Today, I did my annual trip up Blackford Hill, to the south of Edinburgh. The photos below are all from today. The one above was taken in 2010.
The reason I try to go up Blackford Hill every Fringe was explained by me in a book which the website Such Small Portions published in 2013. It was titled Secret Edinburgh, sub-titled A Comedians’ Guide To The City. It had contributions from over 160 comedians and/or people listed in the Comedy section of that year’s Edinburgh Fringe Programme.
Which is why I was asked to contribute, although I was not and am not a performer.
One section of Secret Edinburgh was titled Out of Town and contributors basically wrote about their favourite places which are not in the centre of the city.
Below is my contribution in 2013, interspersed with photos taken today.
When I was newly 18, I tried to commit suicide with pills. This was a bad idea, because I had always been shit at Chemistry in school.
I was persuaded to go into a mental home in Essex, because I had tried to kill myself. I did. But I only stayed two days and one night because they kept asking me questions when I just wanted to be left alone.
I went back to my distraught parents’ home, but it was no better there. Not their fault. So I ran away from home.
I hitched to Edinburgh which was and still is my favourite city. Ever since I was an embryo, I had gone there once a year with my parents to spend a few days with my father’s aunt, who lived in Morningside.
When I ran away to Edinburgh, I slept one night in a multi-storey car park at the foot of the castle rock. I spent another sleeping in the stairwell of a block of council flats. It was very cold.
In Morningside, I saw my great aunt on the other side of the street. I did not talk to her.
Later, I walked up the Blackford Hill at twilight to see the view: the city spread out before me, the castle rising up in the distance on the left; Arthur’s Seat rising in the distance on the right. The waters of the Forth were twinkling in the background with Fife beyond them; the lights of the twilight city were starting to twinkle in the foreground.
It was totally peaceful and now, every time I go to Edinburgh for the Fringe, at least once I walk up the Blackford Hill to feel that tranquility amidst the Fringe adrenaline.