How Looking Down Might Just Help You to Learn the History of Edinburgh:

If you told me last January that I would not only be studying abroad in England, but also that I would have had my first solo trip, I would not have believed you. But, one year later, I have been so blessed to be able to say that both of those things are the truth!

Being able to study at the University of Surrey has been such a unique experience for me. I never had the chance to study abroad before, nor have I had the chance to visit the UK, so when I arrived in Heathrow airport last September, I had no idea what adventures I would be going on in the next few months.

For my winter holiday, I chose to spend my time in Scotland! I took a ‘grand tour’ of sorts – visiting Glasgow, Glencoe, Fort William, Isle of Skye, Inverness, Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Dundee, and Edinburgh. I loved every moment of my trip, even though there were times where I would be complaining to myself or I was bit miserable because of some unforeseen circumstances.

One of my favourite parts of my trip was when I was in Edinburgh. Around the city, if you look hard enough, you might see a little bronze plaque in the ground with an image of a camera! These plaques originate from the 1990s, when Fuji cameras teamed up with the Edinburgh township to mark some of the prettiest spots around town to take the most scenic photos. This is called the Fuji Phototrail, with a Red and Blue trail taking you all around the city. Now, almost 30 years later, some of these plaques can still be found. I spent a whole day walking around Edinburgh trying to locate as many plaques as I could, while also trying my hand at taking photos of these scenic locations. All you do is find the plaque and simply orient your camera facing the direction where the plaque is readable, words perpendicular to your sightline. All the photos I’ll share are taken with my Samsung smartphone camera, so you don’t need any fancy equipment to have a fun time! I’ll take you on this journey, and perhaps you too will be inspired to check out as many of these locations as I did!

The Red Trail: Six Markers Found.

The first marker on this trail is Number 4: The Mound Steps.

From the Mound, the viewer looks down onto the Christmas/Hogmanay Fair, where the Ferris wheel, the Scott Monument, and the Sky Swings are the most prominent features (from left to right). The Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, a prominent Scottish author, stands at an impressive 200 ft, 6 in (61.11 m).

The second marker on this trail is Number 6: Charlotte Square

Charlotte Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site, in which it parallels St. Andrew’s square, which is located in the east. The orientation of this photo looks down Charlotte Street, all the way to Princes Street, where the steeple of the Parish Church of St

Cuthbert can be seen. Additionally, in the foreground, the building right behind the tree is one of the main buildings that surround Charlotte Square. The residents of these buildings were often legal and medical professionals – the elite members of the Victorian middle class in Edinburgh.

The third marker on this trail is Number 7: Moray Place.

A part of the Moray Estate, Moray Place is part of a grand urban planning design, which intended to create a residential enclave for some of Edinburgh’s most esteemed residents. In 28 Moray Place, Lord Moray took residence in the the largest and most prominent house. Lord Moray, or Francis Stuart (the 10th Earl of Moray), was responsible for the commission of the design of the Moray Estate, after his father acquired it from the Heriot Trust. This photo orients the viewer on 28 Moray Place, which features a Romanesque façade, which the other connected townhouses do not feature. It also allows for the circle shape of the townhouses to be viewed, as they all face towards the centre garden, which is now a private dog park for residents of the estate.

The fourth marker on this trail is Number 8: Dean Bridge and the Water of Leith.

This photo orients the viewer towards Rhema Christian Centre Church, formerly known as Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Standing on the Dean Bridge, it is possible to look over the railing at the Water of Leith. The Dean Bridge was built in the wake of the successful expansion of the New Town in the Moray Estate. A lot was happening in Edinburgh in the Victorian era!

The fifth marker on this trail is Number 9: Dean Village from the Waterside.

On the edge of the Water of Leith, Dean Village is one of the oldest villages around the Royal Burgh of Edinburgh. The village remained separate from Edinburgh until the 19th century, but the building of the Dean Bridge allowed the village to be connected with the other parts of Edinburgh town.

The sixth marker on this train is Number 10: St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral.

Dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin, St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral was founded after sisters Barbara and Mary Walker left their whole property to the Scottish Episcopal Church. Sir George Gilbert Scott, the architect of St Pancras Station and Hotel, was chosen out of six architects to enact his design for the Cathedral. Remaining the tallest building in Edinburgh, the Cathedral was inspired by Gothic churches and abbeys of Scotland.#

The Blue Trail: Six Markers Found.

The first marker on this trail is Number 2a: The North Bridge.

Currently under construction, the North Bridge links High Street with Princes Street, and New Town with Old Town. In the portion of the photo above the construction barriers, you can see the potential of the shot. The Scott Monument and the Ferris Wheel peek out above. Below the bridge lies the Waverley railway station.

The second marker on this trail is Number 6: Edinburgh Castle from Grassmarket.

Settled in the Old Town, Grassmarket is a picturesque part of Edinburgh known for lively restaurants and pubs. It is very close to Greyfriars Kirk and Edinburgh Castle, pictured in this photo. Grassmarket is one of the oldest parts of Edinburgh.[1] Edinburgh Castle is seated on an extinct volcano, and stands tall above the city. Having served as a royal residence, an arsenal, a treasury, a national archive, a mint, a prison, a military fortress, and the home of the Honors of Scotland (the Scottish regalia), Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts. In 2014, research identified 26 sieges in its 1,100-year history. This gives Edinburgh Castle the claim to having been “the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world”

The third marker on this trail is Number 7: Victoria Street.

Named for Queen Victoria, Victoria Street draws inspiration from the ‘Old Flemish’ style and Heriot Hospital. Filled with boutiques, galleries, specialty shops, cafes, and restaurants, Victoria Street remains a popular place for visitors of Edinburgh.

The fourth marker on this trail is Number 8: The Royal Mile from St. Giles

Situated in the Old Town, the Royal Mile connects Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House. It is also home to a vast range of visitor attractions, walking tours, shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs, as well as parliaments old and new, law courts, a cathedral and churches.

The fifth marker on this trail is Number 9: Advocate’s Close.

Right off the Royal Mile, Advocates Close connects Market Street at the foot of Cockburn Street, opposite St Giles Cathedral. At the top of the stairs, you can get a good look of the Scott Monument.

The sixth marker on this trail is Number 11: Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Palace of Holyrood house is the palace of residence for the Royal family of the United Kingdom. Open for visitors, you can explore the State Apartments, the Holyrood Abbey, the Palace Gardens, the Throne Room, and the Great Gallery. There is plenty of history to be learned, most significantly about Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

As you can see, there is a lot of history in these places. Edinburgh is a fantastic city, full of rich cultural significance and beautiful architecture that deserves to be highlighted amongst the greats. Being able to study at the University of Surrey has given me the opportunity to explore places such as Edinburgh. My desire to learn about the world around me is heavily supported by faculty, staff, student ambassadors, and our Student Union, and I am so happy that I was able to share with you all I’ve learned about each photo! I hope that you will take the time to look down, then up, and take your own photos, should you come across the Fuji Photo trail markers upon your next visit to Edinburgh.