Walking: Center to the Sea

March 21, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do

Britannia in Leith Docks, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of williamsdb via Flickr.

Britannia in Leith Docks, Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo courtesy of williamsdb via Flickr.

Every city has its hidden secrets and the Water of Leith Walkway is one of Edinburgh’s. The Water of Leith is a 12 mile narrow river running through the city from the outer suburb of Balerno in the south-west of the city right through the sea near the Royal Yacht Britannia. Alongside it runs a walking path. Since 1988, management of the river has been in the hands of the Water of Leith Conservation Trust who organized keep the river clean and its banks well-maintained. Lovely for walking along in other words.

You can start your walk in the city center, behind the National Gallery of Modern Art where the trail is well signposted and it’s only 5 miles to the sea. Then, as well as a nice walk and the reward of a tour of the decommissioned Royal Yacht at the end of the tour, you’ll pass one of Edinburgh’s latest prides: Antony Gormley’s 6 Times.

Commissioned by the Scottish National Gallery’s with help from The Art Fund Antony Gormley’s 6 Times sculpture continues Gormley’s interest in the human form in nature. Six life-size figures – one in the gallery grounds, one in the river basin behind the gallery, three in the river itself and one in the river mouth on the dock – will stand sentinel and also be functional: the three standing in the river measure the heights of the water as the river ebbs and flows. Art with a purpose – you’ve got to love that. Just one more reason to love Edinburgh, and one more reason to take a walk.

- Philippa Burne

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