Water of Leith Walkway Stage 2 – Colinton to Saughton

Hello Fellow Gallopers,

Continuing on along the Water of Leith, this part of the journey takes us through Colinton, Slateford and ends in Saughton as the river meanders deeper and deeper into the heart of Edinburgh from the Pentland Hills.

Colinton Village can trace its history back to 1095 when it was an important crossing point of the river at a ford located by the bridge at the bottom of Spylaw Street. Both a mill and a church were recorded in 1226, when the village was called Hailes. It was a centre for milling in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The first feature that one notes in this area is Spylaw House in Spylaw Park – the mill and home of famous snuff maker James Gillespie. After his death in 1797 his fortune was used to endow Gillespie’s Hospital and James Gillespie’s School for Girls. One also passes through the Colinton and Craiglockhart Dells – a superb wooded haven for wildlife (the woodland dates back as far as 1750).

Slateford is an ancient river crossing with “slate” derived from the slate-like rock in the riverbanks. The gorge upstream and marshy flats downstream led the village to become an important junction of the major routes of Lanark Road, the Union Canal and the Caledonian Railway to Glasgow with its Balerno branch line. The main industries of the village were the bleaching green, printing work and quarrying at the Redhall and Hailes quarries to the west. The Slateford Aqueduct (1822) and Viaduct (1847) dominate the landscape here. The Water of Leith Visitor Centre can also be found here.

Saughton Park was once part of the lands of Stenhouse and had an elegant mansion of its own, Saughton House. In 1908 the park housed a massive Scottish National Exhibition with shows, displays, a concert hall, bandstand and a huge fairground with waterslide and roundabouts. All that remains is the white bridge into the site from Balgreen Road (crossing reputedly the deepest pool in the river), the iron footbridge at Fort’s Road and the rose gardens.

To see all the images* in this set, please click the links below:



Please do join me next time for Stage 3 of the journey which will start in the Murrayfield Rugby Grounds and pass through Roseburn Park, Bells Mills Area and end in the Dean Village.

Till next time, take care and gallop free.

*- images taken with the Canon 50D.

Ride with the Black Stallion: www.igallopfree.com

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