Saturday, 21 April 2012


I arrived in Edinburgh at Waverley Station. The station sits in a steep, narrow valley between the medieval Old Town and the 18th century New Town. Princes Street, the premier shopping street, runs along one side. The valley is bridged by the 1897 North Bridge, a three-span iron and steel bridge, which passes high above the station's eastern section, and Waverley Bridge, which, by means of ramps, affords one of the main entrances to the station. The valley was formerly filled by a freshwater loch, the Nor Loch, drained in the early 19th century. With the explosion of railway travel in Britain, three railway companies built stations in the valley in the course of the 1840s. The collective name "Waverley", after the Waverley novels by Sir Walter Scott, was used for the three from around 1854. This is the view of the station roof from the North Bridge looking towards Calton Hill and its monuments.

The castellated structure is the Governor's House of the Old Calton Gaol, next to the government offices of St. Andrew's House. The Scottish architect William Henry Playfair was responsible for many of the monumental structures on the summit of the hill most notably the Scottish National Monument.This monument was intended to be another Parthenon and to commemorate Scottish Soldiers killed in the Napoleonic wars. Construction started in 1826 but work was stopped in 1829 when the building was only partially built due to lack of money. It has never been completed. Also on the hill by Playfair is the Dugald Stewart Monument, a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753–1828) and the Nelson Monument erected in 1816. On top of the Nelson Monument is the Time Ball. The ball is raised half way up its pole at the top of the Nelson Monument at 12.55am, then raised to the top of the pole at 12.58pm, then is allowed to fall, about 8ft, to the bottom of the pole at 1pm. The end of the fall is dampened by a plunger in a column of water. This happens daily, except when the weather is too windy or foggy. The original purpose of the time ball was to give a visible signal that the time was 1pm to the shipping in Leith Harbour and the Firth of Forth.

HM General Register House, Edinburgh This is a public building designed by Robert Adam and now home to the National Records of Scotland. In front of it stands a statue of the Duke of Wellington on horseback.

Several views of Princes Street Gardens (or more correctly East Princes Street Garden - I didn't have time to go to the West Garden.) Note the amazing weather for the middle of March in Scotland!

This picture shows the Scott Memorial and The North British Hotel at the east end of Princes Street with its high tower displaying large clocks. It was renamed the Balmoral Hotel in the 1980s, though the old name is still shown in the stonework. Since the building opened, the clock on the hotel has run three minutes ahead of real time to encourage tardy travellers to get to the station on time!

The Scott Monument is a Victorian Gothic monument to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. It stands in Princes Street Gardens. The tower is 200 feet 6 inches (61.11 m) high, and was built between 1841 and 1844.

The Melvillle Monument, St Andrew Square Garden, Edinburgh

To finish some views from the railway as we travelled down the west coast on a gloriously sunny afternoon.
Berwick on Tweed with its famous landmark bridges. The first picture is taken as the train crossed the Royal Border Bridge. The bridge in the foreground is the Royal Tweed Bridge behind which is the Old Bridge.

For the technically minded:
 • The Royal Border Bridge, designed and built under the supervision of Robert Stephenson in 1847 at a cost of £253,000, is a 720-yard-long railway viaduct with 28 arches, carrying the East Coast Main Line 126 feet above the River Tweed. It was opened by Queen Victoria in 1850.
 • The Old Bridge or Berwick Bridge , 15-span red sandstone arch bridge measuring 1,164 feet in length, built between 1610 and 1624, at a cost of £15,000. The engineer was James Burrell.
 • The Royal Tweed Bridge : Construction took place between 1925 and 1928. It was undertaken by L G Mouchel & Partners. It is a reinforced concrete structure comprising four unequal arches. The bridge altogether spans a distance just short of 430 metres. However, the spans of the arches themselves (50.1, 74.4, 95.5 and 108.50 metres) vary remarkably, so much so that the longest, northern arch for a while held the record for Great Britain's largest concrete arch.

A lst view of Berwick on Tweed.

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