November 30, 2006

Happy St Andrew's Day

Today is our National Day, the day of our Patron Saint, St Andrew. I think traditionally St Andrew's Day has been celebrated more fiercely by the Scottish diaspora (in fact I'm cheating with this photo as it's the London office of Visit Scotland), but the Scottish Executive has pushed for greater celebrations of Scotland and Scottishness on St Andrew's Day. If there hadn't been 80mph winds in Edinburgh today, then I'm sure tonight's One Scotland Street Ceilidh would have been a big success, but I'm going to stay home instead. Have a wee whisky, tuck into some fine smoked salmon and think of the amazing contribution that such a wee country has made to the world.

November 29, 2006

St John's Episcopal Church

St John's stands at the west end of Princes Street, and until the weekend I had never had cause to go inside. I usually find Scottish churches a bit austere and drab however, St John's is well worth a visit. It has beautiful, colourful stained glass windows but what attracted me in was the Charity Christmas card sale. There were cards on sale for so many worthy charities that it was hard to decide which to support, but at least I know that this year the charities will get something. I find the "charity" cards on sale in the supermarkets and High Street chainstores a bit of a joke - 10p from the sale of this pack will be split among seven charities!

November 28, 2006

German Market

If I'd spent a bit of time on photoshop, I could have got rid of that bollard in the middle of the road, but I prefer to show the city as it is, and to get the view of the Galleries and the Mound buildings behind and to the side of the German Market, I had to be across the road. You can see how popular the German Market is. There was also a French Market at the weekend, which was mainly food and on 14th December, there will be a Polish market too.

November 27, 2006

Winter Wonderland

East Princes Street Gardens have been turned into a fairground as part of Edinburgh's Christmas festivities. One of the most popular attractions every year is the outdoor ice rink in the lower level of the gardens. I'm not a skater myself, but I imagine it would be great fun to skate around and enjoy the lights and the view.

November 26, 2006

Farmers' Market

Edinburgh's Farmers' Market is a weekly treat for foodies in this city. Farmers and local producers come from all over Scotland and the North of England to sell their meat, fish, cheese, eggs, vegetables, sweets and anything else you might expect. It's extremely popular and well worth getting out of bed for. This is the queue at a butcher who specialises in venison. I'm looking forward to trying the venison and whisky sausages I bought from them.

November 25, 2006

The Aussies are in town

Rugby weekends against the major nations are always great fun in Edinburgh. Today the city was awash with Scotsmen in kilts and Aussies wearing green and gold and carrying blow-up wallabies on their way to Murrayfield! I had tickets for the game, but somehow managed to lose them so ended up watching the game on TV. In any case, after a bright start and Scotland going 10-0 up, we ended up getting a bit of a lesson and finished on the wrong end of a 44-15 scoreline. Well done the Aussies!

November 24, 2006


This photo was taken yesterday while the stalls were still being set up, but when I walked through earlier today, all the stalls were pretty busy and there was a lovely smell from the food stalls. The city centre really has put on its winter fur coat now and it looks pretty amazing. The trees are adorned with lights, the big wheel and the funfair are up in the gardens, the outdoor ice-rink is open and the markets are in full swing. Edinburgh's Christmas is becoming better and better each year.

November 23, 2006

German Market

This photo was taken just a couple of hours before the Christmas lights were swicthed on and Edinburgh's Christmas festival season was declared officially open. The next time I walk past the German market it will be full of people buying Christmassy things and enjoying a nice mug of Glühwein. The German market, with traders coming from Frankfurt, has been here the last few years and it's something that has really enlivened the dark months of November and December.

November 22, 2006

Leith 2

We're still looking towards Leith, but this time in a slightly more easterly direction. The focal point of this photo is the Easter Road Stadium, home of Hibernian FC...the green and white half of Edinburgh football. When you enlrage the photo you can clearly see the different kinds of housing in the area, from the traditional tenements built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, to 60s low and high rise blocks.

November 21, 2006


We're looking down from Calton Hill towards the port area of Leith. Leith and Edinburgh used to be separate towns, but Leith has pretty much been subsumed into the city. It still retains a character of its own, and the area has seen a huge amount of regeneration in recent years. It still has its Leith folk and its own identity, but it's come a long way since it was used as the backdrop for Irvine Welsh's novel 'Trainspotting.'

November 20, 2006


It's been a fairly dull, drab and dreich November day. I left work today to howling wind and hailstones and by the time I got to the bus-stop, I was wet and very cold. It's been a night to stay in with a large mug of hot chocolate and sit beside the radiator.

November 19, 2006

Dusk from Blackford Hill

As any cyclist will testify, Edinburgh is a hilly city. The advantage of this is that there are lots of vantage points to get nice views over the city. This is from Blackford Hill on the southside of the city. We're looking over some fairly posh and studenty suburbs such as Newington and Marchmont, towrds the castle and the Firth of Forth and Fife in the distance.

November 18, 2006

Autumnal Blue Sky 2

From the more or less the same spot as yesterday's photo, this time we're looking east over the railway station and towards the extinct volcano of Arthur's Seat. This side of the railway station as some brutally ugly buildings, such as the boxy Jury's Inn hotel on the right of the shot.

November 17, 2006

Autumnal Blue Sky

A nice crisp autumnal day. Lovely blue skies over the city as we look west from North Bridge over the glass roofs of the railway station towards the castle, Scott monument, galleries and the other buildings of central Edinburgh.

