Calton Hill Edinburgh

Climb the steps and short path to the top of Calton Hill from Waterloo Place and you will see views of Scotland for up to 100 miles on a clear day. To the east, west and north you can see the River Forth and the famous red Forth Rail Bridge, Queensferry Crossing and the many islands in the Firth of Forth. This includes the Bass Rock, named by David Attenborough as ‘one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world’. To the east Berwick Law, a 613-foot (187 m) volcanic hill (which is worth a climb). Looking over to Arthur Seat and Salisbury Crags below you can see Holyrood Abbey, Holyrood Palace, Scottish Parliament Building and Dynamic Earth. Just over the road you can see the memorial to Robert Burns and an enormous obelisk which remembers the political martyrs of 1793, who were banished for sedition and lived the remainder of their lives in Australia. The Nelson Monument (built in 1807) in the form of an upturned telescope can be climbed by the 143 spiral stairs to the top. It is well worth the climb just for the view. Edinburgh’s National Monument referred to as “The Athens of the North” (a replica of the Parthenon), the unfinished monument is to commemorate victims of the Napoleonic Wars. The project was started in 1826 and, as you can see, is still not finished.

Calton Hill Edinburgh

The Way Up Calton Hill Edinburgh

The way up Calton Hill is from Waterloo Place opposite St Andrew’s House headquarters building of the Scottish Government. There are a short number of steps before a path which takes you around and up the Calton Hill. A few metres up the path on the right are more steps which is a quick way to the top. (if you are not fit, take the path).

First steps up Calton Hill Edinburgh from street level Pathway up and around to top of Calton Hill Edinburgh Quick way up Steps from Pathway up Calton Hill Edinburgh

The Three Tenors Calton Hill

Before you climb the steps and go up the hill look to your right of the steps where there is a bronze memorial plaque to the original 3 Tenners. They were at the time the most famous Singers in the world. The three men pictured on the bronze plaque are: David Kennedy a world renowned Scottish tenor born in Perth 1825 and died at the age of 61. John Wilson was a singer born in Edinburgh in 1800 and sang in front of Queen Victoria and in Covent Garden and Drury Lane he died in Quebec at age 49. John Templeton was the greatest musical artist of his time. He travelled the world and was a tenor opera singer born in Riccarton Kilmarnock 1802 and died in his home in Hampton age 84.

The Worlds Best Singers of their Time all Scottish

Saint Volodymyr The great ruler of Ukraine

Volodymyr was born circa 960, Volodymyr, meaning peaceful ruler. On 11 July 978 become the “sole ruler” of the Kyiv realm. Few names in the annals of history can compare in significance with the name of holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Volodymyr, the Baptiser of Rus’, who stands forever at the onset of the foreordained spiritual destiny of the Russian Church and the Russian Orthodox people. 

  Ukrainian Saints Plaque Calton Hill   Saint Volodymyr the Great Calton Hill

Rock House Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill

Inscription on plaque reads; Rock House | The Studio of the | pioneer photographers | Robert Adamson and | David Octavius Hill | 1843 – 1847

Photographers Studio of Hill and Adamson

Robert Adamson set up his pioneering Calotype photographic studio at the Rock House on Calton Hill in 1843 and in the same year became partners with David Octavius Hill in the next 5 years up to the death of Robert Adamson they duo made over 3000 calotype images in and around Edinburgh of the people and scenery.  David Octavius Hill was a landscape painter and illustrator who carried work out for both Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Robert Adamson was a Chemist.  He experimented with a process that created the first photographic negative. The two men were brought together at the signing of the Deed of Demission, the act that marked the founding of the Free Church of Scotland.  Rock House on Calton Hill in Edinburgh became the centre of their photographic experiments using the calotype process.

 Rock House Gate Calton Hill Steps   Rock House Photographic Studio of Hill and Adamson Calton Hill Edinburgh  Rock House Garden Edinburgh 

The Portuguese Cannon Calton Hill Edinburgh

The Portuguese cannon was made of brass around 1400 and has travelled all over the world. On the barrel can be seen the Spanish Royal Coat of Arms. In 1886 it was presented to Edinburgh and has stood on Calton Hill since 1887. The writing on the information board reads; The Portuguese Cannon | This brass cannon has travelled all over the | world. Cast in the early 15th century with | the royal arms of Spain on its barrel, the | cannon was transported to the Portuguese | colonies in southwest Asia sometime before 1785. | Then either by trade or capture, the | cannon came in to possession of the | king of Arakan, ruler of the state on the | west coast of Burma. It was subsequently | captured by the British during their invasion | of Burma in 1885. | In 1886 the cannon was presented to | Edinburgh and placed on the Calton Hill the | following year. Philip IV of Spain 1605 – 1665 was king when the cannon was thought to have been made.

Portuguese Canon with City Observatory Calton Hill Edinburgh   Portuguese Cannon Information Board Calton Hill Edinburgh

The National Monument Calton Hill Edinburgh

The National Monument was modelled upon the Parthenon in Athens one of the reasons that Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the North. Construction started in 1826 and, due to the lack of funds, was left unfinished. The monument has the nickname of, “Edinburgh’s Disgrace”, another reason Edinburgh is known as the Athens of the North is that the buildings of the new town were built of white sand stone which resembled marble.

