Continuing our walk around Edinburgh, we made our way from Old Town up to the monuments of Calton Hill, which overlook the city of Edinburgh and Holyrood Park. You could still see torches left behind from the previous night, where revelers marched to a great bonfire on the hill to welcome the new year.
At the top of Calton Hill sits a tall column. We went up to it thinking it would be a great place for some panoramic shots.
Come to find out, the column atop Calton Hill is dedicated to none other than Lord Horatio Nelson.
If you don’t recall anything about a Nelson other than Nelson’s Column in the center of Trafalgar Square in London, then I’d say you’re doing pretty well. I’ve always been interested in the story of Lord/Vice Admiral/Viscount Nelson, and it’s obvious the British are pretty fond of him.
My retelling of his story won’t even get close to doing him justice. Lord Nelson was a contemporary to Napoleon Bonaparte, though while Napoleon drew his battle plans upon the earth, Nelson waged his war at sea. A highly successful leader in the Royal British Navy in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries, Vice Admiral Nelson paid the ultimate price in his decisive victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, the Twenty-First of October, 1805.
Just before engaging the French and the Spanish on that fateful day, he flew the following message (in signal flags) from his lead ship, the HMS Victory:
ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY
The Nelson Monument in Edinburgh was built only two years later. Every year since, they have flown the same signal flags from the monument on the anniversary of his death, October 21st.
A fine monument for a fine man, don’t you think?