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.
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.
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.
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.
Although my first complete year in Scotland has been a relatively quiet year since losing my father in July, I think I have made the right decision to move here after living on the border for 10 years. I have had some great day walks, trips and life experiences, which only living in Scotland could have afforded me. I wish you all a very happy and successful year for 2020 and hope you will return to my sites in the New Year.
Sometimes in life we have to make the most of where we are, and the time and the resources available to us, and these dictate our adventures more than our daydreams and long term plans. So a couple of days in Edinburgh is to me the equivalent of an expedition to the Matterhorn in terms of the escapism it affords at the moment. As I spent a while living in London, I have learned to appreciate urban walking and green spaces, and how much they can add to the quality of life in a large city.
A recent trip to Edinburgh became an adventure as I decided on the train to finally climb up the crags to Arthur’s Seat, and experience this familiar city from a new angle.
The views across Edinburgh and out onto the Firth of Forth just get better and better as you go, so don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. This walk is written up in Edinburgh Exploits