The high esteem in which Sir Walter Scott is held by the Scottish people is shown by this huge monument to him in East Princes St Gardens.
He is remembered mainly for his historical novels, but was also a prominent member of the Edinburgh establishment.
Born in Edinburgh in 1771, his poems and books brought him worldwide acclaim during his lifetime and when he died in 1832 it wasn’t long before enough money was collected to build this 200ft Gothic tower.
Claimed to be the largest monument to a writer anywhere in the world, the foundation stone was laid in 1840 and completed by 1844. It was built of Binny Sandstone from Linlithgowshire (West Lothian today), but unfortunately Old Reekie has done its worst over the years and by the 1990s the stone was in need of some urgent attention. After close examination, it was felt that cleaning would do more harm than good and so it was decided to just carry out essential repairs with stone from the original quarry. The differences can clearly be seen.
The space rocket-like monument is richly decorated with characters from his novels, and underneath the canopy is a statue of the man himself with his dog Maida.
For those of you who are slim, fit or just plain masochistic, there are 287 steps to the top of the monument. I’m none of these and so I opted to just climb up to the 2nd level and call it a day.
Back at ‘Ground Control’ you are presented with a certificate to say that you’ve climbed to the top, but really, it’s just a receipt to say that you’ve paid the entrance fee which is almost as steep as the endurance test that you would have to perform to get up there.
If you still think it’s worth it, check out their website below