Monday, September 12, 2011

The Big Pointy Building

Last week I was meeting my friend Stevie in Edinburgh’s city center and I was running late. So, I gave her a quick text: “I’ll meet you at the Scott Monument!”

“Is that the big pointy one?” she responded.

I couldn’t help but laugh.  Stevie is one of the most well-read people I know, and she’s been living in Scotland for 4 years; how could it be that she didn’t know that the big pointy building next to Edinburgh’s train station was a Monument to one of Scotland's most famous writers?

Walter Scott is a symbol of pride to the people of Scotland. As the writer of Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, and many more titles, his historical fiction gave this small country international fame in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Like Stevie though, Edinburghers tend to take the Scott Monument for granted.  It’s an iconic part of Edinburgh’s skyline, yet, few realize that the “big pointy” building is more than a meeting point for tourists.  

Furthermore, many don’t realize that you can climb up the Scott monument.  Even though the stairways are winding, and claustrophobic, it’s worth the effort and the 3 pound entry fee. Don’t even think about going to Edinburgh without doing this!

Some fun facts about the Scott Monument:

  • Designed by Scottish Architect George Meikle Kemp
  • At 200ft 6in, it's the highest monument to an author in the world!
  • It takes 287 dizzying steps to reach the top
  • The base holds a statue of Scott with his Dog, Maida
  • Scattered around the area are 64 statues of characters from Scott's novels
  • The first stone of the monument was lain on Scott's birthday: August 15th 1840
  • It's crazy windy at the top!

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