This evening, my theme is Edinburgh’s Calton Hill where the skyline, as manifested in sum of the parts, takes precedence over the individual constituents. The famous and multi-talented Scots urban planner, Sir Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) commented ” with its strange medley of monuments is a museum of the battle of styles and a permanent evidence showing how the town planners of one generation cannot safely count upon continuance by those of the next“.   The buildings on and around Calton Hill include:

  • National Monument (1822). An incomplete memorial to the dead of the Napoleonic Wars based on the Parthenon.
  • Nelson’s Monument (1816). Designed by Robert Burn in shape of an upended telescope to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).
  • Royal High School (1825-29). Designed by Thomas Hamilton. This building is of international stature and may have been designed to integrate with the National Monument thus justifying Edinburgh’s nickname of the Athens of the North.
  • Dugald Stewart’s Monument (1832). Designed by William Playfair and modelled on the 4th century AD monument of Lysicrates at Athens. Erected to celebrate the success of Stewart’s choir in a  competition. 
Calton Hill Skyline, Edinburgh

Calton Hill in Winter

Calton Hill is now only accessible on foot. However, whenever possible, I endeavour to include a visit when touring Edinburgh. In addition to the various  architecture styles there are stunning views of the Firth of Forth (estuary or bay), Fife Coast opposite and the centre of Edinburgh, all of which combine to provide great photo opportunities.

Elsewhere today, I have been working on the minutia of upcoming tours. Also received a new enquiry for an interesting ancestry tour, possibly for next year.

Weather here in Glasgow has been overcast with rain falling on already frozen ground.Temperature a little milder than recently.

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