Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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National Monument, Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

This evening, I am posting information on the National Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland. This forms part of the important skyline featuring classically inspired architecture which was designed to form the ‘Athens of the North’.

Calton Hill Skyline

The Monument was designed by C.R.Cockerill (with William Playfair) and dates from 1822. It was conceived as a memorial to the dead of the Napoleonic wars and originally designed as a church whose exterior was intended to replicate the Parthenon in Athens but funds were short and only twelve columns were completed.

National Monument, Calton Hill

This is quite a romantic site which affords excellent photo opportunities in the right visibility conditions.. There are many other interesting monuments and buildings on Calton Hill which also affords a great vantage point for viewing Edinburgh City and the Firth of Forth.

Horse Rider

This evening, I am reporting on today’s hike which covered about eight miles between Priestland and Galston in East Ayrshire, about twenty-three miles south of Glasgow in the West of Scotland.


Weather was superb being dry with sunshine and temperature around 21 c/70 f.

The group encountered:

  • A variety of animals: sheep, cows, horses and a donkey.
  • Early summer wildflowers.
  • River Irvine.
  • Rolling landscape.

Walking through the landscape

Rolling landscape with sheep

River Irvine

Riverside Inn, Newmilns

Riverbank Mill, Newmilns

Through a dark archway

Inquisitive Cows

Woodland Anemonie

River Irvine


Happy Hiker

Woodland Scene

Refreshment stop.

Greenbank House, South elevation.

This evening, I am focusing on Greenbank House, a heritage property located near Clarkston to the south of Glasgow, west of Scotland, and best known for its garden which remains very close to its original 18th century style and shape. Although the house is not open to the public on a regular basis the garden is and the surrounding area is popular with dog walkers. A brief history of the house is as follows:

  • Dates from around 1771 when built on behalf of local merchant, Robert Allason but architect unknown. It is believed that Allason’s wealth was acquired through the expansion of trade, including tobacco dealing, which drove prosperity in and around Glasgow up until the time of the American Revolution.
  • A classic Georgian country house with a walled garden stretching to the south.
  • Allason died 1785 having sold Greenbank as a function of the downturn in trade due to American Independence.
  • Greenbank House subsequently underwent various changes of ownership as fortunes of the owners ebbed and flowed.
  • Then acquired by local man (from East Kilbride), John Hamilton who became the first of four generations of Hamiltons to own the property.
  • Greenbank was acquired by W.P. Blyth from Busby in 1962 who established the ornamental garden.
  • In 1977 Greenbank was transferred to the National trust for Scotland on condition it should serve as a garden advice centre, an objective which has been faithfully adhered to. The garden contains 4000 named cultivars and holds major collections of bergenias and narcissus.

Garden at Greenbank House.

Greenbank House, North elevation

Greenbank House, view from garden.