With a rather relaxed weekend planned, we didn’t go very far today. We decided to visit Lochend Park, partly because we’d never visited it before, and partly because there are the remains of a castle there.
Situated between Meadowbank Stadium and Hibernian’s ground, this green and tranquil park is an oasis of calm, at the centre of which is Lochend Loch.
There are no burns or rivers flowing into or out of Lochend Loch, instead it is fed by underground springs. It was once reputed to be bottomless!
The silence is broken only by the squawking of birds, of which there are many, nestling in the undergrowth around the edge of the loch, and within the trees that grow out of the water in the middle.
Along the east side of the loch is a steep cliff, on top of which are the remains of Lochend Castle, now built into the later Lochend House.
Lochend Castle is thought to have been built in the 16th century, possibly on the site of an even earlier castle. Most of it was knocked down in the early 19th century, but a section of wall was incorporated into the new house, and an old castle fireplace can still be seen on the outside of Lochend House.
At the north end of Lochend Loch a wooden platform has been built, projecting out into the water to give a better view of the birds. Next to it is the stump of an old tree, which acts as a convenient viewing platform for the birds to get a better view of the people.
A mallard and his mate were swimming around, being followed by a younger male. This went on for several minutes before the older duck’s patience came to an end, and he chased off the young pretender in a cacophony of quacking.
There were also plenty of Tufted Ducks, diving repeatedly in search of tasty morsels on the bottom of the loch.
The park slopes upwards at the north end, providing a good view back over the loch, and beyond to Arthur’s Seat.
At this end of the loch is a large beehive doocot, also dating back to the 16th century and now doubt built to provide food for the occupants of Lochend Castle.
Before setting off for home we nipped around into a neighbouring cul-de-sac to see what could be seen from there of Lochend Castle. Not much was the answer, just the top of the section with the fireplace.