Saturday 1 December 2012

Urban Landscapes: Edinburgh at Night

I’ve been down in Edinburgh for the Glenfiddich Spirit ofScotland Awards – a very glitzy affair rather outside my normal sphere but enjoyable none the less, especially when Michael Forbes – the man who stood up to Donald Trump – won the Top Scot Award, a really wonderful moment. I now expect Trump to denounce and insult Glenfiddich, the Scotsman, the people who voted for Forbes, everyone there and probably Scotland as a whole. I was there as a nominee for the environmental award, which was won, and rightly so, by Alan Watson Featherstone of Trees for Life (which I have supported for many years). I did get a bottle of Glenfiddich to take home, which was very nice.

Edinburgh was preparing for Christmas, which seemed to involve the erection of some garish, not to say tacky, fairground rides in the Princes Street Gardens that clash horribly with the architecture and generally rather strict feel of this part of the city. The new additions also created some interesting shapes, especially after dark when flashing lights appeared and many of the tawdry and distracting details vanished into the night.

At this time of year darkness is the norm anyway, with less than eight hours of daylight. Wandering round the city as the last light faded I was very taken with the contrasting colours of the lights and buildings, some warm and welcoming, others cool and distant. Edinburgh took on a magic lost in the harsh light of day. Over the shoulder of Calton Hill the white orb of the full moon and the bright dot of Jupiter rose into the deep blue of the sky.

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