I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Edinburgh and I think I always will. I was actually born on the West Coast of Scotland in a pretty small down, Edinburgh was the first city I ever lived in, moving here after I had finished university.
There are so many fond memories, some of the biggest decisions in my entire life happened in this city. Starting my career in banking, proposing to my then girlfriend and soon to be wife outside the Scottish Parliament where she worked at the time. Meeting some great friends. Experiencing the New Year’s street party, Hogmanay. When it comes to Hogmanay, one of the things I remember with crystal clarity is handing a fiver over for a tiny bag of chips and getting back some coppers in change! Ooft pricey. Still, good fun.
Our favourite restaurants can take us round the world. Omar Khayam (Indian), near Haymarket is superb. Writing this right now, my mouth is watering about the idea of going there, damn. Chicken pakora to start, madras as the main with garlic bread, two bottles of wine without fail. On Dalry Road is Mia, the restaurant we went to our first night living in the city and where we went to after I proposed. The family run Italian is worth a look in whenever you are in Edinburgh.
We both clicked with the city and never looked back. If she had been unhappy or I had been unhappy, we wouldn’t have stayed but we found our home.
Despite all my fond memories of the city though, Edinburgh is an amazing setting for horror. Given that I write horror, I couldn’t ask for better surroundings.
Looming over the entire city is the colossal Edinburgh Castle. Normally it is packed with tourists but at night it has a gothic, ominous look to it. You can imagine during all the strife in Scottish history, like when the Jacobites tried to take the city, soldiers trying to attack that fortress and dying in droves. It is hard to get writers block for horror with that castle casting a shadow over you.
There is the undercity, that walled off area that has some of the most popular ghost tours in the world through it. Dark, unnerving, even the name sounds like it is out of a Lovecraft story, the undercity, or the under vaults. No doubt some nameless evil slumbers below.
Moving away from the buildings to the people, infamous serial killers Burke and Hare stalked the city, murdering anyone out late and night and even worse selling their bodies to the medical school at Edinburgh University. I’ve walked down the old cobbled streets where their victims would have met their end and you can imagine it so clearly having seen it.
I was living in Edinburgh when I started writing and I owe the city a lot for giving me ample inspiration.
In a few months I am moving to London, an even bigger city which will pose new challenges, both professionally and personally. I’m excited but I will always remember Edinburgh.
Onward and upward.