Edinburgh: Water of Leith Walk

Stairs Accessing Walk

Stairs Accessing Walk

In Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, one of the schoolgirls comes across a man on the Leith Waterway walk who is “joyfully exposing himself.” Thankfully, that didn’t occur on the wonderful walk I took. The Leith Waterway path is 12 miles in total and ends at the sea.

(See http://www.edinburghguide.com/parks/waterofleith.)

A friend, Jeannine, recommended that we investigate the path, particularly the area around Stockbridge and Dean Village. The former is where the precious Bertie of 44 Scotland Street is enrolled in Bendy Fun for Tots, a yoga class. The latter is the humorous scene where another character, Bruce, inspects an apartment but in a superficial way. The Royal Botanic Gardens is a lovely stop near Stockbridge.

Directional Signs on the Path

Directional Signs on the Path

I highly recommend a walk on the pathway to enjoy the scenery. A suggested pathway begins below Queen’s Park (go by way of the Robert Louise Stevenson childhood home at 17 Heriot, easy to spot for its red door). Just past India Street is a “close,” with delightful former garages of town homes remodeled for single-family dwellings. At the lowest point of the sloping hill is the Leith. Access to the pathway can be found in several locations. Suddenly, the traveler is no longer in a city but in a tranquil  valley where Mallards are tails up searching for food, birdsong trills, and flowers and trees blanket the slopes.

Bridge over the Path

Bridge over the Path

The pathway goes under the Dean Bridge and passes along historic half-timbered buildings, crossing the stream a few times on pedestrian bridges. Where to end the walk? I recommend the Museum of Modern Art, marked by an easy-to-spot arch. The museum itself is two buildings and a good place to rest for a coffee or tea in its cafe, particularly if it`s a rare sunny day to sit in the sculpture garden. Then, hop the free bus to the National Gallery of Scotland in central Edinburgh. The terrific cafe features menu items from Scottish sources. The gallery itself features the iconic painting of the buttoned-up cleric on ice skates, just one in an excellent collection. The museum shop is also a worthwhile stop. All in all, a grand day out.LeithHalfTimber

Entrance to Museum of Modern Art

Entrance to Museum of Modern Art

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