The Scott Monument


The Scott Monument

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.

East Princes Street Gardens with the Scott Monument on the left

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

View from the second level looking towards the Balmoral Hotel and Calton Hill
View from the second level looking towards the Balmoral Hotel and Calton Hill

6 thoughts on “The Scott Monument

  1. Sarah Wilkie

    Interesting background to an impressive monument!

    I wonder if the switch you mention above is also the reason I still have to confirm each individual ‘follow’ whenever I comment? This, combined with your high productivity levels, is a factor in why I don’t always manage to keep up with you 😉

    1. Malcolm Post author

      There seems to be anomalies everywhere in this game, and I have to confess I’m perplexed at times.
      You might be glad to know that my latest post about the Bass Rock is the final one on Edinburgh – for now at least

  2. Don Porsché

    I once climbed all those stairs, for whatever reason, and took some photos which I must still have copies of somewhere. If I ever find them I’ll post them on my website. In the meantime, I enjoyed looking at yours.

  3. nicknicklambert

    Hi Malc! When I search for your blog and go in through your blog, each post has a comment place on it – so I can add a comment as I have here. However if I visit the post individually – through wordpress reader, the comment space is not there. There is no button between the share and like icons either.
    Anyway now I can say on here that I am enjoying this Edinburgh series, Cheers!

    1. Malcolm Post author

      I wonder if it’s to do with the fact that I started on and changed to Anyhow, thanks for persevering. I really appreciate it


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