A Blog By Someone Who Definately Doesn't Like Heights

by Harry

Nestled away in the woods on Corstorphine Hill in Edinburgh rests a large, imposing tower. This is Corstorphine Hill Tower. For most of the time, it’s closed to the public and is just a large building you have to crane your neck to see to the top. It’s a little bit mysterious, with only a small plaque above the door offering any further information.

Corstorphine Hill Tower dedication

Inside Corstorphine Hill Tower

Corstorphine Hill Tower

The tower is actually open 2-4pm most Sundays in the summer. We decided to get to the bottom of this tower, by getting to the top! (I’ve been waiting ages to find somewhere I can write that line. I’m quite proud of it.)

It was free to get in, and they nice volunteers only wanted a donation if you could manage one. It’s not suitable for dogs, and barely suitable for me and my scardey-catness of heights. But up I went because that’s what the boys wanted and who am I to argue?

Inside there is a metal staircase that spirals all the way to the top, with a couple of platforms you can take a break and let people pass. It’s not a tough climb, and not too steep or narrow until you get to the very top where it’s a bit tighter. There’s a handrail all the way up, and if you have a normal sense of balance you won’t have any trouble here at all.

The top of the tower

Once you get to the top, a stunning view of Edinburgh and the Lothians awaits. Or so I’m told, because the good old Edinburgh Haar had set in and I could see bugger all.

A view from the top of Corstorphine Tower

The kids loved it though, and it was quite safe for them. The wall was high enough that they couldn’t fall off, nor climb it. I didn’t last long at the top because my legs went bandy and felt like jelly so I had to go back down the stairs whilst I could. I swear I get worse with heights the older I get, so that’s my excuse.

Corstorphine Hill Tower doesn’t offer a lot to do, as it were. You climb to the top, have a look, and climb back down again. There’s no reward at the top other than the view, so long as you get there on a good day. But that is reward enough, because this isn’t a tower meant for hundreds of people to climb every year. It’s a special place where you go to remember one of Scotland’ greatest authors, and enjoy the beautiful hill on which it is perched.

Would I go back to the tower?

I would not necessarily set out for a day to visit the tower if I were looking for things to do in Edinburgh. Rather, I would keep it in mind if I was visiting Corstorphine Hill on a Sunday in the summer. It also opens on Doors Open Days too. It’s a great thing to do whilst also exploring the other ruins on the hill, eating wild raspberries and brambles and running around. The hill is wonderful for kids, with open spaces and trees to climb. The tower is an additional bit of fun to have when you are here. If I had the chance to climb Corstorphine Hill Tower again I would – if only to see the view for once!