Scotland: Edinburgh / Leith Loop 15 km

Today’s mission was to explore the waterfront north of Edinburgh New Town. It ended up being quite a distance that we walked, close to 15km but we did see a lot along the way.

Di and I started around 9am and headed down our street. The north end of Leith Walk is definitely not an affluent area. And the suburb of Leith has a bit of a reputation as a tough spot.

Leith is the birthplace of the author of “Trainspotting”, Irvine Welsh. It is also the area that influenced the book (although the movie is set in Glasgow).

The twins from the band Proclaimers were born in Leith and sang the song called “I’m gonna be (500 miles)”.  Of course, we hummed that song as we were “on our way” towards 500 miles…

Closer to the port area, Leith was showing signs of gentrification. Widenings of footpaths in progress and al fresco coffee shops were present.

We stopped at a nice coffee shop for tea and coffee. Accompanied by pastries that we had bought from Lidl along the way.

We reached the end of the port area, east of a place called Ocean Terminal. This appeared to be the working end of the port although some equipment was already retired.

These old cranes had real character and looked good against the sky.

We headed west along the Port, which turned out to be a “lock” harbour. That meant no impact from the huge variations in tides here.

We found this lovely yacht sitting amongst the grotto port workings. The mismatch was striking.

Across the road was a partly new and partly improved residential area blending nicely with the older features.

This looked like an old rail bridge from the port but was no longer in use except for pedestrians and cyclists.

One weird feature. Perhaps they got planning approval but with a caveat to keep this old cottage. So they did – wedging it between 2 new buildings. Odd!

The end of the Ocean Terminal in Leith faced out towards the sea wall. The lock is on the right and beyond is the Firth of Forth, the main body of water north of Edinburgh.

Some artist put a great sculpture at the end of this disused pier. Don’t jump…

As we rounded the corner we caught a glimpse of Royal Yacht Britannia. Although with blocked views from fencing and entry gangways etc.

We realized the nearby 6 story car park could have good views from the open top level and went up. For free, we got the best scenery, including some Geoffrey Smart style photo here.

We could see for miles – looking north

North west – the large orange ship appeared to be a rescue vessel from Norway.

Looking back to where we came from…

As expected we had great views also of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Good Mrs’ half British ancestry was showing through…

OK, we are cheapskates but..  When we investigated going onboard we decided that we did not want to pay the £12 fee each. To support one of the richest families in the world and join tour groups with “older” people. So we moved on…

The huge tides became obvious once we were past the lock harbour. We found small fishing boats in “port” but sitting on mud.

We assumed that the boat owners pay mooring fees for this.

Interesting and we liked the little blue boat – at a distance it looked almost like a toy.

This church caught our eye – Alien Rock???

We understand that a lot of old British churches have become obsolete and now have a new commercial life. This usage of an old church was new to us… it was now an indoor climbing centre.

It sort of makes sense – the centre nave of the church had a high wooden roof – you could still see parts of it. And maybe some climbers think that God may still be watching over them…

And if you didn’t know what to there inside, it was spelt out on the wall…

The shoreline is definitely not resort-worthy but attractive in its own way. We had learned that this part of Scotland sits on ancient volcanos,  worn down to smaller hills by glaciers. The rock is different to Sydney sandstone.

We reached the end of the port area and doubled back, heading uphill a little to get back near the centre of town. We found ourselves in nicer residential area for a while, some with nice views.

The top of these stairs were a bit of a worry – did Good Mrs dare to walk through?

Well of course she did because a pub lunch was waiting – somewhere…

It was after 2pm when we found “The Other Place”, which turned out to be a nice lunch spot and worth the search. We got a great set of comfy chairs by the windows.

We had seen a restaurant’s dinner menu item called “Cullen Skink with Arbroath Smokie”. A brand new dish for us. Today Di ordered it for lunch. Brave move?

Nope – turns out it is a thick creamy chowder with potatoes, leek and smoked kipper. Delicious!

After lunch, we wandered back home to arrive around 4ish having felt that we had seen a fair bit of the Leith area.

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