Scott Monument and Statue

On Princes Street in the center of Edinburgh there is a tall (200 feet 6 inches = 61.1 meters) monument to the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), with this statue at its base.

Scott was the author of numerous books including the novel The Bride of Lammermoor, published in 1819. It is the story of a young woman, Lucy Ashton, who is forced by her family to marry a man she detests. She is driven to insanity, and stabs her husband on their wedding night.

This story formed the basis of the opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), with its famous “mad scene” which goes on for about twenty minutes (after the stabbing) with mainly just the soprano and a haunting glass armonica or flute accompaniment. When people ask me what my favorite opera is, I often say this one, which I have seen in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Lille, Berlin, Hannover and Darmstadt at various times. (I’m listening to Edita Gruberova sing it as I write this.)

View from the Scott Monument

If you are not claustrophobic or afraid of heights you can climb a narrow winding staircase (287 steps according to the certificate they give you) up to the top of the Scott Monument, where you have fine views in all directions.

This particular photo shows the view looking more or less Northeast or East-Northeast at Calton Hill, and beyond that the Firth of Forth.

The monument was built starting in 1840, and was completed in 1844.

About halfway up (or down) there is a room with some information, in written and in audio form, about Scott’s life and writings.

Looking north from the Scott Monument

Here we are looking north towards Edinburgh New Town, Broughton and Canonmills. Off in the distance are the Leith Docks and the Firth of Forth.

Looking east from the Scott Monument

This time we are looking east toward Portobello and another part of the Firth of Forth.

My photos in this post are from 2005. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on Edinburgh, Scotland.
See more posts on the composer Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848).

1 thought on “Scott Monument and Statue”

  1. I never realised you could climb the Scott Monument! It’s good to know there is a room with interesting displays on the way up, as it provides a great excuse to break the climb 😉

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