ARTHUR’S SEAT

I planned to do something, and I went and did it, walking up Arthur’s Seat during my recent stay in Edinburgh.

It’s a hill in Edinburgh, not particularly demanding, but far from easy.

I’d always heard people talking about it, and walking it, so I decided to have a go myself.

I set aside a morning to do this. I decided I would get up early. When I say early, I mean early, my taxi dropping me off just after 6am.

The reason for this, my logic being is that the roads would be clear for my taxi, and there wouldn’t be many people around.

Arthur’s Seat is based in Holyrood Park. I’d seen signs all over the city for Holyrood Park but never really knew where it was. Turns out it’s a very big park.

Thankfully, my Taxi Driver was very knowledgeable when I asked to be dropped off at the start. He took me from my accommodation in Sciennes to an entrance just after the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

I decided to see how far I could get in 30 minutes, turns out I was near the top, so I just continued my journey.

When I reached the top, I was disappointed to learn (Just a joke, I already knew) that there wasn’t a seat in Arthur’s Seat. I really needed one.

I just stood and look over Edinburgh, it was wonderful, I could look over the entire city, with clear views. The only downside was that it was a bit of a rubbish sunrise.

I could even see Easter Road, the first in what might be the only one in a series called Football Stadiums Seen From The Top Of A Hill.

Amazingly, I wasn’t the only one there, as it was surprisingly busy for just after 6.30am on a Monday morning.

Somehow, I ended up taking a different route down than the one I went up, and ended up in Canongate. No problem, I knew how to get back to my accommodation from there, and it gave me an excuse to call in somewhere for breakfast.

From now on, every time i’m in Edinburgh, i’m going to put an early morning trip to Arthur’s Seat on my schedule.

I’m hoping that 2020 will be the year I finish off Bray Head, do Arthur’s Seat again, and at some point between now and then, see how much of Cavehill I can do.

And then in 2021, Kilimanjaro. Just joking, I get knackered walking up Pleasance.

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THE EDINBURGH CELEB SPOTTING BLOG 2019

Saturday 3rd August 2019

Judy Murray queuing up at George Heriot School.

Sunday 4th August 2019

Iain Dale, talking to someone in Guilded Balloon
Jess Phillips, posing for photos in Guilded Balloon
Richard Herring, walking through Edinburgh University
Paul Foot, walking through Edinburgh University

Monday 5th August 2019

Frank Skinner, walking along Davie Street

Frank Skinner aside, this was not a vintage year. Pet Shop Boys were in Edinburgh at the same time as me but I didn’t see them. They are promoting a show they have written music for. Where in Edinburgh is this show? In the West End of course, which is not a dead end world. It’s actually quite nice

Al Murray usually appears on this blog, but not this year. I’m beginning to doubt the existence of Al Murray.

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2018

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2017

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2015

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2014

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2013

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2012

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2011

EDINBURGH STREET ART – AUGUST 2019

During my stay in Edinburgh, I managed to get some Street Art photos, but not a lot.

The main one, was a mural in Pleasance.

There was also some Street Art in The Meadows.

Southside Murals, which had previously been covered on this blog, are still there in the south of the city.

Building works on New Street were a hotspot for Street Art, but the building works have finally been completed.

I saw some pieces when walking along Leith Walk, especially on the Police Box.

Disappointingly, one piece (thankfully, I already had a photo of it) was now covered in adverts for a gym, making it unphotographable.

Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art August 2018

Edinburgh Street Art August 2017

Edinburgh Street Art August 2015

Edinburgh Street Art August 2014

Edinburgh Street Art August 2013

EDINBLOG 2019

It’s August, and it’s the early hours of the morning. I’m at Belfast International Airport, and i’m not tagging myself on Facebook as being at The Lagan Bar because i’m too cool for that.

It can only mean one thing, my annual trip to Edinburgh.

A milestone trip for me, as this year is ten years since I first travelled to the Edinburgh Festival, and I’ve been every year since 2016. I had a good excuse for that, choosing instead to head to the European Championship in France that year.

As is tradition, I manage to be both organised and disorganised at the same time.

