First of all a multiple-choice teaser. Is this cache :
a) a tribute to Britains’ best loved soap (yuk!)
b) situated up a mountain in the Highlands
c) a musical extravaganza based on the works of half of a folk duo
d) a very short tour around a part of Edinburgh within yards of Team Bostiks’ house
If it’s taken you more than a nanosecond to figure that one out, take the GPS back to the shop – Geocaching is not for you!!
The origin of Corstorphine is unclear. In Roman times two roads crossed on land between Corstorphine and Gogar Lochs – this possibly led to a settlement, or maybe it was because water was available in this area via shallow wells. A Charter of David I, after founding the Abbey of Holyrood in 1128, attached to it the church of ‘Crostorfyn’. In 1376 records confirm the Barony of Corstorphine was sold to Adam Forstar (Forrester).
The co-ordinates take you to the 1st part of this multi cache – on street parking around here shouldn’t be a problem. From this point you go on a short tour which should take about 1 hour.
Part 1 N 55° 56.348 W 003° 16.856
Within the walls of South Lodge (PRIVATE) is the site of the original Corstorphine Sycamore. You’ll get the best view when you are at the end of someone else’s tether.
Almost completely destroyed by the Boxing Day gales in 1998 ( I remember it well ) rumour has it some Corstorphinites have pieces in their gardens for ornamental purposes… whilst other bits, I’m told, have been carved into egg-cups, bowls and even a violin…
Small branches are sprouting from the remaining stump but it will take a long time to see the same mass of bright yellow spring foliage which used to adorn this corner – the Sycamore was over 600 years old before the fall.
However, a 100 years or so ago, several scions were taken and planted locally (see Part 5) and live on today.
Part 2 N 55° 56.339 W 003° 16.890
Occasionally accessible, this 16th Century structure – like so many others around the country – provided fresh meat in winter ( instead of salt beef ) to the people of the day. Due to the meat shortage in the 16th Century Scottish landowners were ‘obliged’ to build dovecots. Severe penalties ensued for those caught stealing or shooting the birds. The subsequent large increase in pigeon numbers resulted in the ownership of dovecots being restricted to men of property, i.e., those possessing land producing ‘ten chalders of grain a year’.
This example contains more than a thousand nests and belonged to Corstorphine Castle - home to the Forresters. The Castle had walls 100 feet long and corner towers each 21 feet across by 40 feet high. Unfortunately it was demolished in the 18th century and nothing of it remains.
In which year were restrictions on doocot ownership imposed? Answer :- ABCD
As an aside, L-shaped Corstorphine Loch stretched from modern Corstorphine (along the low ground generally to the South of the St Johns Road) past Roseburn – at this end it mushroomed out – almost reaching Gorgie Road.
Continue westwards along Dovecot Road and enter the park. St Margaret’s Park was inaugurated in July 1915 – a Mr Douglas Brown had bought nursery ground to the South of the High Street and presented the park to the village.
Part 3 N 55° 56.419 W 003° 17.115
Built in EFGH this is a venue where aquatic rodents start at J.KL whilst bears offspring kick-off at M.NP, native American trackers go for it at Q.RS.
( sounds exotic – is this an outstation of Seaworld or Animal Kingdom maybe?!)
Part 4 N 55° 56.422 W 003° 17.044
The Dower House – the Corstorphine Heritage Centre and home to the Corstorphine Trust. It is thought this was originally a manse connected with the Collegiate Church.
If you want to learn more about the area try to make it for a coffee on a Saturday morning 10am – 12 noon all year round, or on Wednesday mornings during the summer.
The house can be hired for private functions – with fresh flowers and candles the large room upstairs can be tremendously atmospheric
A 10 minute detour
At this point, if you are desperate to do a bit of shopping, need a beer or ice-cream, head up Manse Road. On your left, where Iceland now sits, there used to be The Astoria cinema – it opened in 1929 and survived until 29 June 1974. Just before the main road you'll find a very informative notice board which has a map that locates Corstorphine's main points of interest
Once you get to St Johns Road turn right and head into town. Once opposite The Oak, try to ignore the Lloyds TSB architecture, turn right and walk down Glebe Road. At the bottom, the road narrows and becomes Glebe Terrace. Look out for the little lane on the left hand side ( at the lamp post) – take this and then 1st right into the churchyard and find the sign for Part 5.
If you’ve not taken the detour, head along Corstorphine High Street past The Corstorphine Inn (1886). At the bend, on the ‘internal’ corner of the road stands the former Black Bull Inn. This was where James, Lord Forrestor was drinking on the night when he later quarrelled with his niece who then murdered him with his sword under The Corstorphine Sycamore. She was beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh on 12 November 1679.
Part 5 N 55° 56.452 W 003° 16.931
Find the sign - Corstorphine Old Parish Church was founded in 1TUV, became a Collegiate Church in 142W, Northern Extensions added in 1646 and then altered again in 1828.
The Church is very unusual as it features a pitched roof and tower made from concrete / stone. The 1905 restoration work replaced the 1828 slates with concrete slabs to simulate the 1429 stone slabs.
The grounds contain a descendant of one of Edinburgh’s most famous trees – The Corstorphine Sycamore (acer pseudoplatanus ‘Corstorphinense’). This is a tree with a uniquely Scottish pedigree and has become widely planted throughout the UK and beyond.
Part 6 N (J+C)(K+G)° (D-G)B.TW(Q+E) W NPR° AM.FGV
The co-ordinates take you to the cache which is a magentic nano. Take a pen !!
After leaving the churchyard you will see, in Kirk Loan, the War Memorial (re-sited here in 1928) and the location of one of our other caches
GC1XZX1 Lest We Forget - Corstorphine
- why don't you give it a go. You'll then pass the Library, the Old Library and what was previously the Corstorphine Public Hall (1892)
Continue down Saughton Road North and you’ll soon find yourself back where you started.
Hope you enjoyed your visit!
For further information the undernoted websites maybe of interest :-
Doors Open Days
Friends of Corstorphine Hill
The Corstorphine Trust