Infinite Scotland

Edinburgh and the Lothians

Edinburgh & The Lothians | Woodland

‘Auld Reekie’: the old, smokey city; Edinburgh. Scottish capital; heart of the Lothians. Its nickname was coined a few hundred years ago to describe the smoke from its tenement chimneys . But it’s appropriate over a much longer sweep of time, and in many different ways.

It could describe the area of the city and the wider Lothians, hundreds of millions of years ago, as stinking gases and ash clouds belched from volcanoes blowing their tops. It could be the stench of the Old Town before the city expanded in the late 1700s, or the odour of the Nor’ Loch , whose dank waters once filled the basin where Princes Street Gardens  now spreads in parklife splendour. It could be the fug of candles, and the smell of human sweat and spilt wine in cellars where lords, lowlife, lawyers and philosophers met and imaginations took flight in the finest flowering of ideas Scotland has ever known.

Culture

Auld Reekie

Culture

Auld Reekie! Wale o’ ilka toun That Scotland kens beneath the moon Robert Fergusson, 1772 ‘Auld Reekie’: the old, smokey city; Edinburgh. Scottish capital; heart of the Lothians. Its nickname was coined a few hundred years ago to describe the smoke from its tenement ...
More information
Culture

Cairnpapple Hill

Culture

The ceremonial and burial monuments at the top of Cairnpapple, a hill between Linlithgow and Bathgate, are a link to some of that early activity. The view from Cairnpapple is superb. On a clear day, you can see across the whole of Central Scotland, from the North Sea at the east to Goat Fell on the ...
More information
Culture

Castle Rock

Culture

Best known of all the occupied rocks is the one at the very core of the Lothians and the heart of Edinburgh: Castle Rock. It’s a fortress now and was a fortress long ago, including when the Britons of what was then called ‘Dun Eidyn’ had it as a stronghold. An epic poem tells of how w...
More information
Culture

Charles Darwin

Culture

Another scientist of top world rank , Charles Darwin, spent time in the city as a medical student. It was on the shores of the Forth, at Prestonpans and elsewhere, that he carried out some of his early scientific work. Long before he became famous for what he discovered in distant southern seas and ...
More information
Wildlife

Forth Oysters

Wildlife

By the late 1700s, ‘Oyster cellars’ had become a popular across the town. The native oysters were harvested not far away, in the Firth of Forth, from beds that at that time must have seemed inexhaustible. Millions of oysters were dredged from to supply Edinburgh, export to London or sell direct ...
More information
Culture

James Hutton

Culture

James Hutton lived eventually in a house overlooking Salisbury Crags. Hundreds of millions of years after the basalt lavas of Edinburgh’s volcanoes had cooled, Hutton was the first person to see the significance of the rocks at Salisbury Crags. He realised that they revealed how molten rock  ‘m...
More information
Other

King David and the White Stag

Other

A tale of one of the early kings of what by then had become Scotland brings a magical image of nature to the surrounds of Edinburgh. It tells how King David was at prayers in the castle on the rock, as part of ‘Holy Cross Day’ in mid September. The weather was fine and both the king and...
More information
Culture

Old Town Clubs

Culture

Many of the most notable of a remarkable collection of Scottish Enlightenment characters met, debated and shaped their world-shaking ideas in the clubs that became popular in the city in the 1700s. Some had playful, odd themes, such as the Boar Club that met, appropriately enough, in Daniel Hogg’s...
More information
Culture

Robert Fergusson

Culture

Edinburgh’s home-grown poet, Robert Fergusson, was a regular at one of the most famous oyster cellars run by Lucky Middlemiss, in the Cowgate. Fergusson influenced Burns (who visited the city after Fergusson’s death, and in turn, impressed the young Sir Walter Scott at a gathering). But Fergusso...
More information
Environment

The Old Town

Environment

If Holyrood had its origins in a mix of nature and miracle, the growth of the Old Town of Edinburgh seems more down to earth, even if its buildings eventually reached for the sky. The area from Castle Rock, along the old spine of volcanic rock that slopes down east towards Holyrood - including the H...
More information
Culture