Going through the programme, making a (very long) shortlist of shows that interest me, before whittling them down to a daily itinerary.

That itinerary, was compiled by me scribbling in my notebook at Aldergrove.

Eventually making it into Edinburgh City Centre, I got a taxi outside Waverley Station to take me to my accommodation.

I knew I wasn’t too far away, but I didn’t know the exact location, so I got a taxi as I didn’t want to be trailing a suitcase around trying to find it.

I asked the Driver and he replied “13 Sheens”. I thought he was quoting me £13, with “Sheens” being a Scottish word for pounds.

Turns out, that’s how Sciennes is pronounced, and after a few quid changed hands, I was checking into my accommodation, which was a modern apartment.

It was in a very good location as well, right beside The Meadows, a park beside Edinburgh University. I’d walked through The Meadows and always wondered what was at the other end, and now I know.

That meant I had Guilded Balloon and Assembly almost on my doorstep, which was handy, with Pleasance being a slightly bigger stretch.

I went for a quick walk before my first show, a free show at lunchtime called What Has The News Ever Done For Me?, a panel show taking a comic look at the long running TV show, The News.

It is a show that has been running for a few years, and keeps changing venue. I went to the wrong one, because I forgot my programme and couldn’t find one in the venues I walked past. Turns out, I had to walk up Pleasance to find the correct venue. I was not anticipating a fast walk up a hill on my first day.

Amongst the topics discussed was a round where Panellists had to guess which petition on Change (100,000 means it gets discussed in Parliament) got more signatures, with a petition to get Westlife to do more concerts in Belfast getting more signatures than one to knight Tommy Robinson.

If you care, 29 people signed the petition for more Westlife concerts in Belfast.

After a spot of lunch, it was down to the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile to purchase tickets. Thankfully, I was able to get tickets for everything I wanted.

Due to queuing up for tickets, I missed out on Socially Awkward Penguin, a free show in the afternoon.

This was the opening weekend of the month long festival, and there was a lot on. The Book Festival wasn’t though, with the venue still being assembled when I walked past it on Saturday morning.

There are a number of other events piggybacking onto the Fringe.

In North Berwick, a seaside town 35 minutes away from Edinburgh has a small event called Fringe By The Sea with some well known names, but not enough to tempt me away from Edinburgh for a few hours.

Despite that, it’s well worth keeping an eye out for the line-up. I’m still annoyed that I only found out about the event in 2017 too late to get a ticket for KT Tunstall.

In Leith, an event called EH6 At The Fringe also puts on events as an alternative for those who prefer their venues to be less crowded.

On the Friday night I arrived, there were two concerts, both at a wonderfully named venue called Dr Bell’s Bath, a former public bath now converted into an events venue.

They were by Space and Kyle Falconer, who I had both previously seen in Belfast, with Falconer doing a Q and A around his set. He was doing a three night residency there, but unfortunately, all three were sold out.

I decided that my Friday night entertainment would be a short trip to the Kingdom Of Fife to see Dunfermline Athletic take on Dundee at East End Park.

On the train journey, I could see the Forth Bridge out my window. Very impressive. I might go and try to see the First, Second and Third Bridges.

Saturday morning was spent having a gentle stroll around George Street, Grassmarket, Princes Street and Rose Street. The good thing about Edinburgh is that you can easily escape the Fringe if you want to. It’s good to do so and explore as much of the city as possible, especially when so many venues so crammed together.

After putting my feet up for a short while in late morning, I headed out for lunch before taking in my second football match of the weekend, Hibs v St Mirren at Easter Road.

Saturday night saw me head to George Heriot School, but not for lessons. That’s where the BBC Hub is based, and includes a tent for TV and radio recordings. You can also get a decent view of Edinburgh Castle if fireworks are your thing.

Initially unsuccessful, I got a flurry of tickets for BBC recordings the week before I set off. On Saturday night, it was a showcase of Scottish comedians. It had it’s own moments, but none of the eight had me wanting to see their shows. The compere, Ray Bradshaw, was funny though.

