle Meadow Walk. The extension was designed by SMC Davis Duncan Architects and completed in 2008.

Chrystal Macmillan was an important suffragist and the first woman science graduate of the University in 1896.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

We Love Ice

And another clear sign that spring is fast approaching! (OK it's a little Photoshop-tastic, but who cares!!)

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sea of Yellow

Clear signs of spring alongside the Middle Meadow Walk earlier today!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Stick no bills

I found this little piece of history on the walls of the University's Old College on Chambers Street. Amusing really, that this bit of non-grammar appears on the exterior of one of the most famous academic institutions in the country...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Minto House, Chambers Street

You don't often see architecture this ornate in Edinburgh, and although the delicate Italianate style is perhaps a bit out of tune with the rest of Old Town, the sandstone from which it was made is certainly the dominating building surface in this city.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Close in Newhaven

A doorway in one of Newhaven's 'closes', or narrow passageways.

Monday, 16 March 2009

St James Chapel, Newhaven

I haven't posted a Stone picture for a while, so here's one! This is part of the west gable of the oldest building in Newhaven; that of St James' Chapel which is now a ruin.

The Chapel of St Mary and St James was built around 1508 by James IV for those who worked on the construction of his magnificent shipt, the Great Michael. The chapel later fell into disuse and was bought by the Society of Free Fishermen in the middle of the 18th century, and used as a place of burial until 1848. At an archeological dig in 1972, skeletons were indeed found, and the discovery was made that the chapel had been built on a foundation of oyster shells!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Fly like a bird!

Birdseye view of the roofs of buildings on George IV Bridge, Old Town.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

St Giles Cathedral Organ

And here it is, the organ in St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile in all its glory. This picture was also taken by Mr Dido, who was fortunate enough to be at a 'lock-in' where they were allowed to play the organ after hours.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Stopping to organize

Part two of yesterday's mystery machine - yes yes you've guessed it! See tomorrow for the final installment (courtesy Mr Dido).

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Mystery Mechanism

Mr Dido has requested a guest slot, so here it is. In which Edinburgh landmark can this mystery mechanism be found?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Roofs of the Old Town

Still on the roof of the Museum, now looking to the right of the castle in almost northerly direction. The large church steeple is what used to be a Church of Scotland and its Assembly Hall in one. It is now known as the 'Hub', or the headquarters of the International Festival. In the distance you can just make out some snowy hills in Perthshire, on the other side of the Firth of Forth.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle on a blustery March day, as seen from the rooftop terrace of the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street - a place that cannot be beaten on views so if you find yourself in the area, do pop up - it's free and there's a lift!!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Trams in Edinburgh

One of the most - if not the most - contentious issues in Edinburgh at the moment is the Tram Project. After an absence of about 50 years, trams are being reintroduced in the city - but not without a lot of upheaval, roadworks and bitter complaints by what I believe to be a very vocal minority. Personally I think they will be a good thing, and the only possible fast, clean, potentially non-carbon form of transportation across the city. However, in order for it to function as a 'network' we will need more than the one line + loop currently being built. But hey, you have to start somewhere!

So - in order to win the battle of the hearts and minds of the people of Edinburgh, this mock-up tram has been erected on Princes Street. And yes - the new urban myth of people asking when it's leaving (not till 2011!) is absolutely true, because it happened even as I was chatting to the man looking after it!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Seagull on approach

Seagull landing in Newhaven Harbour.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Edinburgh on fire?

Apologies for not posting something a bit more recent - this picture dates from earlier this winter - but I've been so busy I haven't had much chance to pop out with my camera. This is the view from the rooftop of the National Museum of Scotland, looking west at sunset. It was taken minutes before the one of Edinburgh castle.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Victoria Park

This is a view of Victoria Park from Newhaven Road, with Victoria's son King Edward VII surveying the grounds on her behalf. The park itself was created in 1919 and was once known as Bonnington Park, after Bonnington Park House. It is now part of a Conservation Area that includes 'the Dudleys' and Summerside Place.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Spring is coming!!

Crocuses in Victoria Park.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


This is Waverleygate, on the corner of North Bridge and Waterloo Place. This wonderful classical building was once the General Post Office and went through a series of improvements in the 1890s, 1900s and 1960s but by the 1990s all post services had moved out and the building stood empty for several years. More recently it has been redeveloped into fancy new office spaces. Take-up has been slow, however, and I believe the building is still largely empty.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Arthur's Seat from Pollock

And to complete the series on Arden House; this is the view from the window of yesterday's room, or rather just in front of it on the lawn. The hill is of course Arthur's Seat, but seen from a more unusual angle.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Arden House

I simply had to share this with you; this is the drawing room in Arden House (for hire from the University) - downstairs from the Confucius Institute. It's beautiful!!