Last Saturday morning (which was April Fool’s Day!) I found myself beside the ticket machine at Glasgow Queen Street Station collecting my Glasgow to Edinburgh train ticket. As I pulled the ticket out from behind the plastic flap, I thought to myself, ‘well getting to Edinburgh is going to be a helluva lot easier than originally planned!’
You see, at the last minute I bailed from the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra (55 miles). I’d been looking forward to it–another ultra in my homeland–but my training leading up to the race was a fraction of what it should have been to get me from start to finish (even considering the course had been cut short by a mile!) Trying out my running legs in the days before, I realised it was silly to think I could run 54 miles.
But I’d booked a hotel in Edinburgh and had also made plans to visit a friend not too far from that beautiful city, a city I love to visit. So I went! Not by foot, but by train! Needless to say, the journey was a breeze!
And good things happened that weekend. I got to have a run in Edinburgh, on a sunny spring morning, very early and long before the crowds were up. It was a great wee run, taking in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Holyrood Park.
Here are some pics and the route.
First, my squiggly strava image of the route.
The hotel where I stayed was close to Haymarket (I’d chosen a hotel that was only a short hobble from the finish line of my race-that-didn’t-happen) and from the hotel I ran to Princes Street gardens and past The Ross Fountain. The plaque next to the fountain tells its history and tells that, for now, the fountain is switched off, apparently because water was leaking into the monument’s structure; so experts are having to figure out what repairs are needed to prevent damage to this magnificent piece of history.
Not far from the fountain is the Norwegian Brigade War Memorial, which is a great big boulder made of gneiss. You can read the inscription and ponder the words, as I did. Jeez, thinking about that era always makes me feel so humble.
It reads: During the war years 1940-45 the Norwegian brigade and other army units were raised and trained in Scotland where we found hospitality, friendship and hope during dark years of exile. In grateful memory of our friends and allies on these isles. This stone was erected in the year 1978
I left Princes Street Gardens and found a nice stair workout up towards the castle esplanade.
Up there on the castle esplanade, I saw council workmen emptying bins, a couple of walkers, and one other runner. Other than that, the palce was empty! The castle looked so lovely in the quiet morning sunshine.
Heading down the Royal Mile I came across, down a narrow alley, a sign for The Writer’s Museum. Now, I’ve got to return to have a look in there.
Here’s a couple more pics from the Royal Mile. There were a lot of white vans and cables around and I’m guessing from the looks of it that there’s currently a film or TV show being filmed on these mean, ancient streets.
I headed downhill and passed by The Scottish Parliament and “Our Dynamic Earth”, before heading back uphill. Yeah, I was in Holyrood Park. I took the trail that wound below Salisbury crags heading uphill towards Arthur’s seat with amazing views of Edinburgh and beyond. I was blessed with a clear day so got these nice shots.
OK, here’s a funny sign seen on the trail up to Arthur’s seat.
I more or less retraced my route back to the hotel stopping to take a picture of the Scott Monument. It was built after Scottish author Sir Walter Scott’s death in 1832 and is the largest monument to a writer in the world! Get that!
I jogged the final stretch of Princes Street gardens. More people were up and about but it was still pretty quiet.
I headed back to the hotel to get my stuff, before walking the mile or so back to Waverly Station to get a train to see my friend. So out of a failed ultra, I had a great couple of days in Edinburgh.