on April 25, 2006
The Sir Walter Scott monument, one of the most stunning and eye catching buildings in the Edinburgh skyline, a skyline that I feel is hard to top anywhere in the world. Ever since my first steps onto Princes Street I have been in awe of this structure, 200 feet of blackened sandstone reaching above the heights of Princes Street in wondrously Edinburgh style.I love this monument from both a travellers, and a photographers point of view—though it must be said it's one of the hardest buildings in the city to photograph well. And yet, despite my love affair (and massive collection of 'almost' photos of it) I'd never ventured to the top.The Scott Monument is rarely listed as something 'to do' for those visiting Edinburgh, and I've no idea why. I'd lived in the city—with a local—for over a year before I realized you could actually go to the top. And then, as is often the way when you live somewhere, I never made the time to do it. With every visitor we had we excitedly told them about the Scott Monument and how it would be a perfect time for us to go up and see it as well, and every time—for what ever reason—we never got around to it. Many days I set out to go up it and take some shots of the city, but the weather turned before I got there and so did my attention.I recently returned from Oz and months of sight-seeing and was reinvigorated to be out seeing the sights, and my first stop was the Scott Monument. It was a surprisingly sunny day in early April and Princes Street Gardens was buzzing with all the happy Scots, out to try and enjoy the sun. The grass in the gardens is a green you rarely see outside of Britain, and makes for a beautiful contrast to the darkened stone of the Gothic city. All the early spring flowers are blooming on the hill to the castle and being carefully cultivated below the monument in the gardens.If you are in Edinburgh… particularly in the spring, be sure to go up the Scott Monument. To my delight the ticket up was only £3, and is accompanied by a nice certification that you've in fact climbed the 287 winding steps to the top.The view from all of the levels is incredible, offering ways of seeing (and photographing) the city it would be very hard to get elsewhere. The sound of a piper floats high up to you in the heavy Edinburgh breeze and the atmosphere at the top is amazing. Beware, though, if you have problems with enclosed spaces. The stairway near the top is VERY narrow, barely allowing for one person, and the top lookout is equally crowded. But having said that, it is well, well worth the climb and the £3, for brilliant views of a magnificent city and a real feel for the majesty of Scotland's capital.
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