We spent Easter in Edinburgh with family.
The city of Arthur’s Seat:
Along with the mound on which Edinburgh Castle is built, Arthur’s Seat has to be one of the most famous extinct volcanoes in the world. Presumably, although not definitely, it is named after our greatest legendary king (I am a big fan of Arthurian legends). Edinburgh’s connections with Arthur don’t stop at the famous hill. The whole area – Lothian – is presumed to be named after an ancient king, sometimes called Lot: the father of Sir Gawain of the Round Table.
Some (hi)stories suggest that the ‘noble’ pagan king, Lot, committed an act of Talibanesque logic and brutality by throwing his Christian daughter off a cliff for having the temerity to be raped by a Welsh pillager Lord called Owain. The pregnant victim, later known as Saint Teneu, miraculously survived her fall and gave birth to Saint Mungo or Kentigern, the Patron Saint of Glasgow.
Flowing through the kingdom of Lot is Edinburgh’s main river, the Water of Leith:
This river rises in the Pentland Hills amongst the ferns, birch, heather, and moss:
… where I watched Meadow Pipits rise and fall in their dancing song-flights.
The many streams that help form the Water of Leith are damned to form the Threipmuir and Harlaw reservoirs which provide much of the drinking water for Edinburgh.
From these hills, the water tumbles down into the city and flows into the mighty Firth of Forth estuary.
A mile or two up the beach from where Water of Leith enters the sea, is Cramond Beach:
At low tide Cramond Island, way out in the Estuary, is linked to the mainland by a causeway:
Either side of the causeway is a sandy, muddy magnet for wading birds. Unfortunately, I had neither a camera (all the photos in this post were taken with my iPhone), nor a spotting scope, but throughout the day – whether in the hills or at the beach – I took a few photos of birds I saw through the ‘make-do’ method of holding my phone up to my binocular lens…
Left side, top to bottom: Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) in Balerno; Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata) one of very many at Cramond Beach; one of my favourite birds, the White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) at Harlow Reservoir.
Right side, top to bottom: Common Redshank (Tringa totanus); Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus); Goosander (Mergus merganser) swimming up the River Almond Estuary from Cramond Beach; and, Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) also on Cramond Beach: