Tuesday 24.8.2010

With an hour to spare before meeting Edinburgh-based blogger, Cornflower, for lunch, it s time to stretch the legs and take you on a quick literary tour in the vicinity of Charlotte Square.  Unfortunately it is a grey, overcast day with intermittent drizzle.   (So don’t be too critical of the lighting on the photos.)

Exit the book festival, turn right and take the first left into Rose Street where there are many pubs and eateries with literary connections.

If Walter Scott is your preference, the Kenilworth, named after his 1821 novel, could be the place for you.

Or if you are looking for more recent connections, and would like to drink a dram in the favoured haunt of the poets of  the Scottish Renaissance, Hugh MacDiarmid et al, you could pop into Milnes of Rose Street, “The Poets Pub” ….

… which according to The Literary Traveller’s Guide to Edinburgh , has been refurbished inside and no longer has any ressemblance to the way it was.  Far better to walk a few yards further to The Abbotsford with its original bar, a bastion of traditional ales, malts and good pub grub.

The pub is named after Sir Walter Scott’s mock baronial house in the Borders.  Coming to the end of Rose Street turn right to greet the great man himself.

Facing the memorial look left – Waverley station is on the right and in the distance, there’s Carlton Hill where you can find the Burns Memorial and the Edinburgh Pantheon.  Definitely a destination for a sunnier day when not loaded with the proverbial book bag(s).


Turning right once more and doubling back on ourselves, we’re now walking down Princes Street.  Past the National Gallery which is today decked out with daisies in honour of the current Impressionist Gardens exhibition.

On the corner of the Mound and Princes Street Gardens, we pass the statue of Allan Ramsay, a poet, inspiration to Robert Burns and founder of the first British public lending library.

Turning right onto Hanover Street,  we walk uphill for one block only.  Crossing George Street, we start going downhill.  On the left,  we confront The Jekyll and Hyde. 

It’s far too dark and gothic for me.  I’ll just pop my head in for the photo opportunity.

Continuing downhill, past Queen Street Gardens, onto Dundas Street.  For those that love them, and I do, we’re entering Georgian sash window territory.

Down the hill two blocks, cross Dundas Street and turn right into Cumbernauld Street. Deep into Alexander McCall-Smith territory, our destination is at the end of the street, the Cumbernauld Bar, where I’m hoping to spot Angus Lordie and Cyril.


(Proving that this was done in real-time, once I met Cornflower, incidentally for the first time, the blethering about books and Edinburgh and all things literary was so enjoyable, that I forgot to take any pictures of the interior …. oops!)