My fellow spotters have already written about the Railway Paths and Forgotten Tunnels around Edinburgh. You can spend days exploring all the different branches. I must admit though I’m not always a fan. I find the old tunnels a little scary. They’re often dark, damp and a bit smelly. Except Colinton that is!
Colinton Tunnel was part of the Balerno Railway which closed in 1967. The Tunnel had been run down and damp, like the others in Edinburgh, until the local community decided to create the longest community mural in Edinburgh.
The mural follows a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (who wrote Treasure Island) called From a Railway Carriage and depicts the characters from the poem as well as the author himself. The poem tells of a child’s first trip on a train. Stevenson spent a lot of time in Colinton as a child staying with his grandfather who was minister there. If you head into the village there is a statue of him as a young man outside the church.
Colinton Tunnel is on the Water of Leith path, a bit of a trip from the city centre. It’s about 45 minutes by bus or an hour and a half walking. I highly recommend the walk along the Water of Leith and back along the canal (or vice versa). It’s a beautiful walk where you can easily forget you’re in the city centre, although I know a three-hour round trip isn’t for everyone!