Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Up Close And Personal With Sir Walter Scott

I will post more about last weekend in Edinburgh, but on Sunday morning I was wandering round and noticed a flash of red halfway up the Scott Monument, which houses a statue of Sir Walter Scott within a huge spire like structure. There is a virtual tour here but when I looked it was just a picture and a bit of text, I was expecting a 3D 360˚ tour , but either they've not done it yet are don't know what people expect of a virtual tour.

Scott Monument Through The Trees

Anyway I thought I'd walk up and saw the "Best Views In Edinburgh" advertised, and saw the entry
fee was £5 and it was 287 steps to the top, which is more than doable and went to pay and discovered I had no cash. The guy directed me to the Waverly Station Mall but as it was only 10:30 it was shut, so I found a Barclays on the main street and went back, paid my money, went through the turnstile, and saw my first problem. I'm mildly claustrophobic and was presented with a very narrow stone spiral staircase. I took a breath and went for it, going round and round and up. There are four levels so I reckoned this would be about 70 steps and I should be OK as long as I didn't meet anyone coming the other way. I think the lighting is minimal but eventually I saw daylight and came out on the first level, and chatted with a few people.

I also suffer from mild vertigo, although level one was only a quarter of the way there. I took a few photographs and then hit the second stairs. Still narrow, spiral and cramped although they did have the luxury of a handrail. This time I met a couple coming down, luckily they were quite slim (I am not), and there was a lot of bodily contact as we squeezed past each other on those stairs. If I met someone as big as me coming in the opposite direction I may have a problem, though maybe people like me don't usually go up Scott's Monument.

I came out on Level two and the views were much better, and the next staircase was in the main spire, much wider , with a handrail but with lots of wire covered openings, not ideal if you're scared of heights. A few pics , a few conversations and thought Level 3 here I come and set off for Level 3.

Here I digress...into a short horror story by I think Christopher Fowler. He's in his car and drives into a underground car park, there's a car follows him through the barrier so he descends looking for a parking spot , followed by a couple of cars, he starts noticing that the descending lanes are getting narrower, and he becomes jammed, he can't reverse, and it's getting hotter .....

That's what happened with the level three stairs, they started to narrow, the handrail disappeared but luckily there was light and I came out on level three and the height started to really get to me , I was feeling distinctly queasy. I forced my self to take more pictures and some instagram video here.

Coming down was a lot easier, though there was a group of about ten who had to squeeze past me on their way up. I came out and the guy reckoned the views from Level 3 and 4 were the same.

It was an experience that I would recommend to anyone , but I've done it now and don't need to do it again.

There's only one song and it has to be Siouxsie & the Banshees "The Staircase (Mystery)" which I could hear in my head as I walked up .

Have a great day my friends.

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