When travelling there are a stack of amazing things to do; visit famous monuments and tourist hot spots, eat your way through the all of the local cuisine, party it up at some of the best night spots and walk through some underground tunnels?! Hmmm, you might not considered the latter as something at the top of your ‘to do’ list, but if you find yourself in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, you may want to reconsider. The underground network of tunnels that make up Gilmerton Cove has just been voted the city’s best attraction on the Trip Advisor website, beating even the most famous Edinburgh Castle, pretty impressive.
Gilmerton Cove is a series of hand carved passageways and chambers that lie below ground to the south of the Gilmberton crossroads. The hand carved tunnels are at least 300 years old and the origins of such remain a complete mystery though people are not holding back with their ideas. Some believe that they were used as a drinking den for 18th Century gentry, others rumour that it was a lair inhabited by Kinghts Templar or a refuge for Covenanters fleeing persecution. Records show that they were inhabited by George Paterson, a blacksmith in the 18th century, however archaeologists do not believe that the tunnels could have been the work of one man and believe that they may date back centuries.
Tours of the tunnels began 10 years ago and today they are still taking place but are open only to small groups and must be booked in advance - from what people have been saying it is worth it! The tour lasts an hour and begins in a small mining cottage in Gilmerton, where you are then taken down 16 steps to reach the deserted chambers below. You are guided through the tunnels (not all of which have been explored in recent times due to safety reasons) and as you explore, you will be talked through the various different uses that the tunnels could have had in their hay day. Tours are taken by the passionate Margaretanne Dugan, and like most of Edinburgh’s traditions, there are claims that the passageways may be haunted. Spooky.
Check out what all the fuss is about at; gilmertoncove.org.uk or read reviews on Trip Advisor at; www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186525-d1909263-Reviews-Gilmerton_Cove-Edinburgh_Scotland.html
Have you checked out the Cove? We’d love to hear what you thought…