Last night I entered the Blair Street Underground Vaults, deep beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, in search of a ghost or two.
Recently I tried night sketching on Calton Hill for the Torchlight Procession, and I’m no stranger to theatre sketching in the dark, but I have never drawn from deep within Edinburgh’s underground vaults, in complete darkness except for the shimmering of a candle on the stone wall. Once a hive of trade and slum dwelling the small cave like rooms were formed in the nineteen hidden arches of the South Bridge.
According to many the rooms, some only a few feet square are still a hive of activity, with ghosts and ghouls still lurking in the labyrinth of walkways and darkened corners. Although I didn’t witness any apparitions myself the vaults are very spooky, with distant noises leaking down from street level and flickering candlelight creating menacing shadows on the walls.
My sketch above is of our guide, Alex in one of the haunted vault rooms. Below are a couple of quick sketches from above ground as Alex led us through the Old Town, plus the sketch from above before I darkened the outside edges digitally.
Take a look beneath the streets of Edinburgh if you dare with Mercat Tours, you will learn alot about Edinburgh’s history, and may even meet one of its late inhabitors.