The Heavens Opened


Unbelievable! I left home the back of 4am to arrive in good time in Elgin at around 7.30. All the way there I hadn’t seen a drop of rain. Then, as I parked the car in South Street, the sky turned black and the Heavens opened! I couldn’t have timed it better if I’d tried.

Thankfully, the rain was to be short-lived and less than an hour later it had cleared to leave a fine, though windy, spring day. A good shower of rain can fairly help clear the air. On top of his 80 feet tall pedestal, the Duke of Gordon would certainly be feeling it a bit draughty today.

That was my first port of call-to climb up to the monument on Lady Hill. It’s up there you’ll also find the remains of Elgin Castle. There’s not a lot of it left now but it does make a grand place from which to view the city.

Being small and compact, old Elgin is just an ideal size to explore on foot. Indeed, with much of the High Street pedestrianised, if s really the only way to explore it.

All the way along the main thoroughfare you’ll find lots of places of interest from the fountain standing on the site of the OldTolbooth and jail; St Giles Kirk which literally sits in the middle with the street dividing down either side; and to not one but two crosses – the Muckle Cross and the Little Cross.

Beyond the eastern end of the High Street and North College Street, stands Elgin Cathedral. It’s just a stone’s throw from the winding River Lossie that in a great loop runs round three sides of the city. The river would provide welcome protection in days of old. Not enough protection though to save the Cathedral from repeated attacks and its ultimate destruction.

Despite having lain in ruins for several centuries this building that was once seen ‘the glory of the kingdom’ is still most impressive and well deserves recognition as one of our most glorious ruins. The climb to the top of the north-west tower is a must. I think I counted 138 spiral steps. Popping out at the top my head is still going round in circles! If anything it was more windy on the tower than on Lady Hill. In one strong gust I nearly bade farewell to my bonnet – hence the rather wobbly video pictures!