The Scottish Enlightenment

Culture

There’s a tune: ‘The Flowers of Edinburgh’ named (with a big dollop of irony, some reckon) after the products of muck flinging, as the residents used to tip their rubbish and ordure into the streets.  Although the extremes of this practice had been controlled by the later 1700s, there was sti...
More information
Environment

Volcanic

Environment

Hills, isolated crags and other features that were forged in volcanic fires still set the scene across much of the land here; still rise near the coast and pock the waters of the Firth of Forth with distinctively shaped islands. Isle of May, Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Traprain Law, Arthur’s Seat, Cas...
More information
Wildlife

Forth Oysters

Wildlife

By the late 1700s, ‘Oyster cellars’ had become a popular across the town. The native oysters were harvested not far away, in the Firth of Forth, from beds that at that time must have seemed inexhaustible. Millions of oysters were dredged from to supply Edinburgh, export to London or sell direct ...
More information
Environment

The Old Town

Environment

If Holyrood had its origins in a mix of nature and miracle, the growth of the Old Town of Edinburgh seems more down to earth, even if its buildings eventually reached for the sky. The area from Castle Rock, along the old spine of volcanic rock that slopes down east towards Holyrood - including the H...
More information
Environment

Volcanic

Environment

Hills, isolated crags and other features that were forged in volcanic fires still set the scene across much of the land here; still rise near the coast and pock the waters of the Firth of Forth with distinctively shaped islands. Isle of May, Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Traprain Law, Arthur’s Seat, Cas...
More information
Culture

Auld Reekie

Culture

Auld Reekie! Wale o’ ilka toun That Scotland kens beneath the moon Robert Fergusson, 1772 ‘Auld Reekie’: the old, smokey city; Edinburgh. Scottish capital; heart of the Lothians. Its nickname was coined a few hundred years ago to describe the smoke from its tenement ...
More information
Culture

Cairnpapple Hill

Culture

The ceremonial and burial monuments at the top of Cairnpapple, a hill between Linlithgow and Bathgate, are a link to some of that early activity. The view from Cairnpapple is superb. On a clear day, you can see across the whole of Central Scotland, from the North Sea at the east to Goat Fell on the ...
More information
Culture

Castle Rock

Culture

Best known of all the occupied rocks is the one at the very core of the Lothians and the heart of Edinburgh: Castle Rock. It’s a fortress now and was a fortress long ago, including when the Britons of what was then called ‘Dun Eidyn’ had it as a stronghold. An epic poem tells of how w...
More information
Culture

Charles Darwin

Culture

Another scientist of top world rank , Charles Darwin, spent time in the city as a medical student. It was on the shores of the Forth, at Prestonpans and elsewhere, that he carried out some of his early scientific work. Long before he became famous for what he discovered in distant southern seas and ...
More information
Culture

James Hutton

Culture

James Hutton lived eventually in a house overlooking Salisbury Crags. Hundreds of millions of years after the basalt lavas of Edinburgh’s volcanoes had cooled, Hutton was the first person to see the significance of the rocks at Salisbury Crags. He realised that they revealed how molten rock  ‘m...
More information
Culture

Old Town Clubs

Culture

Many of the most notable of a remarkable collection of Scottish Enlightenment characters met, debated and shaped their world-shaking ideas in the clubs that became popular in the city in the 1700s. Some had playful, odd themes, such as the Boar Club that met, appropriately enough, in Daniel Hogg’s...
More information
Culture

Robert Fergusson

Culture

Edinburgh’s home-grown poet, Robert Fergusson, was a regular at one of the most famous oyster cellars run by Lucky Middlemiss, in the Cowgate. Fergusson influenced Burns (who visited the city after Fergusson’s death, and in turn, impressed the young Sir Walter Scott at a gathering). But Fergusso...
More information
Culture

The Scottish Enlightenment

Culture

There’s a tune: ‘The Flowers of Edinburgh’ named (with a big dollop of irony, some reckon) after the products of muck flinging, as the residents used to tip their rubbish and ordure into the streets.  Although the extremes of this practice had been controlled by the later 1700s, there was sti...
More information
Other

King David and the White Stag

Other

A tale of one of the early kings of what by then had become Scotland brings a magical image of nature to the surrounds of Edinburgh. It tells how King David was at prayers in the castle on the rock, as part of ‘Holy Cross Day’ in mid September. The weather was fine and both the king and...
More information