Urban Step Class Part 2 – The Scott Monument

A workout with a VIEW!!!…..

Last year we created a walk through the old town of Edinburgh that took us up 763 steps, and down 588.  This hour plus walk was a serious Urban Step Class!  But one thing was missing……

Yesterday was such a glorious day that I just wanted to wander about and soak up the sunshine and admire the deep blue sky and the emerald green grass – much like most of the people in Edinburgh!

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As I wandered through Princes Street, stepping over the sunbathers strewn across the grass, I saw it; its pollution stained gothic spire contrasting sharply with the blue sky…. The Scott Monument!



a IMAG1197The Scott Monument was built in 1844 to commemorate Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott (a statue of him sits at the base).  At 200 Feet Tall and 287 Steps – Climbing to the top of the Scott Monument in Edinburgh is a lot like taking a step class, except you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of Edinburgh – which can only be bettered by a climb up Arthur’s Seat.

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I’ve been meaning to climb it for ages but finally, but yesterday the stars were finally aligned in my favour:

  • Glorious sunshine
  • Clear skies for an amazing view
  • And it was OPEN!

I willingly paid my £4 entry fee and braced myself for an arduous climb.  The stone spiral stair case was narrow, had tiny triangular steps and had to accommodate 2 way traffic!

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I gave a wee shout to see if anyone was coming down, heard nothing so made my way up, hugging the wall and wishing I didn’t have such a bulky tote bag.  Just when I was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic there was a light at the end of the ‘tunnel’ and I entered a stone landing.  Wow!  That wasn’t so bad!  Then I realised I was only on the first of 4 viewing platforms.  This first set of steps winds up the outside legs of the monument and the viewing platform encircles a wee chapel like museum.

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This is the largest platform and can accommodate lots of visitors, so its easy to walk all the way around, taking time to get some great pics.

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As you make your way round, you’ll notice a new set of even narrower stairs that winds up the central spire.  Once here, you may as well go all the way, but if you’re afraid of heights or suffer from claustrophobia – even just coming up to the first level is well worth the fee.  I soldiered on – this time encountering some oncoming traffic – the easiest thing to do was to press up against the wall (on the widest side of the steps) and let the people make their own way around.


The viewing areas get smaller as you go up so you may need to join a ‘que’ that slowly makes it’s way round to the next set of steps.  Just take your time and enjoy the view….

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By the time I reached the final set of steps I was getting tired and a bit sweaty (OK maybe mid afternoon on the hottest day of the year so far wasn’t the best time to hike up 287 steps!) but the photo breaks on each platform helped break up the climbing and provided some fresh air.  What amazed me the most was that at each platform I seemed to be getting closer to the views; Calton Hill, The Balmoral, Arthur’s Seat, The Castle all got bigger as I went up – even though the linear distance was the same.  After taking tons of pictures I slowly made my way back down, once again stopping at each platform for a second look.

I can’t believe I waited so long to go up The Scott Monument!  It’s a fantastic way to see the city for visitors and locals – and you get a bit of a workout thrown in – there is NO LIFT!!  Next up – Calton Hill to head up Nelson’s Monument…..


Scott Monument Visitor Info:
East Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh EH2 2EJ
April through September: 10am – 7pm
October through March: 10am – 4pm; Last admission 3.30pm




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