Saturday 11 March 2023

Scotland By Rail - Edinburgh Gateway, Edinburgh Park sculpture & nature, Union Canal to Wester Hailes & WHALE Arts Agency

goosander, Edinburgh Park, pastel, 24x30cm

Leo du Feu
Community Rail Champion

A walk from Edinburgh Gateway station, alongside the trams, past the Gyle, through Edinburgh Park business parky sculpture parky area, past Edinburgh Park station, along the Union Canal to WHALE Arts Agency in Wester Hailes.

As I've talked about before, wherever possible I try to work nature and walking into my day.

Because, well, nature, you know, it's great. 

And because I'm not a gym person.

Though I can do about 8 push-ups. Maybe 10 on a good day. 

Though that implies I do them every day.

Walking is my exercise. 

So when I was asked to stand in running an art session at WHALE Arts Agency I knew that although I could get the train to Haymarket then change onto another one out to Wester Hailes station I would much rather get a bit of a walk in.

So I got off at Edinburgh Gateway and had a very happy time walking my route, looking at the sculptures and plantings and wildlife of Edinburgh Park (the area, not the station), coffee and twenty minutes reading my book near Edinburgh Park (the station, not the area), enjoying the canal and hoping hoping to see an otter there as I did last time. I didn't this time.

Then two hours of lovely chat while painting birds with palette knife and acrylic at WHALE.

Then the walk back to Edinburgh Gateway, getting a bit of shopping done along the way.

Here's the walk.

tramlines seen from Edinburgh Gateway station

concrete sculpture & poetry @ Edinburgh Gateway station.
the grassy areas around here are brilliant wildflower meadows in summer.

sculpture and tram stop, The Gyle

through Edinburgh Park area the trams run off-road across lush green turf

Edinburgh Park is a place of offices - and water, reedbeds, trees, public art. A really inspiring area. Everywhere be planned so thoughtfully, bringing people into such close contact with nature.

poets' walk. Norman MacCaig

poets' walk. Naomi Mitchison.
In this photo there are also five waterbirds from four different species

male goosander, pastel, 24x30cm


female goosander



black-headed gull

I love these tall tactile ceramic sculptures 


Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

trees, hedges, grasses, everywhere.
Everywhere should and could be like this

On the right, poles and metal cabling designed specifically to allow climbing plants to wind their way up and form a green screen. 

Edinburgh Park future plans

spot the grey wagtail.
Hint, grey wagtails are bright yellow underneath

Under the railway by Edinburgh Park station (you can also go up and over the railway via steps and bridge in the station

five minute walk uphill then onto the Union Canal

This feels like childhood. I grew up by the canal so I always love being back on one.

nature-painted shipping containers by the canal

At exactly this spot, a year or few ago, I saw an otter.

I spotted bubbles in the canal.
I walked fast to the edge and stood at the very front of what you see in this photo.
The bubbles came right up to me and at the same moment that something about the bubble trail and swirling of mud made me think "otter..?..!", an otter head popped out of the water a foot from my foot.
It got a very great shock and splashed straight back in.

This time I saw no otter.

3 bullfinches in this photo - two rusty red males & one female the same colour as most of the photo.

And a hanging poo bag, that obligatory decoration on shrubs and trees all across Scotland.

can you spot them?
off the canal and across the bridge for the last few minutes to WHALE

you can get here by bus too
WHALE Arts Agency

then avian acrylics with palette knife,
a lovely session for Art in Healthcare's Room For Art social prescribing project


great tit, male (females have a much narrower black vertical chest stripe

brimstone butterfly on lavender



And back onto the canal


Edinburgh Gateway and Edinburgh Park stations are both in Edinburgh and trains are frequent.

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Thank you for reading my Scotland By Rail blog.

Spread the word and let me know about your own favourite railway days out.

Leo du Feu
ScotRail Community Rail Champion
March 2023

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