 Scotland's National Monument Calton Hill Edinburgh 

Scotland’s National Monument and Nelson Monument with the Time Ball

Calton Hill National Monument and Neson Monument with Time Ball

Dugald Stewart FRSE FRS Memorial Calton hill Edinburgh

Dugald Stewart was a Scottish Enlightenment Philosopher and mathematician. Born in Edinburgh in 1753, educated at the Royal High School, Edinburgh University and Oxford University. He died in 1828 and is buried in the Canongate Kirk graveyard.

 Dugald Stewart FRSE FRS Memorial Calton hill Edinburgh  Dugald Stewart Monument Calton Hill with Edinburgh Castle , Hub , Balmoral Hotel, North Bridge, Scott Monument looking West

Nelson Monument Calton Hill Edinburgh

The Nelson Monument is dedicated to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The foundation stone was laid on 21 October 1807 and the monument was completed in 1816. The monument is shaped like an upside down telescope. It is linked with the One O’clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle. The ball on the mast rises every day at 5 minutes before 1p.m. (13.00hrs) not on Sunday.  

The Brass plaque at the side of the door to enter the Nelson Monument reads: Construction of the Nelson Monument was completed in 1816. The design by architect Robert Burn (1752- 1815) resembles a navel telescope. It was erected to commemorate Lord Nelson’s victory at sea over Napoleon’s navy at Trafalgar on the 21st October 1805. On the 200th anniversary Captain Chris Smith Royal Navy presented this plaque to Lord Provost Donald Wilson.

  Nelson Monument Calton Hill Edinburgh  

Inscriptions: Above main door on the Stone tablet reads: 

TO THE MEMORY OF VICE ADMIRAL HORATIO LORD VISCOUNT NELSON, AND OF THE GREAT VICTORY OF TRAFALGAR | TOO DEARLY PURCHASED WITH HIS BLOOD | THE GRATEFUL CITIZENS OF EDINBURGH HAVE ERECTED THIS MONUMENT | NOT TO EXPRESS THEIR UNAVAILING SORROW FOR HIS DEATH | NOR YET TO CELEBRATE THE MATCHLESS GLORIES OF HIS LIFE | BUT BY HIS NOBLE EXAMPLE, TO TEACH THEIR SONS | TO EMULATE WHAT THEY ADMIRE, AND, LIKE HIM | WHEN DUTY REQUIRES IT, TO DIE FOR THEIR COUNTRY.

 Memorial Stone of Nelson Monument Calton Hill

The Time Ball Calton Hill Nelson Monument Edinburgh

Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth, the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland was first to have the idea of the time ball. With a clock maker Frederick James Ritchie they had it installed on a mast of Nelson Monument in 1853. The Time Ball on the mast of Nelson’s monument was originally a visual aid for the sailors in the Leith port and the Firth of Forth to set their chronometers by. Later due to the regular bad weather in Edinburgh it was decided that an audio aid would also be required and the Time Ball was attached to a steel cable over 4000 feet long and 240 feet in the air in 1861, which was attached to a clock in the Edinburgh Castle which set the gun to fire from the half-moon battery, is still synchronised with the One O’clock Gun to this day. The ball will rise up the mast circa 5 minutes before 13.00 hours and at one o’clock will return to the foot and the gun on the castle ramparts will be fired. Frederick James Ritchie clock maker of the One O’clock Gun stayed at 6 Brunton Place at the foot of the Calton Hill for 40 years.

 The Time Ball on Nelson Monument Calton Hill Edinburgh   Frederick James Ritchie and Professor Charles Piazzi Smyth built the Time Ball

   The Gothic Tower  James Craig House Calton Hill  

James Craig was born in Edinburgh in 1739 and was educated at George Watson’s Hospital. He made his name by winning a competition to build Edinburgh’s New Town in 1766. He design and built the Gothic Tower on Calton Hill as part of the new Observatory in 1777 but the council ran out of money and it wasn’t until 1792 the the New Observatory was completed. James Craig lived in the West Bow just of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh and Died there in 1795. He is buried in the Greyfriars Kirk burial Ground.   

Gothic Tower Calton Hill Edinburgh  Gothic Tower Calton Hill Edinburgh  James Craig's House Calton Hill plaque

City Observatory Calton Hill Edinburgh

The First Observatory in Edinburgh was founded in 1776 on Calton Hill by Thomas Short and was demolished in 1850 and moved to Castle Hill, the building where the Camera Obscura is now. The Gothic Tower was used for several years as the site of a new observatory before the City Observatory was built in 1818. In 1822 it became the Royal Observatory and moved to Blackford Hill in 1896 where it still stands. It has been a world leader in astronomy from then to this day. 

First Edinburgh City Observatory and Gothic House Calton Hill   

The Plaque on the wall of the Observatory on Calton Hill reads; TO JOHN PLAYFAIR | HIS FRIENDS’ PIETY | SPURRED ON BY CONSTANT LONGINGS | IN THE PLACE WHERE HE HIMSELF | HAD ONCE DEDICATED A TEMPLE | TO HIS URANIA | THIS MONUMENT | PLACED | 1826 | BORN 10TH MARCH 1748 | DIED 19TH JULY 1819

 Edinburgh City Observatory and Gothic House Calton Hill Edinburgh Wall Inscription of City Observatory Calton Hill

 

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