I also had tickets for recordings of a radio show hosted by Russell Kane, but I didn’t go to them. The tickets were free and as people can turn up on the day to be part of a reserve list, so it was no loss to me and someone would have benefitted from my absence.

As I left the recording on Saturday evening, I was met by rain. It took two days for it to rain in Edinburgh, that must be some sort of record.

The rain continued into Sunday morning, when it died down, I went for a stroll around Royal Mile and Victoria Street.

Sunday afternoon saw me see my first paid for show, The Beautiful Game, a look all aspects of football, weird and wonderful through the medium of dance, which was very enjoyable. It was a show that you didn’t need to be a football fan in order to enjoy it.

The venue, Zoo Playground on Infirmary Street, was a new venue for me as well. EVen after a decade, it’s always good to visit new venues.

With a bit of spare time, I spent Sunday afternoon on my now traditional Charity Shop Rummage through Newington.

The highlight was seeing some (loose) late 90s Corinthians, though at £4 each, I gave them a swerve.

With some time to kill, I loitered around Guilded Balloon, although a sudden burst of rain meant I headed indoors to wait for Keith Moon : The Real Me, a one man show where Keith talks though his life.

Whilst acknowledging he was a brilliant Drummer, it wasn’t a hagiography, not shying away from his personal flaws.

The only problem was, that Keith was talking and drumming at the same time on occasions, and you couldn’t hear him.

Despite that, it was still an enjoyable show. It was worth it for the story about the prank he pulled in Marks and Spencer.

Sunday night was spent at David O’Doherty. I can’t go to Edinburgh and not see him, he’s brilliant.

After ten years, I’ve learnt to get a mix of people I’ve seen before and people I’ve never seen. Doing one or the other wouldn’t work.

Not only was he hilarious, O’Doherty hates Vape Dicks, which makes me like him even more.

On Sunday night, I went to bed relatively early. There was a reason for that.

That’s because I was planning to walk up Arthur’s Seat.

I’d heard about it, so I decided to do it, having made a start on Bray Head last month.

I phoned for a taxi, thankfully the Driver could give me advice, dropping me off at the entrance near Royal Commonwealth Pool, as it would be the easiest place to start from.

Easy, being a relative term.

I eventually made it, the top was surprisingly busy for 6.30am. I just stood and looked over Edinburgh, it felt amazing. I could even view Easter Road. Could be the start of a niche, Football Stadiums Seen From The Top Of A Hill, Might walk up Divis to see if I can see Windsor Park.

I’m going to make this a part of every visit to Edinburgh from now on.

Back to my accommodation for a bit of a rest, I was out at lunchtime for a second helping of What Has The News Ever Done For Me? before taking in Socially Awkward Penguin by Emmy Fyles, three days later than planned.

There was no penguins in it, she just had to get a use for a penguin costume she drunkenly purchased online.

The show was about social awkwardness, and we had some unplanned social awkwardness when the sound wouldn’t work when trying to play videos, plunging the show into doubt, before two Technical Wizards in the audience, who didn’t know each other, amazingly both called Darren, saved the day.

This year saw the 50th anniversary of (NASA faking) the Moon Landings, and one show covering this was Apollo Take 111, a comic farce where a lowly Civil Servant gets a promotion, tasked with faking the moon landing.

Monday night was spent seeing Frisky and Mannish. It was their first visit since 2014. I saw them then and loved them then, so I made it my business to see them again.

They look at Pop music, analysing how some acts can be merged and fused together.

In short, Rick Astley can sing anything while Doris Day can’t.

My final show, on Tuesday morning, in the interest of balance, was about Apollo 11, and a series of simultaneous stories of how some people spent that night and how their plans changed.

I then went for a walk along Leith Walk.

Not everybody in Edinburgh is there for the whole month. I would have loved to have seen Arabella Weir of Kieran Hodgson but they weren’t performing when I was here.

I’d literally pay to watch Arabella Weir disapprovingly say “Oh for fuck sake Eric” for an hour.

If you haven’t got into Two Doors Down, do it.

