One of the cannons on the Argyle Battery at Edinburgh Castle, looking north across the
city towards the Firth of Forth
Cannons seem to be a dominant theme in Edinburgh Castle. There are two main arrays of them pointing south and east on the Half Moon Battery, and north-east on the Argyle Battery. There is also the famous 'One O'Clock Gun' on Mills Mount Battery, as well as the mighty Mons Meg. So many cannons are not surprising as it was very much a working castle for a major part of its life. The cannons you see, however, were only introduced in the 1800s, and reportedly were retrieved from navy vessels. This followed a visit from Queen Victoria who felt that a castle without cannons was not right. Those three batteries are shown below and the page ends with portraits of one of the world's more famous guns - Mons Meg. The cannons offer the excuse for more of the spectacular views that the Castle affords.
The rear of the cannon in the top photograph
That cannon's view of the north side of the city
The Argyle Battery with the Cartshed Cafe beyond
The white pecked circles are to indicate how groups of...
...people are to keep separate in this time of Covid
Cannons as aesthetic objects
An aside on the military theme, by Butts Battery, is this statue of General Haig standing in front of the hospital building. It was moved here in 2011
Beyond the Haig statue is Butts Battery
The impressive, if hyper-realistic, statue was given to the City by the philanthropist Dhunjibhoy Bomanji in 1923. The sculptor was George Edward Wade
The third and highest battery is named from its shape
- Half Moon Battery. The loopholes being...
...set in the squat round tower which sits over the entrance.
It can be seen in the heading photo on
the last page
The National Gallery
The Scott Monument
Six views from those loopholes; each cannon's eye on some famous Edinburgh landmark
St. Columba's Kirk
North British Hotel
A view worthy of enlargement: the North British Hotel (now under the misnomer of Balmoral) and Calton Hill with its Observatory and Folly
From a nineteenth century cannon to its modern equivalent: the 'One O'Clock Gun'
Above, the 105mm gun which was developed in the 1970s. Wikipedia says it is a howitzer L118 Light Gun. Behind the gun is the precision chronometer that times the firing...
...This firing is now a ritual, but when it started in 1861 it had a serious purpose: to let shipping, in the Leith area, set their own chronometers, hence one firing at 1 pm exactly
This photograph was taken at precisely 1pm on the day of my visit to the Castle...
...and this one was taken at a few seconds past 1pm
- it being the photograph I had intended!
Possibly the world's most famous cannon, Mons Meg weighs 6 tonnes. Moving her was a major problem, progress, accomplished by a team of oxen,
was restricted to 3 miles a day
Named after the town in Belgium in which it was made, it was a gift to James II of Scotland in 1457
These are the 150kg stones that it could fire for a distance of two miles (3.2 km)
It was retired from active service in 1550, although used for ceremonies such as the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots in 1558. Its last such use was in 1681 when the barrel split.
So ends the story of many cannons...
Picture Posting page goes inside two Edinburgh Castle buildings: St. Margaret's Chapel (pictured) and the Great Hall
The next page
of the Mosaic Section is headed 'Writing as Reminder'.
Or go to the
Go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
of the Mosaic Section.