Walk 39: Leith: Plenty of sunshine on it (plus good food)

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2 miles (3.22km)

Time to walk: This is only a very short walk to be done within 1 hour, although if you haven’t visited The Royal Yacht Britannia before do as it’s great & allow about another hour

Difficulty: All on road & flat

Parking: Free parking outside Ocean Terminal

Public toilets: Inside Ocean Terminal or in bars etc en route

Map of the route: None, but the route’s easy to follow below

If you’re in Edinburgh & fancy an evening stroll before dinner then this is the one for you – you could even take in one of the exclusive restaurants in the area if you have the inclination. The Port of Leith’s about a 10 minute bus ride from the city centre. It’s best known for where Britannia’s berthed & that’s well worth a visit, but this walk takes in the old port itself & it’s reminiscent of a Norwegian fishing village

The area’s wealth was built on ship building, whaling & import/export. The area declined & became one of the seedier areas of Edinburgh, but is now very classy with much of the Scottish Parliament workers in buildings here

So ready to have a look? Then…

Let’s Walk!

1. Catch the city centre bus (11, 22, 34, 35 & 36) out to Ocean Terminal – it’s about a 10 minute journey & a different world to busy Edinburgh

Ocean Terminal is a shopping centre built on former industrial docklands on the north side of the city. The land was formerly occupied by the Henry Robb shipyard, which closed in 1983. Since then, the entire area has undergone urban renewal & regeneration

The Royal Yacht Britannia is accessed via the Britannia Visitor Centre within Ocean Terminal

We’ve been there before so walk round the side of the right multi-storey car park to the picnic area to start our walk – we’re not allowed through the barrier to the ship…

DSC01005

DSC01007

Here’s the picnic area, but today it was a bit cold for a sit & a sarnie…

DSC01006

DSC01009

DSC01010

2. Follow the path past the picnic area & right along the quayside…

DSC01012

There's some heavy lifting gear round here

There’s some heavy lifting gear round here

3. In the pictures above you can see one of the rig servicing vessels with the helicopter deck at the front – they really are incredible ships & we first saw them in Aberdeen

DSC01013

4. At the office block turn right…

DSC01014

There’s a memorial above to Thomas Peck-Hunter

DSC01015

…& head to the roundabout

DSC01016

5. Turn left along Ocean Drive…

DSC01017

Doesn’t look pretty at the moment does it, but it will get better &, on the left, is another view of the service boat…

DSC01018

…& next to it’s the appropriately named Windsor Castle which is apparently being converted into a hotel that will be moored next to Britannia…

DSC01021

6. We need to get away from Ocean Drive so turn right down the road after the first dock on the right…

DSC01022

DSC01023

7. When reaching the bottom of the street turn left, ignoring the footpath signs & cross the blue iron cantilevered bridge…

DSC01025

DSC01026

No cars allowed across here

No cars allowed across here

8. And now move away from industrial Edinburgh by turning right along the dock where there’s some lovely apartments…

DSC01031

DSC01030

L5

9. Follow the path round to the left past the rather prominent, & somewhat disturbing whaling gun…

DSC01038

DSC01039

Whale oil was used to light lamps & lubricate machinery & in the early 20th century. Plus it was used to make soap & margarine (never eat margarine!!). This harpoon came from Christian Salveston who, from 1910 onwards, had one of the largest whaling fleets in Leith

The business eventually changed & now concentrates on logistics. In 1997 it actually moved its HQ to Northampton – small world!!

DSC01037

10. We’re now entering a very interesting area. Pass the old lighthouse…

DSC01040

…& a wonderful seated statue of Sandy Irvine Robertson…

DSC01042

DSC01041

Sandy Irvine Robertson OBE (1942-1999) was a wine merchant, charity promoter & founder of the Scottish Business Achievements Awards Trust. After his premature death, his friends commissioned a bronze statue on the waterfront at Leith. It was sculpted by Lucy Poett

11. It’s also the entrance into a lovely square housing the old sailors’ home which is now a Malmaison Hotel. This was built in 1883 to provide accommodation for sailors whose ships were in port. The angel above the door is the symbol of the Seaman’s Mission

DSC01043

In the middle of the square is an extremely impressive memorial to The Merchant Navy & each side tells a story…

DSC01044

DSC01045

DSC01047

DSC01049

12. Passing through the area on the corner’s the Signal Tower which dates from 1685 & used to relay messages to incoming ships…

DSC01065

The Signal Tower stands on the corner of The Shore & Tower Street. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Leith & was built 1685-86 by Robert Mylne. Originally it was a windmill

DSC01068

In 1805 its domed roof & sails were removed & it was topped by battlements. It was used as a signal tower from which flags were displayed to let ships entering the harbour know the depth of water at the harbour bar

13. Underneath is what looks like a superb fish restaurant, especially from the smells coming out of it, & the first of many we’ll come across in the next half an hour or so…

DSC01066

DSC01067

If you want fresh seafood then the menu at Fishers is pretty good

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 22.09.31

The Shore is part of this restaurant

DSC01069

14. Carry on along the dock passing the old shipping buildings & restaurants…

DSC01070

DSC01072

One of the best we found was ‘The Ship on the Shore’

DSC01073

Loving the tables

Loving the tables

DSC01075

And it’s another fine menu…

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 22.35.40

15. Continue over the crossroads…

DSC01079

DSC01081

…& on the left’s another top end restaurant…Martin Wishart

DSC01083

16. Fancy something a little bit ‘normal’ & maybe cheaper? Well fear not as next door’s the excellent ‘The Leith Beer Co’

DSC01084

DSC01085

…& then something for pudding? Then let’s go to Mimi’s

DSC01086

DSC01087

17. Well…that’s seafood, wine, more seafood, beer & pudding done let’s cross over the bridge at Sandport Place…

DSC01088

…& turn right along the other side of the water…

DSC01090

DSC01091

DSC01092

18. Cross over the road past the Customs Building…

DSC01093

DSC01094

…before turning sharp left up the alley!

DSC01098

19. Follow it to the wharf..

DSC01100

DSC01102

20. Welcome to Commercial Wharf, home of some fabulous apartments & more exclusive restaurants…

DSC01104

DSC01106

…including ‘The Kitchin’ run by well known chef Tom Kitchin

DSC01107

DSC01109

21. On the right’s the administrative building of The Scottish Parliament, lots of money been spent there…

DSC01112

All along here are the old tram lines…

DSC01114

22. The apartments along here are quite impressive…

DSC01115

DSC01117

One of the main offices of The Scottish Wildlife Trust‘s along here…

DSC01118

23. At the end of the quay turn right…

DSC01119

DSC01120

…to head back towards Ocean Terminal where this walk started…

DSC01121

DSC01122

So there we are, only a short walk but varied with lots of history & also picturesque

Plus plenty of places to stop for good food & drink – what more could you want on a nice day?

Go Walk!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s