Edinburgh's Calton Hill

Observatory tower and buildings in panarama shot. The monuments of Calton Hill. From the left: Observatory House, the City Observatory (peeping out from the trees), the tower is the Nelson Monument, and to the right the columns of the National Monument Calton Hill forms a hub around which Edinburgh rotates. The main thoroughfare of Princes Street points straight at it, making the columns of the 'National Monument' the unmistakable landmark locally referred to as the Acropolis: a memorial to the Napoleonic wars that was never finished. This supernumerary of monuments combine to form a World Heritage Site. Central to these is the tower of the Nelson Monument which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's death. On its top a flagstaff supports a balloon which is dropped at 1pm every day, in time with the one O'Clock gun, so allowing those out of earshot, for example at Leith docks, to know the exact time. The observatory buildings are still here, although their work moved out to a site next to King's Building in the 1890s. Also here is the monument to Dugald Stewart, a nineteenth century philosopher, whose memory today is over-shadowed by the monument-less David Hume. Most of this page is taken up with photographs from the annual Beltane festival held on Calton Hill on the last day of April. These re-enactments started in 1988, the set of photos lower down the page date from 1990 when the idea was still novel. Calton Hill from the north-west. Evening light with Arthur's Seat beyond St Andres House and monuments with Fife beyond. Observatory House (right) overlooks the bulk of St Andrew's House, the then (1994) seat of the Scottish Government The Hill with the North British Hotel in front of it. A contemporary photograph with the North British Hotel centre and showing the new St James Centre to the left of the Scott Monument Curving lines of new steps pointing at the Hill. The new developments at Greenside under the eye of Observatory House built to plans of James Craig in 1776 The Hill from the south-west. Calton Hill with the obelisk of the Political Martyrs Monument, below and left of the Nelson Monument, and to its right St Andrew's House flows down the hillside. The large building on the left is the Post Office Two lightly clad red figures on the Stewart monument. The Dugald Stewart Monument becomes part of the Beltane festivities. For more details, the Beltane organisation has a full website Go to another site. Columns of the Stewart monument with flame appearing to be coming from the urn. Crowd with torches.

The festival revolves around the idea of rekindling fire: leaving behind the winter and welcoming in the new spring with new fire. So torches light the way (above) to a large bonfire. Inadvertently the placing of a torch by Dougald Stewart's urn (left) might fit original intensions. Drummers on steps of National Monument. Drummers marching with torch bearers. Drummers give the march to the bonfire rhythm Blue figure holding bunch of foliage. Greenery welcomes summer May Queen with headress and large flower studied dress in crowd. Centre stage is the May Queen, walking from the winter of the last day of April
into the first day of summer (in this tradition) on May Morning
- the celebration of which has long been held on Arthur's Seat
Two players of a wooden xylephone set on piping. After the procession, which ends in the lighting of the bonfire, music and jollification take over, marked here by... People watching the xylephone being played, a can of export to hand. ...the marimba (water pipes serving for the conventional gourd amplifiers), and the, so familiar, red can of Export Wide panaramma of crowd, faces lit by small bonfire.

The bonfire is lit
Outline of figures against enlarging bonfire. Outline of figure with bonfire central. Logs burning at the heart of the bonfire. Trailers... Skate boarder on board in the air, being watched. The next page of this section continues the theme of performances and spectators in Edinburgh. Woman enjoying her infant in arms. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Alphabets'.
Or go to the contents Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section. of the Mosaic Section.
Saturday 6th November 2021 Murphy on duty ...guide to this site

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