Happy birthday Sir Walter Scott

Today marks 243 years since the birth of Edinburgh author and poet Sir Walter Scott (1771-1844), whose statue sits underneath his monument in Princes Street Gardens.

Did you know?

  • The Scott Monument was built by public subscription in the 1840s to commemorate Sir Walter Scott.
  • If you don't want to climb all 287 steps to the top of the monument, you can take a virtual tour.
  • The Gothic monument has 64 of statues of Scott's characters across it. 
  • With breathtaking views, it stands over 60 metres (or 200 feet 6 inches) high.
  • The council's Writers’ Museum on Lady Stair's Close holds a fascinating collection of items relating to Scott - from a printing press and rocking horse to published works.
  • You can access the monument Monday - Sunday, 10am - 7pm, through to September.
  • Professor David Mason, in 'A Literary History of Edinburgh', described the icon as "... the very central and supreme object in the architecture of our present Edinburgh is the monument for Sir Walter Scott, the finest I think which has yet been raised anywhere on earth to a man of letters...”.
  • The city's second Edinburgh Makar wrote a poem just for Scott and the monument, which you can read below.

If Sir Walter Scott could see his statue

By Valerie Gillies 

There’s Maida! I got him from Glengarry

- by that I mean the chieftain, not the glen –

and I named him for the battle where my friend

Sir Davie Stewart was the hero of the hour. No quarry

can outrun my irongrey deerhound. Go in awe

of him. A portrait has to have in Maida with me

that there may be one handsome fellow in the party.

He is, I think, the finest dog I ever saw.

But now he has to so many artists

that whenever he sees brushes and a pallet

he gets up and leaves the room, tired of constraint.

See how my hound in marble, not in paint,

is listening for the call to hie! hie away!

to our life in the forest, over bank, over brae.

Find out more about the monument at Edinburgh Museums and Galleries.

Happy birthday Scott

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