Edinburgh is a beautiful city with lots of buildings made from local sandstone. Edinburgh is actually built on a number (seven) of small hills (you’ll notice that as you walk around) and an extinct volcano – which is very noticeable up at Arthur’s Seat (which just happens to be one of the earliest places inhabited in the area. Always a sensible move, building a settlement on a hill top).
I didn’t realise until this trip that the Romans did make it across the border, up to Lothian, which is not a million miles from what is now Edinburgh. The area was already settled and I’m not sure what the Scots made of their visitors. I can’t find any evidence that the Romans conquered them. However, in 638 the King of Northumbria besieged the area and it came under his rule. Not quite the start of a beautiful friendship.
Fast forward to 1603 when James VI of Scotland was asked to take the throne of England as James I. The two countries did not unite at this point in time, it was what was known as the Union of the Crowns. It wasn’t until the Acts of Union were passed in both the Scottish and English legislature in the 18th century that the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed, on 1 May 1707.
From being described as one of Europe’s most densely populated, overcrowded and unsanitary towns in the first half of the 18th century, Edinburgh morphed into the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment in the second half, when it was nicknamed the Athens of the North.
Various industries grew in Edinburgh: brewing, distilling, and later, rubber works and engineering. Like all towns and cities, Edinburgh went through changes of fortune and areas changed. By the 1990s, there was a financial district, the second largest in the UK, and a business park known as Edinburgh Park.
Edinburgh is on the south side of the Firth of Forth. There are great views from Arthur’s Seat, one of the extinct volcanos. It’s a lovely city to walk around, with the Castle way on the top of that hill – actually a part of extinct volcano, the Old Town, Calton Hill and the Royal Mile. There are over 4,500 listed buildings in Edinburgh, which is pretty impressive.
Dinner was at Howies, Waterloo Place, which is at the bottom of Calton Hill. If you visit, try the Cullen Skink, a Scottish soup made from haddock, potatoes and onions. It’s delicious. Well, all the food is delicious, but I’m particularly enamoured of the Cullen Skink. (I’ve found a recipe and will try making it.)
We stayed at Point A Hotel, a newly opened hotel, close to where we were working, in the Haymarket area. Very modern and high tec, beautifully clean. I congratulated myself on working out how to use the TV in my room without any mishaps (I have some history with TVs, and not in a good way). I’m sure it was because I staying that they had an event on that involved free drinks…. And we got back from dinner in time to join in.
I suppose all that remains is to say we flew with Flybe on a Dash 8, which made my brother very jealous.
I’m going to go back to Edinburgh for something other than work soon. Watch this space.
© Susan Shirley 2019
Ishfaque Ahmed Rustamani, District Coordinator Local Support Unit (LSU), Reform Support Unit, District Ghotki.