With it being warm most of the time, a couple of things stood out. The most obvious being a lack of bins solely for plastic bottles, as I went through a lot. There was also a lack of water refill stations, the only one I saw was in Assembly Gardens.

Also, every venue for the shows seemed to be roasting. Surely the venues could remedy that?

The Scotsman newspaper usually set up camp at venues to give away goodie bags to people who purchase it, but not this year.

If you are stuck for what to see, newspapers are a handy resource, with The Scotsman having a daily preview guide, as well as the Scottish editions of The Times and Metro.

Venues and Promoters also produce their own booklets to promote their events. There are plenty of free books and magazines to guide you if you haven’t made your mind up.

I’m hoping to go to Euro 2020 next summer, so Edinburgh might have to have a fallow year, like Glastonbury.

While I was in Edinburgh, I got an e-mail when heading to the airport on my way home to say that the games I applied for tickets for Euro 2020 was unsuccessful.

We’ll see what my plans are for next summer.

There is still so much for me to explore in Edinburgh, i’d love to see what the city is like outside August.

This year, I’ve been fascinated by Secret Scotland on Channel 5, and Michael Potillo turning up in Scotland in his latest railway adventures.

I’d love to based myself in Glasgow or Edinburgh, and do a tour of Central Scotland.

It wasn’t all bad news when travelling back, as I found 50p when leaving the train and then discovered that Linfield were 2-1 up in their UEFA Cup tie in Montenegro.

Rangers v Linfield in the UEFA Cup? That would be a great excuse to have an extra long trip to Central Scotland.

Wether I return to Edinburgh in 2020 or 2021, i’m missing having flyers shoved in my face.

Edinblog 2018

Edinblog 2017

Edinblog 2015

Edinblog 2014

Edinblog 2013

Edinblog 2012

Edinblog 2011

Edinblog 2010

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : AUGUST

August began for me with the opening game of the 2018-2019 season, as Linfield travelled to Mourneview Park to take on Glenavon.

My next match was in the Scottish Challenge Cup, taking in Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers during a short break to Edinburgh.

Upon my return, it was back to Irish League football for me, with successive trips to North Belfast for Linfield, against Crusaders and Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Cliftonville v Linfield

2018 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August 2018 was a busy month, and it began at Mourneview Park for the start of the 2018-2019 season as Linfield beat Glenavon 1-0.

The following weekend, I headed to Custom House Square to see George Ezra in concert. That was followed by a day trip to Bangor where I squeezed in some Street Art photos, including a mural of John Lydon.

It was then back to the football as I went to see Edinburgh City take on Albion Rovers in the Scottish Challenge Cup while on a short break in Edinburgh. I also managed to get some Street Art photos while in Edinburgh.

Upon my return to Belfast, was a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

The next few days were spent at Custom House Square, seeing Kasabian, Turin Brakes and Travis in concert.

The following Saturday was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield take on Cliftonville.

Glenavon v Linfield

George Ezra live at Custom House Square

George Ezra live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Bangor Street Art

Bangor Street Art Photo Album

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers

Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Crusaders v Linfield

Kasabian live at Custom House Square

Kasabian live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square

Turin Brakes live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Travis live at Custom House Square

Travis live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

2018 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

February 2018 began with a trip to The Limelight, a first proper concert of the year, to see Shed Seven supported by John Power.

That was followed the following midweek by a trip to Warrenpoint to see Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town.

The following Saturday, was Linfield’s 0-0 draw with Dungannon Swifts.

The following week was very busy, with Paul Weller at Ulster Hall followed by Ulster v Edinburgh and then Cliftonville v Linfield.

The weekend after that was a trip to the seaside, to see Linfield take on Ards.

That was then followed by a midweek trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

Around that time, it was getting cold. So cold, there was the possibility of snow. That didn’t come until March 1st, so you’ll have to wait until next month’s round-up to see that.

John Power live at The Limelight

John Power live at The Limelight Photo Album

Shed Seven live at The Limelight

Shed Seven live at The Limelight Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Dungannon Swifts

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall

Paul Weller live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Ulster v Edinburgh

Ulster v Edinburgh Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Ards v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

EDINBURGH STREET ART – AUGUST 2018

Even though it is renowned as an arty city, Edinburgh isn’t really a hotbed for Street Art.

