Train Travels: Volume 13 – Scotland’s East Coast

This is the latest in my series of posts looking at the sights and areas we see out of the train window on the way to our destinations, and this one looks at the East Coast of Scotland, from Edinburgh to the town of Dunbar

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Slateford Aqueduct

As you approach Edinburgh Haymarket station coming from Carlisle, you pass through the suburb of Slateford, and the train line runs adjacent to the Slateford Aqueduct, which carries the Union Canal through this part of the city. It has 8 arches, and is a full 18 metres long. Designed by Hugh Baird (1770 – 1827, Scottish Engineer) it opened in 1822, and is navigable, and paths down the side allow dog walkers and pedestrians to enjoy a pleasant walk.

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Edinburgh Castle and Rock

Having gone through Haymarket station, the train runs through the clearing that cuts it way between the old and new towns of Edinburgh city centre, and runs directly past the incredible rock that Edinburgh Castle sits atop.

This towering rock is a landmark in the city and the Royal Mile, a famous series of streets running from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle terminates here, and is the perfect route for visitors wishing to explore the old town of Edinburgh. For more information on Edinburgh, see my post here.

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Calton Hill with Monuments

We changed at Edinburgh Waverley for a train towards Dunbar on the coast, and as we left Edinburgh (which is a through station so we left at the other end of the city) we went past Calton Hill, pictured above. It is home to many monuments, such as the Political Martyrs Monument which you can see just poking out at the far left of the picture. The round tower building on the hill is the Governor’s House for the old Calton Jail (known as a Gaol) which was in use until 1864. For more information on Calton Hill see the section about it in my Edinburgh post here.

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St John’s Roman Catholic Church, Portobello

Portobello is an outer suburb of Edinburgh, and you get a great view of St John’s church from the train as you pass through. It opened in 1906 after the previous church on the site was demolished in 1904.The foundation stone for the new church was laid that same year.

It’s an impressive structure and the design is quite interesting, different to the general tower and spire design that is so common.

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Redhouse Castle

Continuing on the train into East Lothian, we passed close by the ruins of Redhouse Castle, which is a few miles out of the village of Longniddry. It was originally a manor house that contained 4 floors, and was opened by the Douglas Family. They sold the manor in 1607, to John Laing, the Keeper of the Signet. His daughter married into the family of the Duke of Hamilton, who subsequently fortified the Castle after the Jacobite Rebellion in 1746. It was bought by Lord Elibank in 1955, but he was unable to rent it as he lived in Edinburgh city so it lay abandoned for many years, and the red sandstone that it was built of was used to create the foundations for Gosford House after it passed into the ownership of the Earl of Wemyss.

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Bass Rock

Getting very close to Dunbar at this point, we could out into the Firth of Forth, with Fife in the distance on the other side. In the middle of the Firth stands Bass Rock, and uninhabited Island that contains the ruins of a Castle and a chapel, and Bass Rock Lighthouse is a prominent feature. See my associated post on Dunbar to see where this journey led us to, and for a bit more information on Bass Rock, here.

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