Thursday, June 15, 2006


I work in the centre of Edinburgh, and try to run at lunchtime whenever I get the chance. Even though I'm from the west of Scotland, I'm still able to admit that Edinburgh is a pretty good city. It has a famous castle (a bit overrated, in my opinion), some good museums and galleries, a lot of nice restaurants, and some lovely scenery. From a running point of view there are some really enjoyable runs - around the Meadows (a big grassy park area very close to the city centre), along the canal, or round Arthur's Seat (a extinct volcano near the Scottish parliament).

I was out running today at lunchtime. For about 9 months of the year running in Edinburgh at lunchtime is one of life's great pleasures, regardless of the weather. Unfortunately that all changes when the tourists arrive, and today it looks as though the tourist invasion has begun.

Now, let me put on record my appreciation of the importance of tourism. It brings millions of pounds into the Scottish economy, and I'm proud of the fact that the Scots are amongst the most hospitable people anywhere in the world. What I don't like is tourists who get in my way when I'm running. And unfortunately the majority of tourists do.

It gets even worse during the 3 weeks of the Edinburgh festival in August. For these 3 weeks it is impossible to book a hotel room within 30 miles of Edinburgh itself. The city is full of tourists. Absolutely heaving. It is impossible to get a decent run. The city centre becomes a 'no go' area for runners or indeed for anyone who wishes to walk at something in excess of a mile every three hours. To make matters worse, if you are fortunate enough to avoid the tourists, you will certainly not get past the fire-eaters, unicyclists and other street entertainers.

Having said all that my run today was pretty good. 5 steady miles, sweated buckets in the heat, but pretty good all the same.

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