July 31, 2006


The Glenfinnan Viaduct, situated in the north-west of Scotland between Fort William and Mallaig, has become an iconic symbol of Scotland following its appearance in the Harry Potter films. This stretch of rail is one of the most stunning in the whole of the UK, and you can even ride it aboard the train used in the films as the Hogwarts Express.

July 30, 2006

Queen's View

I'm going to take you on a wee trip out of the city for a few days, seeing as many of you are on holiday, and it's good to see a bit of the countryside as well as just our fine capital city. This is the Queen's View, a wonderful view looking over Loch Tummel in Perthsire, about 120km north of Edinburgh. Some say it was given this name because Queen Victoria stopped here on her way to Balmoral. Most however say that it was named after Queen Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce, who loved coming to this glorious part of Scotland.

July 29, 2006

Forth Rail Bridge

This is Edinburgh's Golden Gate or Harbour Bridge! This is the rail bridge across the Firth of Forth which links North and South Queensferry, and more importantly, links Edinburgh to the north-east of Scotland. It is a wonderful feat of Victorian engineering and with it constantly being repainted to avoid corrision, it has stood the test of time better than its 1960s road bridge neighbour. I used to think that the trains went up and down the top of it...I was most disappointed when I first saw a train going through it!
From tomorrow we're going to go north of the bridge and see some other sights of Scotland.

July 28, 2006

Broughton Church Hall

This lovely church hall at the junctions of Broughton Street and London Street is used for all sorts of events. It is a popular venue during the festival and has also been used as a nightclub. While church-goers may be dwindling, the buildings they once inhabited are used for a variety of things. Many are turned into residential property and I've seen one as a joiner's workshop and as a lighting shop. How about where you are?

July 27, 2006

Beach at North Berwick

On these lovely summer days, the beaches in and around Edinburgh can get quite crowded...and yes, people are mad enough to swim in the North sea! Edinburgh does actually have beaches of its own, but this one at North Berwick, about half an hour to the east of the city is a very popular day trip. As well as being a lovely town with nice shops, restaurants and golf it also boasts the nicest public toilet in Scotland...fresh flowers every day!

July 26, 2006

The Champions' League comes to town

Tonight is a special night for Scottish football, as this is the first time a Champions' League fixture has been played outside of Glasgow. Hearts FC from the west of the city earned the right to play in the CL by virtue of coming 2nd in the Scottish Premier League last season. Since it became the Champions' League, only Celtic and Rangers (both from Glasgow) have ever qualified for it. The last time a non-Glasgow team won the Scottish League was back in 1986, when Aberdeen became champions. Hearts will play the champions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Siroki Brijeg, not at their home stadium, Tynecastle, but here at the national rugby stadium, Murrayfield. Murrayfield can seat 65,000 people, Tynecastle only 17,000!

July 25, 2006


The Royal Yacht Britannia, after being decommissioned a few years ago, now rests in the docklands of Leith. You enter the Queen's former yacht through the 2nd floor of a shopping and entertainment centre called Ocean terminal. Apparently the Queen is none too chuffed that her former yacht is attached to a shopping centre. The Scottish Press at the time, also reported that the Queen wanted the ship scuttled rather than have tourists walk all through it. Public money paid for it. Public money paid for it to be in service, and now it's only right that the public get to see it.
I'm away on holiday again! Off to Poland today (Katowice, Bydgoszcz and Warszawa) and then Italy (Bologna) before coming back just in time for school! Toyozo will be pressing the publish button while I'm away...enjoy the photos, keep the comments coming and I'll get back on the DP ball when I get back.

July 24, 2006

Visiting Vessel

Yesterday while I was down at Ocean Terminal, there were a couple of visiting military vessels docked very close to the Royal Yacht britannia. This was one of them and judging by the beers being drunk by the men on board (I could see crates of Jupiler and Leffe) the boats had sailed across from Belgium. Bienvenue! Hartelijk Welkom!

July 23, 2006

Farewell Cows!

As the Cow parade comes to its official end today, I for one will be sad to see these brightly coloured cows removed from the city's streets and shopping centres. They've caught the eye and the imagination and I hope the auction in September raises lots of money for the local and animal charities that it is supporting. As the cows leave, the city is beginning to prepare itself for the onslaught of festival activity. Mind you, I'm away on holiday again...off to Poland on Tuesday and then Italy before coming back on the 9th. Toyozo is going to press the publish button while I'm away so I'd better get my photos ready!

