Exploring Chester

*It’s taken me a long time to post this due to other commitments, so excuse the brief notes and whistle-stop tour. Chester is definitely worth a visit and easily walkable.

The Romans called her Deva. Chester is a great city to visit as there are things to be discovered on most of the city streets. It’s only a small city but was strategically important as a port (until the Dee silted up and Liverpool took centre stage) and as a military and administrative post due to its proximity to north Wales. We were in Chester for a university visit, a great excuse for a number of recent excursions including Aberystwyth and Birmingham. We began at the wonderfully named Little Roodee car park. It’s a short distance from Chester Racecourse and right alongside the river.

Footbridge over the Dee

This bridge gives great views of the Dee and City. There are pedalos and rowing boats to hire and trips on the Mark Twain (definitely not a good walk spoiled) and Lady Diana riverboats. The university has many of its campus buildings alongside the Dee.

Looking downriver from the bridge

I’ve been fortunate enough to have stories shortlisted a few times in the Cheshire Prize for Literature, so have good memories of walking along the Dee here and sinking a few red wines at the reception. Sarah Hilary, who won the prize a few years back, has gone on to become an established crime fiction writer.

The Mark Twain

Swapping the Mississippi for the Dee. Close to the river is Chester’s amphitheatre. Britons would’ve slugged it out at the amphitheatre below.

Town Crier

If you’ve seen 24 Hour Party People with Steve Coogan playing Factory Records founder Anthony H Wilson you’ll recognise this bridge and clock from an emotional and celebrated scene in the film.

The Rows

Above and below these are Chester’s ancient rows – two tiers of shops.

More of Chester’s rows.


It’s well worth walking the walls that once protected the city. At this end there’s a steep drop to the canal far below and tremendous views.

Flattened out a little here but it’s really quite a drop to the cut.

Even higher from up here on the tower.

A mosaic near the baths entrance

After a tour of North Wales skirmishing with Celts a hot bath is in order.

Another view of the Dee

Chester has very distinctive signs too. I love visiting and I hear Chester is busy these days too, bucking the trend of staying at home.

Ice Age in Stafford

These glacial boulders can be found across Staffordshire. These are examples all unearthed by the development of a housing estate near to us. Excavations of a few metres depth unearth them. I wonder where they originated? Depending on the ice flows perhaps Scotland, North Wales or the Lake District. Of course, our countries didn’t exist then. Amazing to think they have been in this red ochre soil for many thousands of years.

Walking in Edinburgh

The rain mostly held off so we tried to see as much as we could. Here are a few pics and notes from a ramble round Auld Reekie.

We walked 11 miles in total. Edinburgh city centre is easy enough to walk on foot, with trams and buses if you need them.

3 Bridges

Not a great shot but the start of our day. It’s taken from the Forth Rail Bridge with the Forth Road Bridge and newish Queensferry crossing beyond.

Sir Walter

He’s not so widely read these days but was a serious bestseller in the past and his quotes and verse adorn Waverley station.


Edinburgh is built on hills with bridges spanning between them. So the closes between are steep climbs. It’s the kind of city with hidden bits everywhere. Keeps you fit too.

James Watt

This is Watt, immortalised in marble in the Scottish Museum. He did his best work in the Midlands of course, but no mention of that here 😉

An institution

We didn’t indulge but saw a number of chippies offering this infamous snack.

West Bow

This is West Bow, and it must be one of the city’s most photographed streets. It leads from close to the Royal Mile to Grassmarket in the shadow of the castle. You may recognise it from Rebus, Jackson Brodie and I think the film One Day.


This close leads down from a section of the Royal Mile that’s crammed with whisky shops. And those street performers who are sprayed in silver paint and only move when holding the collection plate.

Up to Arthur’s Seat

That’s someone else in the pic. We started the climb and rain drifted in. It’s a great view from the top over the sea to Fife and with Holyrood and Hibs’ Easter Road in the foreground.

Scottish Parliament

A quiet day without protests. Just two bored police officers. Architecturally I’m not a fan.


Sadly Edinburgh’s famous Princes Street is, like many other high streets, suffering. Jenner’s department store and many other units are empty. But the views of the castle and Princes Street Gardens are wonderful.

Scott Monument

A tram passes the Scott Monument as we head back to Waverley.


Finally, a message in a West Bow doorway.

Dysart harbour, Fife

Before the rain clouds emptied yesterday we took a walk across a beautiful, autumnal Ravenscraig Park from Kirkcaldy to Dysart.

Dysart harbour

This is Dysart harbour, with the harbourmaster’s house to the left. It was used in the filming of Outlander.

Harbour huts

A few more of these boat names seem to be added each year. Hopefully there was no Mutiny on this Bounty.

Colliery plaque

Along from the harbour is a sign for the old late Victorian Lady Blanche pit. Fife once had numerous coal mines and my late father in law Jim worked at Francis pit in Dysart.

Auld house

Between the harbour and the old pit are the wonderful houses of Pan Ha’. They date back hundreds of years and look fantastic with their red tiled roofs and white render against the sea and sky.

Looking east

Above is the view from Dysart looking north east along the Fife coast towards West Wemyss.

Pan Ha’

Another view looking down at Pan Ha’.

Harbourmaster’s house

This is now a thriving cafe and community space.

Wee tunnel

Picks have cut through the rock to form a tunnel on the path between Kirkcaldy and Dysart.

Those wonderfully restored houses again

And, finally, a surprise perhaps of interest for American readers. I wasn’t aware of this plaque but John Pitcairn led quite a life.