Friday 31st May, Prince’s Street from Calton Hill – Watercolour
Its worth a climb up Calton Hill to see the iconic view of Prince’s Street from the top. Earlier we persuaded one of our guests to climb up the large Gothic structure shown in the centre of this view. This is the Scott Monument, dedicated to the famous Scottish author. The jury is still out one whether our friend is still recovering from the experience and speaking to us.
Moonwatch Evening/ A series of talks at the observatory – Ink in a Watercolour Moleskine
We visited this series of astronomical talks on Saturday night. It was held in the old observatory on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. I had never gazed at any stars or planets through a telescope before so was looking forward to this part of the night. First of all we were “treated” to talks about infra red radiation, measuring astronomical distances and time using caesium isotopes. We also learned about comets, meteorites and meteors. I wondered if Margaret was thinking about divorce by the end of this but we finally viewed the moon and Jupiter (with three of her moons showing) through the hundred year old telescope. My scene is meant to represent the top, right hand side of the moon with Jupiter showing beyond. (I have moved Jupiter a few million miles left to get her into the page – artistic license!). I found the whole experience awe-inspiring and now want a huge telescope for my next birthday present. We were lucky. It had been stormy on Friday and more foul weather (very severe as it turned out) was forecast for late Saturday and Sunday. As the last of our group looked at the heavens a veil of cloud swept over the view and the moon she hid her secrets from us – until next time.
From The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The moving Moon went up the sky.
And nowhere did abide;
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside-
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill – Blue and Grey Inktense pencils in an A4 Watercolour Moleskine.
This picture was never meant to be. I have always wanted to paint this scene so, following a suggestion by Nick Powell, I armed myself with a new A3 Moleskine and set off for my vantage point, the one which national TV and newspapers always use when describing the city. My objective was to make initial sketches for use later. When I returned home I discovered that the sketchbook was too big for my scanner and that a photograph, of the book, was not sharp enough for a post. Never mind the fact that I spent about three hours travelling as the city was heaving with an influx of people for the annual festival and fringe. (Many locals avoid the centre of Edinburgh, during the festival, unless they want to see a particular show, or like my two eldest sons, actually work there). This effort is then, crazily, a sketch made from my earlier sketch so you can take in one of the most iconic views of Edinburgh. I hope I’ve done it some justice by restricting myself to two Inktense pencils.
Apart from the views of the castle, Scott Monument, Register House etc, the top of Calton Hill, itself, is worth a visit in its own right. (About a thousand tourists, last Thursday, also thought so). My sketch shows the Dugald Stewart Memorial to the right. Further on, but not visible, is Edinburgh’s other observatory – The City Observatory (see my post , 13th July, to see the one on Blackford Hill) To my left, but also out of scene, is Nelson’s Monument. The top of this is used in conjunction with the Castle’s One o’clock gun. A Large white sphere becomes visible when the gun is fired giving a visual as well as an audio signal to ships in the Firth of Forth. Behind me is The National Monument (Edinburgh’s disgrace as this memorial to the troops lost in the Napoleonic wars was never finished as they ran out of cash. The whole of the Calton Hill and
surrounds has a “Napoleonic feel to it; local streets include “Waterloo Place”; Wellington’s statue sits at the foot of North Bridge etc.). There a many other fine views of different parts especially of Holyrood Palace, where Mrs. Queen and the Chookyembra stay when up here and the New Scottish Parliament situated conveniently within sniper range below the south side of the hill.
Never mind. It was a great day out and I got some half decent material including a short video of the one o’clock gun being fired two miles away.
If you really want to see the gun look at my other video, taken inside the castle