Who knew this time of year could be so busy? It certainly feels as though I have a ‘to do’ list longer than my arm, and it’s not even ‘the festive season’ yet – despite what the shops and bars appear to think. Somehow, sadly, all this business (combined with work) has kept me from doing anything remotely interesting off late, thus a lack of noteworthy thing to write about. Brother and Dog sitting last weekend didn’t really help much either.
The exception to this inactivity was when my good friend (who will have to remain anonymous as I completely forgot to ask if they minded being named) came over to have a catch up and walk the dog on Sunday. Despite that making it sound like we’re middle aged we’re really not, I promise (although that appears to be the running theme over the next few paragraphs).
In stark contrast to this time last year (it was *insert-expletive-here* cold, and long since started snowing) we appear to be having an uncharacteristically warm month. No, warm is the wrong word, mild would be a little more accurate. Sunday was no exception to this as it was beautifully sunny, dry and (for the time of year) fairly warm. This was just as well as a long walk up the woods was order of the day.
Having started the morning off in a rather leisurely and domestic fashion by making the filling for a beef and Guinness pie (sort of using this recipe, but ignoring lots of it, especially the cheese part – cheese, beef and Guinness don’t strike me as particularly good bedfellows) and reading the paper I braved the outdoors and went to meet said afore mentioned anonymous friend from the bus stop – or several bus stops further up the road, as it turned out to be. Once we eventually found each other – says a lot for my directions – it was time to walk the dog.
Costorphine Hill was today’s walking destination of choice. They say that Edinburgh is built over seven hills, and of these Costorphine is the most westerly; its large L shape rising up between the suburbs of Blackhall, Murrayfield, Costorphine (oddly enough) and Clermiston. Whilst the Tower (a monument to Sir Walter Scott – because we clearly don’t have one of those in this city already) has dominated the skyline for over 130 years – ignoring the two radio masts, that is – there is a lot more on this little hill than initially meets the eye.
This tree laden barrier, which is a designated as a ‘Local Nature reserve’, is a favourite of local dog walkers, runners and the like who use its criss-crossing mesh of paths and fields throughout the seasons. It is also known for its old (abandoned) RAF bunker, quarries and rock features (apparently the last of those are fascinating, but I’m really not the person to talk about them). The western sloping fields also have some of the best sledging this side of town (if there’s snow, that is) and have some fantastic views out towards Cammo, the airport, the Forth road and rail bridges and onwards to Fife or West Lothian. A wander round will take you to the steep Southern slopes which play host to Edinburgh Zoo and look out towards the Petland Hills. The interior sides of the L shape – my side of the hill – look down upon the city, affording some absolutely stunning vistas out to the Firth of Forth, Fife, and (most importantly) across Edinburgh’s stunning skyline.
On this occasion we were wandered all over the place, having a catch up whilst skyline spotting, and most importantly – in a certain four-legged-friend’s opinion – hunting for (non-existent) squirrels. We eventually meandered our way back home for lunch, feeling rather warm (even having long removed our coats), conveniently making our return about a minute before the innards of the pie needed stirring.
PS. Thanks to my anonymous friend for taking most of these photos whilst I held on to Miss Spotty.