Frozen to Calton Hill

The only mysterious technology fluke in all of our many, many bookings had landed us in separate rooms at our Haymarket hostel in Edinburgh. After doing our very, very best to stay awake all day, we finally called it a night around 7 after almost conking out in what I know was an amazing saag paneer.

I texted Kate at 3:24 am.

“You awake?”


“You wanna go for a walk?”


We set out into the brisk Scottish summer night (morning?), wandering through mostly empty streets as the last stragglers headed home from the pubs. One squad was ending the night with a bang, having an all-out, romantically-fueled brawl in front of the Primark on Princes Street.

We crossed the street.

The castle was cloaked in the hazy black glow that is the darkest a city can ever really get.

Up, up, up we climbed the sloping cobbled path on Calton Hill as something approaching sunrise flirted with the horizon.

We found a spot near the edge of the hill to sit, huddled and freezing, waiting for that first little slice of sun to break over the water. The electric neon of the sunrise splashed across the buildings, our faces, the bay as the sun emerged from the misty sea air.

Edinburgh’s Disgrace, half-finished and cheekily nicknamed, looked absolutely stunning as we left the hill, too cold to sit still, but blissfully unaware that Edinburgh, city of late risers, is extremely unlikely to serve anything like breakfast until 8.

Looks better than most cities' embarrassments