Strolling along the Water of Leith on a Sunny winter day – from Comely Bank to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Free Fun – free parking on Sunday, Free entry to museums and free to walk along the Water of Leith!!
For 2013, the Christmas and New Year’s weather was pretty dismal – lots of rain and wind – however, these bursts of ‘frightful’ holiday weather were scattered with periods of mild weather, blue skies and sunshine. So when the sun was out, so were we!! A few years ago we discovered Jupiter Artland, outside of Edinburgh. As you enter the ‘gardens’ you are greeted with a sea of lush green grass sculpted into curves and waves, sweeping around tranquil pools of water. These installations at Jupiter Artland were created by American landscape artist Charles Jencks (co-founder of Maggie’s Centers). Its not easy to get out to Jupiter Artland, and it is only open during the summer, so I was thrilled to discover that there was a Jencks installation in Edinburgh, located at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. OK, I’ll admit I’m not super arty so I’ve never been and didn’t even know where it was – but when I found out it was along the Water of Leith, I knew it would make a great walking day out. It was in the back of my mind for a while but when I woke up this morning and the sun was shining, I knew today was the day. We had a late start (around 11am) and wanted to finish before dusk so we planned a short, scenic route. We parked our car at the top of Comely Bank Avenue, walked along Queensferry Road (over Dean Bridge) then down Bell’s Brae where we could pick up the Water of Leith walkway. There is direct access from the walkway to the National Gallery. We would take ‘the high road’ back – and since we were in the area, it would be a crime NOT to stop at Affogato for hand made artisan gelato. We had our plan, our walking boots and our cameras, so away we went. The weather was glorious, the walk was scenic, magical even, and the gelato was outstanding. A perfect way to spend a few hours on a bright winter’s day.
Here’s our route:
Section 1 (Starting with the red route from Comely Bank Avenue):
We join the Water of Leith Walkway at the bottom of Bell’s Brae in the historical, enchanting and surprising Dean Village….
The steps lead to Dean Path and a left on Ralveston Terrace finds us behind…
This is all new territory to us, so the detour was actually a bit of a blessing!! A left onto Belford Road unveils an enclosed garden with a quaint wooden church that would look more at home in New England than Edinburgh. We find out that this is St. Andrews Catholic Church; built in 1902 as a ‘temporary’ wooden structure, but is now a listed Arts and Crafts building.
The detour also brings us closer to our goal – the Jenck’s installation in front of Building One of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – the Water of Leith Walkway would have taken us across the street to Building Two. Although smaller, the Jencks Landform here is just as awe inspiring, fun, and jaw droppingly impressive as the ones at Jupiter Artland.
There several other art installations in the grounds, these are just a couple…
We only go inside for a look round the shop (picked up some Christmas Baubles on sale!!) and to use the toilets – we’ll spend more time on a rainy day.
We head back towards the West End along the ‘High Road’ and follow Belford Road all the way around, back through Dean Village to Queensferry Road (the Blue route on the map)…
As we turn right up Queensferry Road we feel we are leaving ‘the past’ and are transported back to the present time. All that time travel made us hungry so we reward ourselves with the best authentic gelato in Edinburgh, Affogato!!