CALTON HILL

 Calton Hill cemetery - creepy tree fingers.

THE TOPOGRAPHICAL, STATISTICAL, & HISTORICAL GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND

A. Fullarton & Co. 1853


CALTON-HILL, a rounded eminence in Edinburgh, rising abruptly from the southern termination of the ridge on which Princes-street is built...

 

Between it and the Princes-street ridge, a deep and narrow hollow is formed, which winds eastwards round the base of the hill, and is lost in the plain that extends to Leith. Its elevation above sea level at Leith is 344 feet. Its great mass is composed of claystone-porphyry and trap-tufa. 

 

With its fissured, cracked, and crumbled appearance, the Calton-hill would present an emblem of instability and desolation, were it not partly covered with buildings, and placed in the midst of a city. 


This one fine evening I found myself in the graveyard on Calton Hill, famous for the tombstone of David Hume, philosopher and historian. A tourist bus showed up at one point and a bunch of Polish people crowded into the cemetery to take a few blinding pictures before hustling back to the bus. Myself? I was there for nothing more than a good wander, between the grey stones and the grey sky and the grey twiggy branches. I relished the silence as they left...

The castle-like building that loomed over the jutting tombstones reminded me of those graveyard visions in silent horror movies, where ghouls creep between the unpathed areas when the main character is not watching.

Out in the city, the colours of daytime gave an encore, one last curtain call, before deepening their tones in response to the pale gold lights emanating from each window.

But behind me, in the cemetery, the gloom persisted. A gorgeous gloom.

At about this time I spotted one weirdo, prancing among the graves and climbing onto high walls. I watched surreptitiously for a few moments before throwing caution to the wind and joining him up there, to have a good view and a chat with a stranger. 

We talked about his artwork as a sculptor, about the city and about traveling. After a few minutes, I felt as if the husky sky was calling me ever-upward, so I said my goodbyes and ran up, up to the top of the hill. Wow, the view was amazing. I love to count my blessings, and record my own daily philosophies in a tiny notebook which I bring with me on every solitary outing.

 Meeting a stranger in the cemetery, Calton Hill.
 Circular turrets on the tombs in Old Calton cemetery
 Tombstones and knarled trees in the Old Calton Cemetery
 Looking over Edinburgh Old Town from Calton Hill, through winter trees.
 Tombs in the Old Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh.
 View of Edinburgh's train station and Old Town from Old Calton Cemetery.
 Calton Hill, at night, Edinburgh.
 Calton Hill observatory at night, Edinburgh.
EPITAPH OF DAVID HUME
(1711 - 1776)

Within this circular idea
Called vulgarly a tomb,
The ideas and impressions lie
That constituted Hume.