Do you ever have those moments when you notice something out of the corner of your eye that makes you look up and smile? Of course you do. We all do. Or maybe it’s just me. Either way I had one such moment the other day.
I was leaving the office the other day (OK, quite a few days ago now, but the blog was a bit too busy last week to mention it) and noticed for the first time that you can see Edinburgh Castle from the front door. If you look past the trees and the rugby posts (there’s a school playing field across the road from us) it’s right there. On the other side of this playing field lies a place with an even better view, one with a practically uninterrupted vista of the entire city skyline, Inverleith Park. As I happened to be going to town anyway I decided that I’d ditch the idea of the bus and take a stroll through the park. The perfect antidote to a day in the office.
The park is situated just north of the city centre and is one of the largest in the city. In fact at 54 acres it is one of the largest ‘urban parks’ in the country. If you’d like to find out a little more then have a look at the park website over here. The majority of the park is given over to big playing fields, but also has a variety of paths, gardens, a play park and (of course) its famous pond.
Having lived not too far from this huge expanse of green for so long it’s hardly surprising that I’ve been here a fair few times over the years, but I hadn’t realised until I walked through just how long it had been.
What I will always most remember about Inverleith Park is that it was from here that we used to go watch the end of festival fireworks when I was little. Like many we used to take our rugs and a little portable radio (to listen to the music that’s broadcast along with the fireworks, not to hear the actual fireworks, you can most certainly hear the bangs from the park) and sit at the top of the hill, taking advantage of its uninterrupted view of the castle and of the fireworks reflecting in the pond.
Unlike such summery evenings gone by, the other day wasn’t exactly what you’d call sunny (although it was dry, which I guess was something), so the photos are possibly a little greyer than I’d like, but I hope they convey just how big the park is (look it up on Google Earth if you still don’t believe me). But of course this less than summery weather doesn’t mean there weren’t people there. There’s always somebody here.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running, playing rugby, tennis or football, letting the kids run around a bit, chucking a frisbee about, feeding the ducks or just having a stroll you’re pretty much guaranteed not to be the only one doing so. With its sheer size and proximity to town the park is a haven for many of the good people of Edinburgh. Be it the afternoon, evening, or the weekend it is a place for everyone to relax and have some breathing space.
With Stockbridge (a ‘little village’ within the city, and quite a picturesque one at that) leading to the centre of town at one side and the Botanic Gardens on another it is also used by many (myself included on this occasion) as a more pleasant way to get to the other side without having to deal with traffic and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In fact on this occasion I saw someone so relaxed by the whole thing they nearly walked into the pond, and when we were here with the dog last weekend (as in the one just passed, so the one after my afternoon walk through the park – don’t worry, I’m confused too) she was so fixed on watching every other dog around her that she managed to walk headlong into a lamp post.
True to form I was so relaxed by the time I’d crossed the park that I actually had to fairly pick up the pace to get into town on time. But that is no bad thing. I know that in Edinburgh we are very lucky to have as many parks as we do, and probably take them very much for granted, but I think we should all make a little time now and then to go for a walk in the park. What better place is there to get space to breathe in a city?Cr