The first time I got to Calton Hill was with my friend Maria, with whom we haven’t been in touch unfortunately, but she has influenced my stay in the UK a lot, she definitely has taught me many things about Britain that would have taken me longer to learn if it wasn’t for her. So I thank her for that.
We arrived to Calton Hill in the evening, and it was getting dark. I was tired and just wanted to go have a shower and fall asleep until morning, but Maria was very insistent so we went up here, after getting to the Hill, I knew why she took me here, and I did not know that a few years later I would bring my new friends here and show them the beauty that is this place.
All the photos in this post were taken on my latest visit to Edinburgh, the ones I have taken on my first visit are too blurry, I’m afraid.
See, Calton Hill is something you do not expect to see in Scotland, architecture wise. In the above photo you see the National Monument of Scotland, which is a memorial to Scottish soldiers and sailors, who died in the Napoleonic wars. And in this amazing old book, which you can find online here, you can read more information about this beautiful construction which looks like something out of a Greek history textbook. It was in fact built upon the model of the Parthenon in Athens. The construction has begun in 1820s and was not finished for several years due to the lack of financial support.
I know I throw lots of information at you but sometimes you just need to see it for yourself, with no numbers or names. When you simply climb here, preferably at dusk, you can actually feel the history beating inside of all the monuments, and in the 360 degree view around you.
The view from here is truly breathtaking. You can almost hear the knights fighting for their fair maidens at the Edinburgh tournaments, they ride on their horses, give roses to their ladies, after they fight and then they all dance. Ah, the medieval times, so beautiful in their primal nature. Was life simpler back then? Who knows. I know that every era is wonderful and amazing, but I can’t help but love those days that I have never seen and times that I can only experience in my dreams, for they are magical, and dangerous, and so worth living for.
You just can’t beat that light.. On the left, the golden sunshine is touching the Dugald Stewart Monument, who was a Scottish philosopher, and the monument was also modelled after a Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece (more info here).
You can see many photographers here, but most of my photos here were taken with a very old iPhone, believe it or not. Some were taken by my friends, and some even by strangers! You’ll see what I mean.
This place is a great place to hang out, either by yourself or with your friends, anyone whose heart isn’t made of stone will find The Hill and the view from here stunning. You would want to take lots of photos here, and it doesn’t matter if the photos are blurry or crystal clear, they will be your best memories, and you will cherish them more with years.
(photo taken by a lovely stranger)
This Charlie’s Angels style photo was made right in front of the Nelson Monument, which is, of course, a monument to the famous Admiral Nelson, whose column you have probably seen in Trafalgar Square in London, who was known for his extraordinary leadership and courage during the Napoleonic wars. He was also born in Norfolk!
Right behind the Nelson Monument here, to the right of girls, you can see Arthur’s Seat which is a must-climb hill/mountain range/cool place in Edinburgh, and you must know that you absolutely need to go there, if you have read my post on must-do things in Edinburgh here. Here is a better photo of Arthur’s Seat in all its sunshine glory.
It may not seem like a big climb from this point of view, but it will take you a couple of hours, add a few more if you want to spend more than 5 minutes on top of it, to take it all in. Okay, may be not that much. It will really depend on your walking speed and your abilities, and the length of time you wish to spend on the top to feel this beautiful northern wind in your hair, to catch that sun if it graces you with its presence, to touch the green grass and kick some mud off your feet while you’re at it. Twirl for a bit there, if you feel like it. I did.
One more building I would mention here would be the City Observatory, pictured below.
The observatory was established in 1776, and is, I believe, connected with the Royal Observatory that is located in Blackford Hill in Edinburgh.
If you are ever in this beautiful city…do come here, and experience it for yourself. You will see many things that you would want to remember for all eternity.
You will feel tiny and you will feel grand. You would want to stay here forever, in Scotland, the land of fairies and sea monsters, Alexander Fleming and Gordon Ramsay, William Wallace and Alex Ferguson, Robert Burns and J.K. Rowling, Shrek and Duncan MacLeod, Andy Murray and Sir Walter Scott, Richard Madden, Rose Leslie and Rory McCann. Enjoy it.
Thank you for reading x