On my recent visits, I have headed to New Street, where there is permanently building work, meaning there are canvasses for Street Artists to work with, but there was nothing whenever I visited.

I covered quite a lot of the city but didn’t see a lot in terms of Street Art.

I spotted some pieces at The Meadows, but the first real spot of note came in the University Area, with some new pieces as part of a Community Project called Southside Murals, done by Kate George.

Not getting into any debate about boundaries, but I also spotted some pieces when I visited Leith.

Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art 2017

Edinburgh Street Art 2015

Edinburgh Street Art 2014

Edinburgh Street Art 2013

EDINBURGH CITY 3-1 ALBION ROVERS 14.8.2018

Linfield might not be in the Irn Bru Cup this season, but that didn’t stop me taking in a game in this season’s competition.

As you will know, I like to visit Edinburgh every August. It’s not a football trip, but it would be rude not to take in a match while i’m there.

I was visiting Monday to Friday, but there were midweek matches on offer for me, as this was the week of the 1st Round of the Irn Bru Cup.

There was also European football the week I was there. Unfortunately, Hibs were away to Molde on Thursday.

Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh, so if Rangers were at home, that would be handy if I wanted to go to it. They were away on the Thursday night.

If, for some reason, I wanted to watch Celtic, guess what? They were away too.

So, all I had was the Irn Bru Cup. There are a lot of towns with football teams commutable to Edinburgh, so my options wouldn’t be limited to the capital.

My options were Cowdenbeath v East Fife and Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers, while Hearts Under 20s were also at home, but that was never going to be considered.

I went with this game as it was a ground I have been to, having been there twice in the space of four weeks last Summer, taking in Edinburgh City’s game against Montrose while at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returning in early September for Linfield’s Irn Bru Cup game against Spartans.

If you don’t already know, Edinburgh City groundshare with Spartans.

There was also the bonus that this game was half price admission if you had a Fringe ticket.

And, the bar was open pre-match, so I had a nosey around. There was a canvass print on the wall of Rod Stewart when he visited the ground, while somebody else killed time by watching AEK Athens v Celtic on their phone.

This ground was familiar to Albion Rovers, having lost 4-0 there in a League Two match just ten days earlier.

This could, and possibly should, have been me seeing Albion Rovers for the second successive season, as Albion eliminated Spartans from last season’s competition but fielded an unregistered player, meaning it was Spartans who hosted Linfield instead.

There were a lot of fiesty tackles going in during the early minutes, but it was Edinburgh City who came closest to scoring when a speculative effort hit the top of the bar.

However, it was Rovers who took the lead on 15 minutes when John Cunningham got clear and fired home, to give them a 1-0 lead they held until half-time.

As the second-half started, a Rovers fans urged his team on, yelling “COME ON ROVERS!! I’M MISSING RIVER CITY FOR THIS!!”

It didn’t have the desired effect, as City went 2-1 up with a quick double from Scott Shepherd and Blair Henderson, before Henderson clinched the game late on with a penalty.

With the game being decided on the night, I wasn’t too unhappy with the game being decided within 90 minutes.

The draw for the next round gave City and away tie against East Kilbride, who eliminated Spartans on penalties. It could easily have been an away game at their ground.

Photo Album

THE EDINBURGH CELEB SPOTTING BLOG 2018

As you will have gathered by my previous post, I was recently in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh in August is usually filled with people from the telly ranging from A List all the way down to Z List.

Here is a list of people I recently spotted on my visit to Edinburgh.

Tuesday 14th August

Nish Kumar – Doing some filming on George Street

Wednesday 15th August

Robert Bathurst – Waiting at traffic lights on Nicholson Square.

Joel Dommett – Loitering in Pleasance and looking at his phone.

Thursday 16th August

Hal Cruttenden – Walking through Pleasance and talking on his phone.

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2017

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2015

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2014

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2013

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2012

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2011