The Scamp Scales the Monument

I’m still having visa issues, and still not settled in Scotland, so I decided that today I would be a little bit of a tourist and visit some of my favorite places in Scotland. One of the things that I always wanted to do was climb to the top of the Sir Walter Scott Monument.

According to the Scott Monument website:

Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh on the 15th August 1771, in a tenement flat at the head of College Wynd in the Old Town. He was the ninth of twelve children, of whom the first six died in infancy. His father was a ‘Writer to the Signet’ (solicitor) and a sober and strict Calvinist. His mother Anne Rutherford was the daughter of a professor of Medicine at Edinburgh University. Both parents were from old Borders families, whose histories inspired Scott’s later literary work.

He developed polio as an infant, and was sent to his grandparents’ farm at Sandyknowe in the Borders to recuperate. The farm is situated beside Smailholm Tower, an inspiring medieval fortified house on a dramatic rocky knoll. Various remedies were attempted to cure his infirmity, including a year in Bath ‘taking the waters’ to no avail – he had a limp and periods of illness throughout the rest of his life.

In 1779 he went to the Royal High School of Edinburgh and became a good Latin scholar. He retained an interest in languages and taught himself Italian, Spanish and French while at University from 1783, and later translated ballad’s and play’s of Burger and Goethe from German. He studied law and was called to the Bar as an Advocate (Barrister) in 1792.

From his early days Walter Scott was popular and at ease in society. He met Robert Burns ‘the boast of Scotland’ when he was fifteen years old, and later became friends with many famous people.

He was highly regarded by fellow poets James Hogg and William Wordsworth, and artists like William Allan and Henry Raeburn painted portraits of him. Scott met the Duke of Wellington in France while researching ‘Life of Napoleon’, which Goethe praised highly, and he was also respected and equally friendly with his servants, such as Tom Purdie.

The monument was built in 1840, stands 200 feet 6 inches high, and with no lift, takes 287 steps to get to the top. It was quite crowded today, but I decided that I could use some good views of the city, so I made the trek to the top.

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Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the top, there were so many people on the platform that I was too afraid to take my camera out and take pictures. I was also too afraid to take chicken out as well. I’m really glad I climbed all the way up though because the views reminded me of why I love the city so much, and why I packed up my life in California to come here. I know all of the visa work will settle itself, but it has been a constant stress, and a jumble of incorrect information.

I’m glad the weather held, and since the next month is going to be spent writing research questions, drafting ethics proposals, and getting my calendar set for my research, I may not get to see the outside again for awhile. After the conference in Birmingham, I have a lot of notes and info to sort through, and a lot connections to make. I surprised myself b how social I was, and how many really important connections that I made. There may just be a future for me in the field of Assessment Development.

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