The Heart of Midlothian

Let There be Light

We exited the cemetery and headed around the corner (just past the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, on the same street as the Elephant Castle), to get some food.

Since my first visit to Edinburgh, I have been eating at the same place for what I call my ‘thoughtless meals’. You know, when you just want to cheaply fill your belly and continue touring.

Oddly enough (for those who know me), I am a creature of habit, though some of my habits may seem a bit radical.

Baked Potato Meal

The place sells the hugest stuffed baked potatoes. I can’t even eat a whole one on my own. There are many options for toppings, you can literally get all four food groups on one spud.

And the coffee is shockingly strong. They sell other stuff too, but I like potatoes, so that’s all I can recommend!

After eating, we continued down the street to the Royal Mile, passing the Carnegie Library ‘Let There Be Light’ it reads above the main doors. Love that. Literacy did represent the light in the 1800’s.

In Front of the Light

We have Carnegie style libraries in some of our major cities here in Canada too. Unfortunately, the one downtown Vancouver is now an east Hastings hot spot.

If you don’t yet know about our ‘little problem’ here in Vancouver, I say we keep it that way for a bit.

Eventually I will take you on a detailed excursion of the ‘DTES‘ – the same distressing, depressing tour I have given many visiting friends.

Toll Heart

The toll heart (Heart of Midlothian) lays in front of St. Giles Cathedral, located on the Royal Mile in Parliament Square, the famous site of the old ‘witch trials’ and burnings.

The heart is set into the cobblestone on the location that used to be the entrance to the ‘Tollbooth Prison’, the site of many executions. As a matter of horrifying fact, the heads of the execution-ed used to be displayed here.

In Parliament Square


On the northwall of Parliament Square were where the heads of the recently deceased criminals used to be displayed, but this building was demolished in 1817.

The heart is a memorial to the many hearts which must have been pounding away on this very spot before being executed.

If you sit long enough on the bench alongside the heart, you will be able to tell the locals from the tourists. Generally a local Edinburgh-ian Scot will NOT step on the heart but go to great lengths to step around it – they may even spit on it in passing.

St. Giles' Cathedral

Such incredible (tragic) history on this very spot in Parliament Square. It is definitely worth researching more – even if just to check out some professional photographs of the incredible architecture.

Now to take a little tour into the breathtaking St. Giles Cathedral.

Additional photos in the slideshow.

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You can follow this trip by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section, and you can enjoy many more photos of Scotland by heading to the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.



4 responses to “The Heart of Midlothian

  1. Great post ! Fascinating history re heart .. I shall impress our Scottish friends with this little bit of knowledge 🙂
    I LOVE ‘Let There Be Light’ I want that image !!!!!


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