July 22, 2006

Typical Edinburgh Scene

No matter what time of year, you'll always come across a piper somewhere in Edinburgh. In summer there are more than usual and they do add a certain feeling of Scottishness when you come out of the station or step off the aiport bus and hear the pipes. When played well, the pipes can be beautiful, breath-taking, haunting, but imagine if you had one of these guys playing outside your office window, all day, every day...which does happen up on the High Street outside the City Chambers.

July 21, 2006

National Gallery of Scotland

It's very difficult to get a good view of the National Gallery building on its own, wedged in as it is right behind the equally impressive Royal Scottish Academy. The two galleries have been linked since 2004 by an underground space with a restaurant, café and shop. Linking the galleries together has allowed them to work as one and compete more effectively for international exhibitions. The National Gallery's current exhibition is 'Rembrandt at 400.' "It is home to Scotland's greatest collection of European paintings and sculpture from the Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, and is one of the very finest galleries of its size in the world." - so says the official website.

July 20, 2006

Kilted Statue

I can't believe I had never noticed this bekilted figure before, but then until I started photo-blogging, I think I walked around this city with my eyes half shut. This wonderful statue stands in front of a war memorial in West Princes Street Gardens and was a gift from families of Scottish descent in the USA to Edinburgh. The detail of the pleats on the kilt is really detailed and well-done.

July 19, 2006

Lunchtime in the Gardens

Another beautiful day here in Edinburgh, and another chance for people to top up their fake-tans with some real sunshine! This is supposed to be the hottest day of the heatwave, and the last for a few days, so many city workers have taken the chance to come down to the gardens to have their lunch in the sun. There was a bit of a debate on the news last night as to what is acceptable office attire when the weather is as hot as it is. I see many guys sensibly wearing short-sleeved shirts with their collars loosened but am still seeing a number of people with dark-suits buttoned up...they must be sweltering or work in an office with air-conditioning!

July 18, 2006

Floral Clock

One of Edinburgh's most popular attractions with both locals and visitors is this Floral Clock in West Princes Street Gardens. The design and motif change every year, and this year it is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.

July 17, 2006

Cutting the Grass

I'm back in glorious sunny Edinburgh. Yesterday, on the plane back from paris, when the captain said that we were heading to cloudless blue skies and 27 degrees in Edinburgh, half the plane did a little double-take. And sure enough, the sun continues to shine and I still feel like I'm on holiday, which technically I am for another four weeks! I had to put suncreen on to go up town today and I was wearing sandals! As you can imagine, on a day like today Princes Street Gardens was packed full of people relaxing whether on holiday, days off or just on their lunch break. But just to remind me anyway, that others are still working, here is a council worker keeping the gardens looking nice for both locals and visitors.
Thanks to everyone who posted while I was away - sorry I was unable to respond. We had a fantastic holiday and I'll get some photos on flickr soon for you to see. Thanks again to Chris for publishing while I was away.

July 16, 2006

Clever Scottish Sheep!

These signs were all over the roads leading to the Royal Highland Showground for the annual agricultural show at the end of June. Scottish Sheep must be very clever indeed to be able to read them...mind you it would only take one of them to read, and the rest would follow off at the correct exit!

Thanks Chris! I'm back!

July 15, 2006

Rearview of the Parliament

This is the view of the back of the Parliament from Holyrood Road. From here you can see that rather than being one building, it is a collection of inter-connected buildings. You can also see how it fits into the Edinburgh landscape and how it grows out of what is around it. The architect, Miralles, said that Edinburgh had enough columns and spires already, so this was to be a building of the land, and coming from the land. I'll leave that to you to judge.

Thanks again to Chris H for posting for me while I've been away in la belle France.

July 14, 2006

Looking skywards

I've shown these thinking pods before, but with this view from underneath, you get a better view of the crowstep gable effect at the bottom of each pod. The crowstep gable style came to Scotland by way of the Netherlands and can be seen in many Scottish houses, particularly buildings along the Royal Mile from around the 16th-17th century.

July 13, 2006

Wall of Quotes 4

This piece by Sir Alexander Gray could bring a wee tear to the heart of any Scotsman or Scotswoman.

July 12, 2006

Wall of Quotes 3

This is a great quote by Sir Walter Scott, lamenting the passing of the Scottish Parliament, a hundred or so years before his time. For those having trouble with the Scots, he's complaining of the lack of accountability now that those who make our laws sit in London. When they were in Edinburgh at least they could be made to account fo their actions. A good quote about the feeling of political helplessness and isloation when you live so far from the centre of power.

July 11, 2006

Wall of Quotes 2

I like this quote a lot. In fact, I think it reflects the Scottish character pretty well. It reminds of my first year at University in Edinburgh. Edinburgh attracts a large number of English students from, shall we say, rather privileged backgrounds. In tutorials, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the English students who just seemed to talk and talk while the Scots listened intensely and spoke when necessary. After a while, you noticed how much hot-air was spouted by the public-schoolboys and girls, and by the end of first year, the Scottish students found their voices.

