24 Mar 2011

Not quite starstuck on Blackford Hill

Continuing on with our Pocket Mountain collection of Edinburgh walks, I can’t help thinking that the height of summer would have been a better time to make the walk to Blackford Hill.

At the moment the leaves at Cluny Gardens, which lie at the foot of the climb to The Royal Observatory, are just starting to squeeze out of the branches.

The world still looks dull and washed out, waiting for that strong push of life that comes when the earth begins to warm.

In 1928 Scotland’s largest telescope was lugged up Blackford Hill in pieces, which is how I felt once we reached the top. The wind took over and battered us with every step, although the higher we climbed the better the views over the city.
The blackened stones of The Royal Observatory make the building look like the perfect place for an isolated mad scientist to conduct his experiments, all alone atop a dark and windy hilltop. The observatory was built in 1892 when pollution was affecting the original site on Calton Hill.

Despite the views we didn’t linger long at the top, given that I had to hold my hood around my head so I looked a little like Kenny from South Park. But I imagine on a warm summer’s evening it would be just the right place to watch the sun go down.
Let’s pretend it is one of those warm lovely evenings and the dark has closed over us like a thin blanket, the lights of the city glowing like grounded stars.

We can lean our backs against a stone and stay as long as we like. Or at least until we get peckish and head down for a curry.

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