Although this continues to be a terrible period for many people around the world, the vaccines and the lockdowns have so far given the people here in Edinburgh an opportunity to cautiously reclaim their city.
Newcastle, where my parents lived, is not so far away from here, so I have had frequent visits to this city since I was a child, including many visits to the Edinburgh Festival, various concerts and exhibitions.
Berwick upon Tweed, where I lived and grew organic fruit, vegetables and herbs for almost 10 years, always felt more Scottish than English to me. Indeed the best thing about living in Berwick is Scotland.
I traveled regularly from Berwick to Edinburgh for shopping, work, study, culture, leisure, and for holidays throughout Scotland during those 10 years, but living here has hopefully given me greater insight into the city, the country and the people.
Because the city is normally thronging with visitors from around the world, residents have enjoyed this opportunity to re-inhabit the city centre without the crowds. Last week I suddenly realised that I may never see places like the Royal Mile without crowds again, so I have been exploring the old town and added some short central walks to my City Strolls on Viewranger / Outdooractive.
I hope you will enjoy these short walks as the restrictions are lifted from tomorrow. Remember to follow the guidelines and leave no trace.
As followers will know, I have been uploading my routes on to the ViewRanger app for several years. Apparently ViewRanger has now merged with the Outdooractive app, which is available from all the usual places. This is a subscription app offering high resolution maps.
Apparently Viewranger routes will remain with them indefinitely but I have now synchronised my routes onto the new app and will run both in tandem for the time being. I hope walkers will benefit from having the choice until I am able to compare the two apps more.
I wish them well at Outdooractive. It may take a while for me to update the links on this blog and my YouTube Channel. In the meantime, links to both sites can be found in the sidebar of this blog and on YouTube, and for Viewranger read Viewranger or Outdooractive in my blogposts. Thanks. 🌹
For out of town readers, Edinburgh and most of Scotland is in full lockdown again. All residents must stay at home and only go out for essential journeys and local exercise. I would like to assure readers that ALL photos posted since the first lockdown, and any posted in the coming weeks, are taken during permitted exercise in my local area, as I don’t have a car, and haven’t used buses for quite a while.
As a distraction, these are some pics of the city gradually being reclaimed or re-wilded by nature, as ground maintenance contracts ground to a halt last Spring. I have found something uplifting about watching this process and seeing the distinction between town and country blurring just a little.
Please stay as safe as you can and follow the guidelines. 🌹
I have added a new section to my Edinburgh walks called City Strolls which began with some of my much needed lockdown walks around the city. They are all under 5 miles and would suit anyone who just wants to get out of the house for exercise and a bit of vitamin D. These short routes avoid busy roads as much as possible, and are all accessible by public transport or on foot. Although I have suspended video making during the last year, GPX routes are available from my Outdooractive or Viewranger sites.
Hopefully following the rules until we get the vaccine will mean that walkers and outdoor users can expect a return to some kind of normality soon.
Don’t forget to refresh your website links with my new domain rucksackrosie.com with an i.
FYI I am now Rucksack Rosie with an i, rather than Rucksack Rose on all my sites, so the link to my website has changed to rucksackrosie.com just because it feels friendlier somehow. I am not a tech specialist but this may mean you will need to refresh your website links. My YouTube and Outdooractive sites are also now named Rucksack Rosie, although the links to each of them remain the same. Otherwise I am gradually editing the links in my blog so that they continue to work. If you find any broken links let me know. Thanks very much for your continued company.
For information, I have divided up my Scottish day walks into geographical walks and themed walks.
Under geographical walks so far there are two new sections entitled Border Beats and Edinburgh Exploits (including City Strolls). Under themed walks there is a section called Perthshire Protection about outdoor conservation work. I look forward to expanding all these in the fullness of time. Although I have suspended the video making during the pandemic, you can check out my Outdooractive / Viewranger route collection.
Obviously the walks I can do at the moment are limited by the present restrictions, but they may appeal to other people in the same situation.
Although these are strange and difficult times, there is some consolation in having the time to explore Edinburgh more – away from the main thoroughfares. It is a such a good way of getting to know and love my new home, as well as keeping things in perspective.
Most outdoor people and bloggers want everyone to enjoy the outdoors, but please respect the places that you go walking, whether it is the local park or the countryside.
Check the Scottish Outdoor Access Code for Scotland or the Countryside Code for England. Leave no trace of your visit so that you don’t spoil a day out for the next visitors. If you take a carrier bag out with you, it is easy to take your rubbish home with you after your walk. Simples.
I feel quite bonded to my local community and environment in Edinburgh after over a year and a half of living here, and 10 weeks of lockdown. Although there are many people and things I have missed during this time, three things I don’t miss are cars, motorbikes and planes. I have not experienced air quality like this since I was a child, and I will be very sad when all the motor vehicles return to the roads and the planes to the air. If only this could be a catalyst for real change instead of just a temporary suspension, our quality of life would be so much better.
Anyway, I kept a photo diary as a way to remember my lockdown in years to come. These are a few images from my one hour walks, which are to be increased from tomorrow in Scotland. I found a surprising amount of variety in my small patch of land.
Although I have been lucky enough not to need the services of the NHS so far, I would like to thank the shop workers at my local shops, my postal workers, delivery people and refuse collectors, who have kept my world turning in such important ways. My sincere condolences to anyone who has lost loved ones.