The last time I climbed the Scott Monument I was 7 years old, on holiday in the big city. It's 200 feet and 6 inches tall, and I remember how proud I was of the certificate I got for making it to the top. Since coming to live in Edinburgh 24 years ago I haven't repeated the feat.
The monument was completed in 1844 in commemoration of the author Sir Walter Scott. It's graceful, gothic, and it reminds me of an illustration in my 1950's copy of 'The Wonders of Science' - one of those futuristic scenes beloved of that period, of a sleek space rocket resting on slender legs on the dusty landscape of a far planet, while astronauts in goldfish bowl helmets and silver space suits explore man's new domain. I was reading this during the 1960's, I hasten to add, but things in general, especially the Wonders of Science, moved slowly in North East Scotland at that time.