Excursion to Leith (Edinburgh), 16-18 May 2023

16-18 May 2023

IMCoS event organisers were unusually prescient when they planned an excursion to Leith in May 2020, as Time Out magazine has recently declared Leith as the fourth coolest place to visit in the world, and they were not referring to the weather!  Unfortunately that event had to be cancelled because of Covid-19, but a new programme is in place for 16-18 May 2023.  IMCoS has visited Edinburgh before, but the base in Leith will reveal another side to the city.  Because of venue sizes, numbers are limited to 20 so book early to avoid disappointment.

Programme Summary

Day 1   Tuesday 16th May
17.30   Meet in local pub
18.00   Informal walking tour of Leith
19.30   Optional dinner (cost not included)

Day 2   Wednesday 17th May
10.00   National Library of Scotland Map Room
14.00   Newhailes House (free for National Trust or NTS members only)
16.30   Free time to explore Edinburgh or Leith

Day 3   Thursday 18th May
9.30     Trinity House of Leith
11.00   Coach to the Scottish Borders
12.15    Abbotsford
15.15    Coach
15.30   Great Tapestry of Scotland
16.50   Coach to Barony Castle Hotel
18.00  Barony Castle Hotel wine and canapes reception
Polish Map of Scotland
19.30   Dinner (2 courses)
21.00   Coach return to Leith – arrival approx 22.00

Day 4   Friday 19th May
Depart but perhaps visit Royal Yacht Britannia first

Programme Details are given here:

Participants may meet about 6.00pm on 16 May for a short walking tour of Leith (pictured above), led by Diana Webster, followed by an optional meal.

As Leith is Edinburgh’s port and seaside, there is a maritime thread running through the activities.  At the visit to the National Library of Scotland Map Room on 17 May, Paula Williams will introduce a display of three types of collection: business (Stevenson: lighthouse, railway and harbour engineers), private (the recently acquired Smith collection) and country house (Newhailes), home of Alexander Dalrymple (1737-1808), who was the first Hydrographer of the Admiralty, after working for the East India Company.  Dalrymple was born in Newhailes, a Palladian mansion just outside Edinburgh, and in the afternoon a visit has been arranged to visit the house, now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/newhailes

On the following day, 18 May, we start with a tour of Trinity House of Leith, a small architectural gem built in 1816, although the Incorporation of Mariners and Shipmasters can be traced to 1380, founded to support injured and retired seamen and their dependents. This has an eclectic collection of maritime memorabilia, including navigation instruments, donated by its merchant seamen members. https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/trinity-house/history/.

On previous Scottish excursions IMCoS has visited the Highlands, so this time, in the afternoon and evening, there will be a trip south to the Borders, After a coach journey of about an hour, the first venue is Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, in the Scots Baronial style, paid from his success as a popular 19th century author.  There will be about three hours to visit the house and gardens and there is a visitors centre and cafe for a light lunch (own expense). https://scottsabbotsford.com/

A short drive takes us to the Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels, housed in a new building opened in 2021.  This remarkable community embroidery combines art and craft, and portrays the history of Scotland in 160 panels, several containing maps as part of the design.

After a 50 minute drive, the final stop on the tour is at Barony Castle Hotel, which has the outdoor relief Polish Map of Scotland in its grounds.  We shall relax with a glass of wine and canapes (cost included) before viewing the map, followed by a two course dinner (meal included, drinks not included).  The return coach to Leith takes about 50 minutes.  http://www.mapascotland.org/

This will conclude the IMCoS events, but before leaving on 19 May, perhaps participants may wish to book a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia which is moored at Leith.

The price for this visit is £120 and you can book on line shortly.  Numbers are limited to 20.  The cost includes entry to venues (except Newhailes), coach travel to the Borders, wine reception, canapes and two course dinner at Barony Castle Hotel.  Other food, e.g. lunches) is not included.

Meanwhile, please look at the three hotels convenient for this visit.

Please wear flat shoes suitable for walking.  Most paths are paved but there may be time for woodland walks at Newhailes, Abbotsford and Barony Castle.  Light waterproofs (cagoules), anoraks or fleeces are also recommended.  May temperatures average about 14 to 17 degrees celsius maximum to 6 degrees celsius minimum but are sometimes warmer.