Boys Brigade Walk was set out in 1954 as part of the centenary celebrations honouring the birth of Boys Brigade founder Sir William A Smith in 1854. There was a ceremony when 75 trees were planted by Boys Brigade members.
Middle Meadow Walk was the first of the Meadow walks, set out by Sir Thomas Hope when the parkland was created out of a boggy loch. A contemporary letter praises it as standing comparison to London:
'Mr Hope has beautified the meadow wonderfully and made it another St James's Park.’
Coronation Walk commemorates the coronation of George VI in 1937
Jawbone Walk is called after the iconic arch (now temporarily removed for repair) at the Melville Drive end of the path. The whalebones date back to the 1886 Exhibition where the Zetland and Fair Islands knitters showcased their work by draping it on the jawbones which formed their stand. It is little wonder there is now the urgent need to carry out restoration work on this much loved landmark.
There is an archer to honour the Royal Company of Archers which has held its annual tournament in the Meadows for the past 300 years.
There is a golfer in tribute to The Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society which has been active for almost as long.
A 19th Century knitting lady from Shetland refers to the history of the Jawbone Arch.
The cow in the frame on Middle Meadow walk, as Miss Brodie is leading the girls into the Old Town, is a symbol of the cattle market that used to take place where the Edinburgh College of Art now stands.
Also, how many people know that sheep used to graze on the Meadows?
The May Queen is a figure who has the qualities of a Goddess of Spring when the flowering cherry trees on the Meadows are at their loveliest.
The dew-drop ring refers to the belief that to wash your face in dew on the 1st of May promises a beautiful complexion for the whole year.
A rowan for fortune; the rowan tree is thought to ward off bad luck and bring good fortune.
The crescent moon threaded with clarsach strings is an addition to the folklore of the magical 1st of May on the wide expanses of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links; though if you were to gaze at the moon on that very night and listen you may find it is not imagination.
Heather’s Jig is named for Heather Goodare, Convener of the Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links (FOMBL), the chief sponsors of the Meadows mural. The mural poem ‘The Throng of Folk’ tells of the jig being danced with vigour and of ‘high jinks on Bruntsfield Links’. This mirrors the verve and tenacity with which Heather has steered the mural project to fruition.
Heather’s Jig has now been composed by Malcolm Goodare and premiered by his ensemble ‘Fiddlers on the Ramp’ at the mural launch on 22nd September 2014. So the jig becomes another addition to the folklore of the Meadows.
Hear it here
Hurdy-gurdy: a medieval English musical instrument