November 16, 2006

Still at the Botanics

I hope you're enjoying this walk through the Botanic Gardens. These gardens have a truly impressive array of plants and tress from all over the world as well as some beautifully landscaped parts. No matter the season, it's a relaxing and pleasant place to be.

November 15, 2006

Afternoon Sky

The darkness descends so quickly on the city during the late autumn and winter months...still, sometimes you get enough time to get a nice snap of the sky before the night falls.

November 14, 2006

More from the Botanics

Because of the lovely autumnal colours, I'm sticking with the pictures from the Royal Botanic Gardens.
As well as this site in the north of Edinburgh, there are three other sites of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Scotland: at Benmore near Dunoon in Argyll, Dawyck near Peebles in the Borders and Logan near Stranraer in Galloway.

November 13, 2006

Views from the Botanics

The Botanic Gardens also offers beautiful views to the south and west of the city. This is overlooking the popular and affluent residential districts of Stockbridge and the Dean Village and out towards the Pentland Hills in the distance.

November 12, 2006

Botanic Gardens

At any time of the year, the Botanic Gardens in the leafy suburbs of northern Edinburgh are a delight to walk around. On a crisp, sunny autumnal day, they are an even greater pleasure.

November 11, 2006

Autumn in the gardens

The autumn colours, the galleries and castle in the background...Edinburgh's autumnal fur coat looks rather impressive. It won't be long till the ice-rink, fairground rides and German Christmas market occupy the very space in this photo.

November 10, 2006

National Gallery

And here we have a full frontal picture of the Natioanl Gallery, one of Edinburgh's slightly hidden treasures. The reason I say hidden is that it sits directly behind the equally attractive Royal Scottish Academy building and you can' really see it from the street.

November 09, 2006

Night at the National Gallery

One positive thing about the early nightfall in the city is that you notice the way the buildings are lit up at night. Most of the important buildings in the city centre are illuminated in some way and this is the front of the National Gallery of Scotland on the Mound, just behind the building steeped in red you saw yesterday.

November 08, 2006

Red Light District??

The Royal Scottish Academy, part of the National Galleries of Scotland has taken on a rather red hue in recent days. All four sides of the gallery are lit up in red, as is the statue above the entrance. When I took this photo, even the traffic lights joined in long enough for me to get a few shots. I don't know if the lighting has been put up to to give some cheer in these dark evenings or if it has anything to do with the new exhibiton, "Superhumanatural."

November 07, 2006

Bank of Scotland HQ

With the darkness descending by 5pm, I'm taking more and more evening shots. This is the official headquarters of the Bank of Scotland, now part of the HBOS group following their takeover by, I mean, "merger with" the Halifax. It is in the process of being turned into a banking sure that will be very interesting! The Bank of Scotland is one of the three Scottish banks that prints its own banknotes...always confuses tourists when they get handed different kinds of banknotes in their change!

November 06, 2006

Newspaper Wars!

A new evening newspaper has gone into circulation in recent weeks, published by the Daily Record and focusing on Edinburgh. The Record is a Glasgow based publisher and their new product is in direct competition with the long-standing Edinburgh based Evening News. The 'News' is 35p while the Record version is selling for 15p and offering freebies such as chocolate, water and hair gel to persuade and bribe the people of Edinburgh into buying their rag! Edinburgh folk have a proud record of being loyal to local is one of the few UK cities where the main bus company is entirely locally-run having fought off fierce competition from Stagecoach and First when the buses were de-regulated. It is to be hoped that the Evening News also fights off these encroachers from the West!

November 05, 2006

A row of buses

Cars are banned from driving along Princes Street (apart from late night and early morning westbound) so it has pretty much been turned into the UK's largest buslane! At any given time, there could be about 50 buses on the street with several queuing to stop at the bus-stops. Can anyone come up with a suitable collective noun for buses?? A lateness of buses??

November 04, 2006

Castle Street Market

Surprisingly enough, from Castle Street you get a great view of the castle sitting proudly and resplendently upon its rock. What better backdrop is there than that? The hustle and bustle of the market in the foreground add to the atmosphere.

November 03, 2006

A Continental Feel

This market can be found on Castle Street every Thursday as it's late night shopping night, but this time with the earlier darkness, the after work rush on the market stalls added a real continental and almost Christmassy feel about the place. The smells of paella, tartiflette, crêpes, Dutch pancakes as well as German sausages also added to the lovely atmosphere. It was nice to be addressed as 'Monsieur' and to get a chance to speak French outside the classroom too.

November 02, 2006

An Edinburgh Commute

A very typical Edinburgh scene...the bus going past the castle on its way along Princes Street. Most of the bus roures in the city converge along Princes Street and one of my pleasures on my way to and from work every day is to look out and see the wonderful view of the castle and the old town. This photo was taken at about 5.10pm today...just to show you how dark it's getting!

November 01, 2006

DP Theme Day: Something that's going to disappear soon

I swithered for a long time as to what I was going to put for this month's theme day. Would I be political and put the Union Jack, showing the impending disapperance of the United Kingdom as a political entity? Would I be funny and put a pint of beer? Would I be nostalgic and put a little corner shop - soon to be beaten in the ground by the arrival on the scene of Tesco Express and Sainsbury's Local. In the end, I thought I'd be a little poetic and show the autumn for a short while to be enjoyed, and then gone for another year.

Have a look at the other towns and cities taking part in this month's theme day.

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