Cracking Retirement Highland Cows

Inspiration From My Morning Walk

Cracking Retirement Inspiration

Today I got a lot of inspiration from my morning walk. We often walk around Mortonhall / Braid Hills / Pentland Hills. There are no roads, and it is lovely countryside. We can also choose a variety of walks depending on how energetic we feel. It was a bit cool, but clear, and I confess I was walking quite briskly, because I hadn’t put a heavy enough jacket on. After we turned the corner, that always takes us into the wind, my husband and I decided it was a day for the ‘short’ walk. About 30 minutes…. However, as a result I took my time, and also lots of photographs…

I have been meaning to take a picture of Arthur’s Seat, for a few weeks, ever since I did a post on Edinburgh. I am building an eBook about Edinburgh for free, and Arthur’s Seat is a great place to spend some time and it won’t cost you anything. Unless you succumb to the retro ice-cream van….

For those of you who haven’t been to Edinburgh, Arthur’s seat is a large park (640 acres), virtually in the centre of the city. Volcanic in origin, it has a couple of lovely deep ponds. If you want to get fit, I can recommend climbing it. Unless you are really fit, you will be breathless at the top!  Even walking around it is a mere 5km. In June they always have a Race For Life event for Cancer, which I have done several times, although I confess not recently. The next time I do  it, I think I will be walking, not running round.

Not the best picture, but it gives you an idea of the setting. It does your spirit good to enjoy the view, all the way over the Forth to Fife. (not clear enough to see Fife today..)


Cracking Retirement - Arthurs Seat Edinburgh
Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh

We carried on along the windy path, and then turned the corner into a calmer area.

Here’s the old Mortonhall House, built in 1769. The whole area of Mortonhall, which extends for several square miles, has been in the Trotter family since 1635. The original owner John Trotter, was the 1st Baron of Mortonhall. The house has since been subdivided into apartments, although the Trotters still own the majority of the land. Sadly quite a bit is moving to more housing developments. Building starts next week for 650 houses, on one of the large fields on the edge of the land to the south.

Cracking Retirement, Mortonhall House
Mortonhall House , 1769

The old trees, which once formed the original driveway are mainly still there. Which takes me neatly to my next photograph. Just round the corner an old tree had just been chopped down. I don’t know why, but it was massive, and someone has written in pencil on the top – 100 years old, I think possibly older, but it was a bit chilly to stop and count rings, though we did have a quick try…

Cracking Retirement - Tree Stump
Tree Stump – at least 100 years old

I love casting silver, and it struck me that the twigs and bark from this lovely old beauty would make great organic shapes to use. So I collected up a range of pieces that I thought would be useful. To be fair, they have left lots of the old tree round about, and even started making a bench for children to climb in and out of like a canoe.

Cracking retirement - seat or canoe
Seat or Canoe?

These pieces will age really well, as this one from an earlier tree has. I just love the way nature has taken over, slowly eating the inside, but creating a new world as it goes.

Cracking Retirement old tree stump
Old Tree Stump disintegrating beautifully

One of the reasons I love this walk, are the great views. Another few yards along, you get a lovely view of the Pentland Hills, together with the artificial ski-slope at Hillend, so the ski enthusiasts can ski all year round. There has been so little snow this year, they certainly haven’t had much opportunity for the real thing!

Cracking Retirement Pentland Hills
Pentland Hills

In the field with the view of the Pentlands, there were these two chaps, who were far too busy munching grass to look up. To the right you can see the old house. In a few weeks the Rhododendrons will be out, and I’ll post some pictures of the glorious walks through the old gardens.

Cracking Retirement Highland Cows
Highland Cows

The chap on the right has obviously been in the wars – his horns are a tad squint. While it is safe to walk near them, they can be scared, and then look out. Those horns can hurt! (A friend got chased by one..)  I take a different path, if they are in the field I want to cross!

Cracking Retirement - Cow horns
Watch those Horns

Once back at home. I emptied my pockets of their treasure…

Cracking Retirement potential casting
Potential Casting Opportunities

I decided to start with the white piece on the right. It had a lovely smooth texture on one side, and the texture on the other side was essentially straight lines.

So out came the casting kit. That torch can be fierce, the flame is about 6 inches long!

Cracking REtirement - Casting Kit
Casting kit

Yippee – it worked first time (sometimes it doesn’t!) Bottom left, you can see the original, plus the sterling silver copy.

Cracking Retirement - Silver Casting Outcome
The outcome of the Silver Casting

And finally after a bit of finishing off. I’ve still to do a bit of work on it before it is ready for the Assay Office next week, and then it will get a final polish, and get put on a chain and added to my Folksy shop. It’s quite heavy. Nearly 30g / 1 oz of sterling silver.

Cracking Retirement - Casting finished
The original and its’ silver counterpart

So for a day that started with a walk that was a bit chilly, it finished with a nice outcome. Especially as the sun is shining now, and it is a lovely evening. Tomorrow is another day, who knows what inspiration it will bring.

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Cracking Retirement Inspiration


  1. Erith, I love this post! I’m really looking forward to your e-book (with photos, please?) We are hoping to come to the UK next year, and would love to visit Edinburgh again to do it properly. We only had one day on a tour nearly 15 years ago now.

    The casting looks great. Being able to combine natural shapes with silver is appealing, especially as the story of the tree can go with it. The poor tree may be gone, but you’ve just memorialised it so in a way, a small piece of it will last forever.

    1. You can be sure the eBook will have photos. My first post, Tourist in my own town, ( took me half a day, just to sort out 4 or 5 free places, so I think it will take me several months! There are many days work ahead, but it will be fun.
      As for the casting, it is nice to be able to give a story with the piece. A hundred year old tree deserves to be remembered! The trunk in the picture is about waist high, which gives you an idea of the girth. I must measure it, next time I am along that way.

  2. Erinth, what a wonderful walk with you today. You made your lovely part of the world “come alive” with your words. The silver piece is spectacular, with a great story to tell. Marvelous hobby you’ve developed there!! Keep up the good work!

    1. My apologies Erith, I just realized I mistyped your name in my comment! Tsk tsk.

      1. Thanks Fritz – A very minor typo… Our daily walks are great, there’s always something different growing. Not quite the same as your bike rides. I no longer cycle due to an injury a few years ago. I used to cycle to work and back, which was 6 miles each direction, downhill in the morning and uphill virtually all the way home. A killer, but by the time I had puffed my way home, work was a distant memory…

  3. Great post and pictures! I run every morning and get most of my blog ideas and inspiration at this time. There is something very spiritual about the mornings.

    1. Thanks. There’s nothing nicer than walking along in the peace and quiet of a clear early morning, looking at the world coming to life. It’s good for the soul indeed.

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