Scenes from Rainy Edinburgh: The Water of Leith

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Edinburgh is famous for its wild and unpredictable weather, categorized by frequent rain showers, fog, and chilly winds — the kind of weather that makes you want to bundle up with a tartan scarf and wile away the day in glorious cafes.

Well, most of the time, that is.  I happen to have incredible luck with Edinburgh weather, timing my visits perfectly for sunshine.  The first time I came here, it was late September and the temperature was 30 degrees (86 fahrenheit).  That is UNHEARD OF in Edinburgh.  People were lying out on the grass, actually sunbathing!

So yesterday, when my friend Kash invited me to walk around the Water of Leith, one of his favorite places in Edinburgh, I didn’t bring an umbrella.  It looked nice out.

Ha.  That was a mistake.  Not only did it start raining within 20 minutes, it began pouring buckets!  We got absolutely soaked.

But rainy days sometimes lead to the loveliest of photos.

The Water of Leith is a pathway that runs along a canal.  It’s a lovely respite from urban Edinburgh, and we saw few others (though to be fair, the downpour probably put most people off!).

The path eventually leads to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art — one of the many free museums in Edinburgh!

There are surprises along the way — like St. Bernard’s Well with its statue.

Few cities lend themselves to black and white photography better than Edinburgh!

And a plaque with a lovely, if fairly obvious, message — The Liberal Deviseth Liberal Things.

This is why Brits wear wellies!  Not just for fashion!

And because Edinburgh regularly goes through several seasons in a day, the sun was shining by the time we finished our walk.

As we made our final turn around the bend, the weather turned absolutely gorgeous.

And this is why I fall in love with Edinburgh a little bit more each time I visit.  It’s more than a beautiful city — it’s absolutely magical, every last bit of it.

Which photo is your favorite?

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24 thoughts on “Scenes from Rainy Edinburgh: The Water of Leith”

  1. Fantastic that you’ve got out to some of the less touristy places in town. The water of Leith path is a fantastic walk in any weather, and is my main running route (I’ve lived in Edinburgh for just over 2 years and love it!). The photo of sunny Dean village is great!

    While you’re in town make sure you head down to the Botanic Gardens, they’re beautiful at this time of year. If you’re in that part of town, check out a few great coffee shops – Urban Angel, Artisan Roast and Circle Cafe too.


  2. I took that very walk in the summer; I think you had better weather than me! I love the Water of Leith; my friends live at the very end of it in Leith itself and it’s one of my main routes into town when I go and stay.

    As for the photos, I love them all. You take great pictures, but my favourite is the last one.

    Thanks for sharing them with us 🙂


    1. Good to see you discovered Coffee Angel. Definitely one of the best coffee shops in town, even though it changed ownership this summer… They do a great ‘Edinburgh Fog’ – an earl grey tea latte with a wee bit of caramel.

  3. Love the water of Leith path, such a nice walk. The last photo is definitely my favorite and now you’ve got me longing to return to Edinburgh 🙂

  4. Last time I went to Edinburgh it wouldn’t stop pouring but still had a lot of fun. I love it there,so much history and mystery so not even rain could stop me!
    Love the pics Kate, and true rain makes pictures so much more dramatic.

  5. Great to see you and catch up at Edinburgh Travel Tweet up & a lovely post. We stay in Stockbridge area & frequently take walks on the side of the Water of Leith – Great pictures & so true to define Edinburgh as a city of several seasons in a day 🙂 – Nice to see the red trouser man as your guide too 🙂

  6. These photos are tremendous! I really dig the editing, especially the shoes pic for some reason 🙂 and the high contrast gritty look of that Water of Leith sign

  7. Hey just wanted to point out that the Water of Leith isn’t a canal, it’s a river 🙂 people sometimes get it mixed up with the Union Canal which runs from the town center to Glasgow, but they’re two totally separate things. You can visit their conservation site for more info:

    Sorry for being pedantic; it’s a totally awesome walk 🙂

  8. Glasgow has a similar trail along the river. I loved it! It leads to the Botanical Gardens and was so peaceful. Besides some people walking their dogs, I didn’t see many people- and not one tourist! 🙂

  9. Kate, Edinburgh is a lovely city. famed for many reasons, but you manage to capture some of the lesser know areas, all with great pics. Great read, thanks.

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