Victoria Terrace - The South West Gate

It was two nights before Hogmanay and the old year was seeing itself out on a wave of blustery, bitter drizzle. Punnr hunched against the wet and made his way along Victoria Terrace, an elegant walkway that curved along the southern slope of the Old Town. It was almost midnight and the restaurants were quietening. 

 

At the far western end, where the Terrace turned a corner into a quieter non-descript stretch, Punnr could see Calder sheltering against the tall frame of Brante, and a few yards away Erland stood with his head hooded and hands thrust into pockets, ignoring the other two.

Victoria Street has to be one of the most photographed streets in Edinburgh. It's gentle curve and colourful shop fronts make it a favourite with visitors. It was built in the 1830s to improve access from Grassmarket to Lawnmarket, which had hitherto been connected by a very steep and narrow lane.

Above the street an elegant curving terrace was constructed, which today houses a number of eateries. It is a place of food smells and kitchen vents, and on warmer evenings there is the hubbub of al fresco dining.

Yet, walk to the very western end and the noise quietens. The cafes are replaced by bins and detritus and forgotten doors. A dark place at night. It makes you glance behind you and wonder what lies beyond those doors.