"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

26 January 2009

Each week the Rampant Scotland Newsletter includes a number of photographs which illustrate the weather and the seasons, plus the flora and fauna of the current week around Scotland. This separate "colour supplement" displays some more pictures, in a larger format. Here is this week's crop of Scottish views!

Here is a wintry-looking Edinburgh Castle, with grey skies and the rocks glistening in the rain. In the summer time, Princes Street Gardens below are often bustling with a mixture of tourists and office workers - but there were few folk walking through on the day this recent photo was taken.

The Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens is open all year round - but it can be a bit chilly in January walking round the open observation decks. The five-star Balmoral Hotel is located beside Waverley Station, the main railway terminus in Edinburgh. The Balmoral was built originally as the North British Hotel and opened its doors for the first time on October 15, 1902. The clock is traditionally kept two minutes fast - to ensure that tardy travellers hurry up and catch their train.

If a railway company came along today with a plan to run a busy railway line below Edinburgh Castle, through Princes Street Gardens and build the city's largest station below the "Old Town" of the city, conservationists would have a fit. But in Victorian times, that was exactly what they did. Fortunately, the tracks to Waverley Station were built in a deep cutting, so many visitors are unaware that the trains are there - except when the trains give a blast or their horns!

To the left of the castle (looked at from Princes Street below) and adjoining the castle's forecourt or esplanade, are the elegant houses of Ramsay Gardens. The delightful jumble of different architectural styles was conceived in the 18th century, with 19th century additions. The development takes its name from Allan Ramsay Snr, who started out as a wig-maker but became a poet and bibliophile. His "Goose-pie" house is an octagonal shape while the flat created by Sir Patrick Geddes, the father of town planning, has a 360-degree panoramic view.

Every time I go to take a photo of St Giles cathedral, it is either surrounded by scaffolding for its latest refurbishment, or there are contractors' vehicle parked along the frontage. So even though it was a dull, overcast sky, I immediately took this photograph - before the workmen come back again!

On Thursday of this week, as temperatures dropped, there were showers of sleet and hail in many parts of central Scotland. The hailstones on the ground provide an unusual backdrop for the flowers of this Skimmia Japonica in my own garden.

If you want to look back at earlier editions of this Colour Supplement, there is an Index Page

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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