Sunday, 5 November 2006

Edinburgh gem

This close, which begins just off of Market Street, is one of my favourites. The only one that is an equal for my affection is Fleshmarket Close, which is clouded in history, its worn stairs leading past the tiny Halfway House Pub. Once, as I walked up the stairs past the pub, I saw an old man standing outside with such a vacant look in his eyes that I swore he was a ghost.
Craig's Close is the tallest and most narrow that I have seen so far (Edinburgh has many secrets and I have discovered few). At all times of year it in shadow. When it rains, the slick dark sides gush and drip and soon the torrent is heaving down the steps and onto the pavement below. The stairs lead steeply to Cockburn Street, just off of the Royal Mile. But few people use this close; they prefer the wider, drier, warmer, better lit (albeit consistently perfumed with the scent of stale urine) Fleshmarket route. And no one walks Craig's Close when it is raining, when the darkness and damp are like a blanket, and suddenly the stones are telling you there is no certainty of an exit. What utter perfection.

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