Afternoon stroll at Hopetoun Monument

We couldn’t venture too far from home this Sunday as #RubyBloomT has come into heat for the first time and she is a little quiet at the moment. She will also have to stay on her lead for the next 3 weeks and she is not allowed to attend her obedience classes either.

We see the Hopetoun Monument almost every day and have fancied taking the short trip to investigate. Once at the car park it is only about 400m, uphill.

The way to the tower

The countryside is beautiful this time of year as all the flowers are coming into bloom, blossom on the trees, fields are a fibrant yellow colour with Rapeseed not to mention all the yellow Gorse scattered all over the hills.

The final patch of yellow Gorse

The hill up to Hopetoun Monument was steeper than I thought, easy enough on a dry day but I can see it being a tough climb on a wet Scottish day in winter. After leaving the wood the last section is through the beautiful yellow Gorse and there it is, rising high above you… Hopetoun Monument.

Built for the memory of John Hope in 1824

The monument was built in memory of John Hope who was the 4th Earl of Hopetoun. It is interesting that the monument is here given Hopetoun House is located 27 miles away in South Queensferry.

John commissioned into the 10th Light Dragoon’s in 1784 and was an MP from 1790 to 1800, which is not possible today. The military have to remain neutral therefore a serving member is not permitted to officially represent a political party until after they have retired. John rose through the ranks, succeeding Sir John Moore on his death in Spain and eventually commanded the 1st Division under the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula Wars where he was captured by the French in 1814. He must have been extremely important because King George IV visited John at Hopetoun House when the King came to Scotland on a State visit in 1822. The significance of this was that the Kings visit was the first time a reigning British sovereign had visited Scotland in 170 years.

For some reason #DeaconT didn’t want to climb the 132 step spiral staircase to the top. It was steep, narrow and at times quite dark so I had to put my iPhone torch on. For some crazy reason I started running up two steps at a time, that foolishness stopped about two thirds up as my thighs began to burn. If you slipped on these stairs you would almost certainly tumble all the way down to the bottom!!!

The view from the top was amazing. To the west you could see one of my favourite places to go running, thePentland Hills, then there was Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat. To the east you could see the North Berwick Law and in the south was the Lammermuir Hills. Even in May it was certainly breezy up here which meant the cold cut right into you. No time to contemplate the workings of the universe, take a few photos and then head back down before my fingers froze.

Panoramic view West > North > East

If I thought it was fun going up the spiral staircase it was more interesting going down. I didn’t realise how narrow these steps were, especially as I have size 10 feet. The few narrow windows give some light but near the bottom it gets very dark and it would be easy to lose your footing if you didn’t concentrate.

The narrow spiral staircase

Once at the bottom we headed off for a little walk which ultimately brought us back to the car park again. If you wanted to carry on exploring historical sites, Athelstaneford is just a few miles away, which claims to be the first place the Scottish Saltire was first flown in 832AD; there is some debate about this. As we had already been there we headed over to a cafe in Dirleton so #DeaconT could have some ice cream, and cake for the parents! There is a stunning castle in Dirleton but as we had #RubyBloomT that would wait for another day.

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