Why we love the Scott Monument
Written by Helen Fowler Thursday, 07 January 2010 15:33
It is the first site greeting anyone who arrives in Edinburgh by train. It dominates the skyline along the south of Princes Street, the city's main shopping street. And it offers panoramic views of Edinburgh's old and new towns.
All you need for a visit to the 200 foot high Victorian Gothic Scott Monument is the stamina to tackle its 287 steps. Oh, and £3 for admission. Not much for the chance to see one of Edinburgh's most iconic buildings.
Much-loved Scottish writer
Or you can just enjoy looking at the Monument from the ground. And admire the carrera marble statue of much-loved Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott.
He sits in all seasons under some say is one of the fanciest wind breaks ever made.
If you do decide to go inside, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Scotland’s capital from different levels of the building. There is a museum commemorating the life and work of Scott, still considered one of Scotland's greatest writers nearly two hundred years after his death in 1832.
The monument was built in 1840, eight years after his death,as a tribute to the man who drew on his love of Scotland and its people in his writing. Scott wrote novels such as Ivanhoe, Heart of Midlothian, Waverley and Rob Roy.
His novels and poems are still widely read today, and many of them remain classics of English literature. Born in Edinburgh, the son of a solicitor, Scott was one of the first writers to enjoy international success, although, like many writers, he suffered financial problems during his career.
More than sixty statuettes of characters from Scott's novels nestle in niches studded into the monument's stonework.
Sir Walter Scott is not the only Scottish writer remembered by the building. The likenesses of 16 Scottish poets support the vaulted roof.
You can find the Monument next door to where the Winter Wonderland and Big Wheel have set up camp in Princes Street Gardens during the Christmas period.
Sir Walter must enjoy being an onlooker at all the festivities on the ice rink each Christmas.
Scott Monument , West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, EH2 2HG, tel: 0131 529 4068
Winter (from Oct 1) Monday to Saturday, 9am to 3pm, Sunday 10am to 3pm
Summer (from April 1) Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm