Calton Hill and Lord Nelson

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.

Monuments at the top of Calton Hill
Monuments at the top of Calton Hill

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.

House on Calton Hill
House on Calton Hill
Cannon aimed West
Cannon aimed West

Come to find out, the column atop Calton Hill is dedicated to none other than Lord Horatio Nelson.

Nelson's Monument
Nelson’s Monument

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.

Edinburgh facing North, towards the Firth of Forth.  In the center of the picture is where the bonfire was from the previous night.
Edinburgh facing North, towards the Firth of Forth. In the center of the picture is where the bonfire was from the previous night.
Edinburgh, with a distant view of the castle.  The Governor's Mansion is closest, below.
Edinburgh, with a distant view of the castle. The Governor’s Mansion is closest, below.
Edinburgh, with Holyrood Park being the big bluff on the left.  You can hike up there, if you remembered your Wellingtons.
Edinburgh, with Holyrood Park being the big bluff on the left. You can hike up there, if you remembered your Wellingtons.

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.

The Governor's Mansion
The Governor’s Mansion
Less-historic Edinburgh
Less-historic Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle viewed from the top of Nelson's Column
Edinburgh Castle viewed from the top of Nelson’s Column
House again
House again
Edinburgh very near sunset.  It was too cold and windy to hang out any longer.
Edinburgh very near sunset. It was too cold and windy to hang out any longer.

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.

Sunset over Edinburgh
Sunset over Edinburgh

A fine monument for a fine man, don’t you think?

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