Thursday, 16 September 2010

4 out of 6 Times on the Water of Leith

On Tuesday I arrived in Edinburgh to visit David and family but with the intention of seeing Anthony Gormleys metal men that he has scattered along the length of the Water of Leith from the modern art gallery down to Leith docks under the title of 6 Times. Since I was in Princes Street gardens when the 1 o’clock gun went off and wasn’t due at David’s house until about half 6 I though that this was plenty time.

Unfortunately my geography of that area of Edinburgh is a little vague but I had a rough Idea of where I should be going so off I set, roughly. I eventually struck the Water of Leith around Stockbridge and worked my way back to the art gallery along the river knowing I would have to cover it all again on the way back. The following pictures are in order as if I had walked from the Gallery downstream although some of them were taken while walking upstream to the gallery.

The first of the pieces isn’t actually on the river but is outside the gates of the gallery.

This otter statue is very difficult to see - I thought it was an old bin bag at first

St Bernards Mineral Well

The path along the Water of Leith is not continuous and to my mind not well signposted. Anyway, about a quarter of a mile along from Stockbridge it disappeared so I struck inland with the intention of joining it a little further along. For the seasoned tracker, used to finding his way by snapped branches, deer spoor and the direction of the sun, it’s going to be a problem finding your way in a cloudy Edinburgh so I asked directions from a red haired Irish lady with a greyhound. Unfortunately, although her directions were very accurate for the question I had asked, I was by that time pointing in completely the wrong direction. I found a nice little park to follow the river with but was somewhat disturbed when I spotted St Bernard’s mineral well again, only this time on the other side of the river and about an hour later than the last time I had seen it. On top of this the park that I had wandered into was a private park so I found it quite locked with high glass covered walls so I had to backtrack till I could find my way back out. Alas my tale of lostness doesn’t stop here but to cut a long story as short as I can, once I arrived at Stockbridge High Street for the 3rd time I set of in what I though was right direction, only to arrive back in exactly the same spot in Stockbridge High Street (Come on Stephen Hawkings, what’s it all about). When I eventually got back on route, I completely missed on of the 4th metal men, apparently spotted by an old fellow I met who was much more successfully following Edinburgh’s non existent railways.

So there’s no statue #4 and we go straight to #5

I think some local ned has been at the eyes rather than Mr Gormley - either that or he's been at a little chemical recreation

By this time it was almost 6 o’clock and no hope of getting the couple of miles to the Leith docks statue in reasonable time, so I called it a day. Many thanks to the lady who stopped for a natter here and who happened to know that the No 11 bus went all the way to David’s and told me where the bus stop was. The bus arrived at the stop within a minute of me arriving there and I was only half an hour later than I had expected. A pleasant evening of carry out curry, fiddle and guitar tunes and a bottle of wine was had.


The Glebe Blog said...

Hi Sandy,you could have called in on my 93 year old aunt at the Braeburn Home for the Elderly.
We've often walked the Water of Leith,but until seeing your blog I was totally ignorant of Antony Gormleys project.I wonder how the regular dog walkers view them ?

Sandy's witterings said...

It's a wonder I didn't stumble on your aunt's old folks home by accident - I seem to have been everywhere else in Edinburgh that afternoon (at least my feet thought so).
The local dog owners seemed pretty unperturbed but I believe the police have had a couple of calls reporting people in the river.