July 10, 2006

Wall of Quotes 1

On the Canongate side of the Parliament building is a wall full of great quotes from Scottish literature. During the construction phase of the building, the public were invited to send in their favourite quotes in English, Scots or Gaelic. Over the next few days, I'll show you some of the ones I like best. You'll have noticed similar public literature when visiting Louise in Wellington, New Zealand.

July 09, 2006

Leaves? Upturned boats?

Again these architectural details are open to interpretation. Apparently, the architect of the Parliament building threw some leaves onto a blank piece of paper, and part of the design came from that. There was also a great deal of mention of upturned boats...perhaps a commentary on the state of decline of Scotland's fishing industry!?

Thanks again to Chris H for continuing to push the publish button while I'm enjoying crêpes and cider among my Celtic kinfolk in Brittany!

July 08, 2006


Here are the famous sunscreens on the Parliament building. They look like bamboo sticks, but are actually coated oak in keeping with the plan to source as many of the materials for the building as possible from Scotland. As Nerissa said, why would you want to screen out the sun in Scotland?! Still, they make great shadows when the sun shines and are another bizarre quirk of the building.

July 07, 2006

Queen's Gallery

You can see the same flagpoles from yesterday but this time looking from the Parliament across the road to the Queen's Gallery and Holyrood Palace. It lets you see just how close these very different buildings are, right in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town.

July 06, 2006

Flags Flying

Outside the Scottish Parliament, there are four flagpoles. One each for the flags of the European Union, the United Kingdom and Scotland. The other flag is reserved for visiting dignitaries...and no, the rumour that the Portuguese flag was flying there on Saturday night is not true! There was an England flag draped over the Scottish cow parade cow outside the Parliament on the morning of the T&T game when I drove to work that day though!

With thanks to Chris H in Newcastle who will be pushing the buttons for me while I'm away in France. Cheers!

July 05, 2006

Edinburgh Tourbus

Here we have some tourists enjoying the sights of Edinburgh on one of the many open-topped double-decker tourbuses. Competition is pretty fierce with four (I think) different companies offering more or less the same tour, but with slight variations. Want your own guide? You got it! Want taped commentary in Japanese? You got it! Want to go on a vintage 30 year old bus? No problem either!

July 04, 2006

Gaelic / Gàidhlig

All the signs in the Scottish Parliament are in both English and Gaelic. Gaelic is the native language of Scotland, although it hasn't been spoken to any great extent in Edinburgh for many hundreds of years. In this part of the country, people spoke/ speak a variety of Scots known as Lallans (Lowland Scots). In common with other Celtic languages, Gaelic was pushed into the corners and so is spoken as a first language in some parts of the Highlands and the Western Isles. So far, Gaelic has survived into the 21st century and with the determined fight of Gaelic campaigners and the support of the Scottish Government, hopefully it has a long and rich future ahead. Anyone want to hazard a guess at what the information on the sign says?

July 03, 2006

Scottish Executive

This building houses most of the civil servants who work for the Scottish Executive. It cost considerably less than than the Parliament building and is in a fairly out of the way location, down at the Shore. I'm not trying to be cynical, but the approval of the plans for the new tramlink in Edinburgh might have something to do with the fact that the first line is to pass right by their back door.

July 02, 2006

Commercial Quay

Despite what some might say about the Scottish weather, we do get nice enough weather for al fresco dining to become popular. This is the recently developed Commercial Quay area at the Shore in Leith. Old warehouses have been turned into some fine restaurants along what used to be a tramway. The new buildings for the Scottish Civil Service are also just a stone's throw away.

Edinburgh has been joined by Glasgow on the Daily Photo circuit. Hop along the M8 motorway and visit Carol.

July 01, 2006

DP Theme: Supermarkets

In common with many other daily photo bloggers, the 1st day of the month has a particular theme, and this month we are looking at supermarkets. This is my local Scotmid store and you can tell it's World Cup time by the large amount of beer on special offer! Tennent's, one of Scotland's many beers, has gone with a German theme during the World Cup by having "Tennent's lager ist WUNDERBAR" on its cans and boxes. By the way, yesterday was the 100th post for Edinburgh Daily Photo Blog and thanks to Toyozo for pushing the buttons while I was away in Paris. The kids were fantastic while we were there and had an amazing time. I was also proud by how many of them made the effort to speak French when they went into shops and when talking to hotel staff. They were a real credit to Firrhill!