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Edinburgh & Motherwell

Ø July 20 Edinburgh (Saturday) More photos can be found here.

Knowing that Mandra was arriving just before noon, I planned to get in a not-quite-nearby cathedral visit. After a light breakfast of OJ and banana, a shower (once I figured out how to turn it and the hot water heater on) I was back at Haymarket Station for the 9:16 train towards Glasgow. Changing at Bellshill, the next stop was #Motherwell, with an elapsed time of under an hour. Getting from the station to the cathedral was a bit circuitous, getting under the tracks and a major motorway, but Maps eventually go me there. Mass had just ended at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Good Aid, a good-sized red brick building lying on a northwest (altar) to southeast (entrance) axis. I came upon the cathedral yard from Scott Street, which is “rear” and a parking lot access.

Walking around the church, I paused in the corner garden before coming around to the double doors of the front entrance. I learned that I had about an hour, as a wedding was scheduled for noon. With three aisles, the single-story side aisles have a simple slant roof ceiling, painted white with darker wood bracings. The central nave is two stories with similar white ceiling and dark braces starting above the line of clerestory windows. Fixed wooden pews had a narrow aisle in the center and along the supporting columns. It was definitely a bright space.

Two small chapel altars are at the ends of the side aisles, the right Marian, the left Sacred Heart. Both have carved stone reredos with painted panels. On the left (or gospel) side aisle, are confessionals and a memorial carved wooden life-size statue of the martyrdom of St John Ogilvie. At the rear over the entrance is the organ loft and a five-panel (or “lights”) stained-glass window depicting the Tree of Jesse: the New Testament genealogy of Christ.

#MotherwellCathedral started out as a parish church, and was elevated to cathedral status in 1948 with the creation of the Diocese of Motherwell (North Lanarkshire.)

The main sanctuary, up five white marble steps, bears the changes of post-Vatican II, with a red- and black-marble altar in a pentagonal shape, with the reserved sacrament in a tabernacle set up steps against the back wall. A statue of the cathedral’s patron is in a niche above. The bishop’s throne with two side chairs is mirrored from the left side to three seats for the celebrants on the right.

Leaving, I walked up Coursington Road to Park Street, where I walked a green to the Menteith Road Underpass (much easier than running across the edges of the rotary) to walk down the pedestrian walkway of Merry Street. When I got to the intersection where I’d return to the station, I opted to walk down the open-air mall of Brandon Parade, seeking a facility. Which didn’t happen until I reached the end of the retail space. On my way back, I popped into a Wilko, as I’d encountered a #Cadbury chocolate bar that I really liked, but didn’t see frequently in the “banana markets”. Called “The Raspberry Shortcake”, it was part of a promotion by Cadbury to seek approval from buyers for newly introduced milk chocolate bars. I bought 3, and, as of this writing, have two left, with an expiration date of next May.

Back at the station, I got on the first train towards #Edinburgh. From my notes, it was apparently not the same route I’d arrived on, and I typed it a “milk run”. The only bonus was that I got a few distance shots of “my bridge” with the three piers evident but the support cables blurred. While aboard, I had a text from Mandra – her flight had arrived 45 minutes late, and she was heading from the airport to the train station. That meant that I’d be back to Haymarket before her, and might have a bit of time.

Quite near the Haymarket Station is one of the two #StMarysCathedrals in Edinburgh. In fact, the Scottish Episcopal church is less than a half mile and ten minutes by foot. Clifton Terrace took me to a slight hill up Rosebery Cres, which delivered me to a wonderful green oval braced by the elegant brownstones of Grosvenor and Lansdowne Cres’.

At the end, I was facing the (south)west entrance to the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin with matching tall stone spires. With the classical cruciform layout, a central octagonal tower spire sits over the crossing. Situated in a residential neighborhood, finding an encompassing shot with three towers (preferably without traffic) became my first goal.

With the clock ticking, after 15 minutes I walked inside. Separate red-padded chairs in neat rows fill the nave, including the side aisles, with a wide clearing down the center. The Gothic revival arches are a dark smoky gray stone, making the church feel somber. The curved wooden arched vault ceiling rises above a gallery level and clerestory windows. Without a screen, I passed under the rood (crucifix) at the entrance to the quire. The choir stalls sit under the central tower, right in the crossing. The great organ is at the end of the “north” transept. The Millennium Window, three lights of brilliantly-colored stained-glass looked almost Art Deco to me. A hanging sculpture of wooden and brass amphora back in the nave intrigued me.

Two historic elements are in the church: the pew of Sir Walter Scott had been moved twice since being in St George’s, and then St Paul’s in Edinburgh; and the parchment bearing the wax seals of the Members of Parliament ordering the execution of Charles I. Less than half an hour later, I got a text that Mandra was one stop away from Haymarket, so I scooted out and down the hill, and texted her with instructions on how to exit the station to meet me.

We rolled her bag back to the flat, and she got a bit settled and decompressed. With enough energy, she wanted to get out to see Edinburgh, so we set out past the station to West Maitland Street which took us to Princes Street, one of the main streets of Edinburgh, overlooked by the castle perched high overhead. Just as we merged onto Princes, we passed Ghillie Dhu where a wedding reception might have been underway – the pub looked like it had been a church. Across the street was a tall stone Scottish Episcopal church, St John’s, and a bit further on, a side street with pop-up booths and produce and craft vendors. Slowly strolling east, with the Princes Street Gardens to our right, an extensive greensward that runs all the way to The Mound’s base, where Edinburgh Castle is. A very large Ferris wheel was in the park before we got to the memorial monument to Walter Scott, an open stone spire. Behind the monument and occupying a triangular slice out of the park were the railyards of the Edinburgh Waverly station, the terminus of train service in the capitol.

Turning south, we crossed the bridge over the yards and had a mild climb up the hill to High Street, a shopping “#RoyalMile”. “Road Closed” signs yielded the cobblestones to pedestrians (and bicyclists) only, and on this Saturday, lots of folk were out in the hazy sunshine. Still climbing but now heading west, we came to #StGiles, the Church of Scotland site that had been the major Catholic cathedral pre-Reformation. On my list, I knew we’d return on Monday, but we were able to enter for about 10-minutes before the building was closed. (A dozen outside shots, about half again inside.) Stopping for a break, we popped into a pub where I had a beer and a shot of Oban, ale name lost as I never updated the journal.

Leaving the Mound, we came down to the south of the stadium-like structure, the Military Tattoo, walking Johnston Terrace with the castle high overhead. Walking through the park, we passed the back of St Cuthbert, looking into the graveyard. Returning to Princes Street, we continued to head back to the Haymarket district. Ready to dine, we opted for Mia, Italian Kitchen just up the street from the flat. From my notes, the meal included bruschetta melanzanee mozzarella, risotto asparagi salsiccia e gorgonzola, rocket salad and a Drygate IPA. We agreed it was an excellent dinner.

Back to the flat, we chatted for a bit, strategizing on our Sunday plans. While Mandra got settled in for the night, I began downloading about 250 from the Nikon, once I cleared space from the prior downloads that were up in the cloud.

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