Newhailes – National Trust for Scotland

A couple of weeks ago we decided to take ourselves off for a visit to Newhailes, a National Trust for Scotland property near Musselburgh and not far from Edinburgh. Have a look at the Undiscovered Scotland website here.

New Hailes

We were told not to take any photos of the interior, something that I know the National Trust high ‘heidyins’ are now allowing in all their properties, but this house only has small guided tours and the guide was having a nightmare with a couple of the other visitors so I decided not to argue the point. You can see some of the interiors when you click on the link above.

Newhailes 10

The house has been conserved and preserved rather than buffed up to look as it would have looked when newly built. It gives it a more lived in feeling rather than the sort of stage set look that you often get when viewing these old buildings.

The original owner of the house designed it himself, he was the architect James Smith and he bought the land in 1686, but over the years the house has been added on to. James Smith had originally intended to become a Roman Catholic priest and studied in Rome but he gave up to become an architect. He ended up marrying twice and fathering 32 children, so I think it’s fair to say that he must have realised just in time that he was not cut out to be a priest!

The house is copiously decorated with shells, particularly scallop shells which are of course the emblem of Saint James (no I’m not a Catholic, it’s just one of those things that I thought everyone knew) but I had to tell the guide about that and I’m not sure she believed me. Anyway, it made me laugh to think that James Smith had purloined the saint’s emblem for his own use.

If you’re in that area Newhailes is definitely worth a visit.

The word heidyins does of course mean – those in charge.

River Esk, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Last week, on our way back from Tyninghame, we stopped off in Musselburgh. I had never been there before, apart from just driving through it. As towns go it does have a plus as far as I’m concerned, in the shape of the River Esk which runs through the town. You can walk to it easily from the High Street.

River Esk and Bridge

I love the old bridge in this photo. I don’t know how many bridges there are over the River Esk in Musselburgh, but I’m sure I saw three within a short distance of each other.

River Esk and bridge

I love rivers so as you can see I had to get down there for a closer look. It was lovely and clear and very low due to the unusually dry weather we’ve been having. Obviously Jack took this photo and the more modern bridge in the background is the one I was standing on to take the previous photo of the old bridge.

River Esk

And the photo above is one just of the river. The planting on the banks of the river is lovely I think, all very cottage gardenish. It has a much more informal and natural look than the bedding plants which are usually plonked out by carried out by local councils.

Here’s a stitch of the two photos of the river. It gives more of an impression of the view.

River Esk Panorama

The houses here have a great location, view wise anyway, but I would worry about that river getting too friendly and coming to visit in very wet weather.

For some reason I had the impression that Musselburgh was quite posh but it isn’t at all, it’s just a typical Scottish town, so boring and unbeautiful that I didn’t take any photos of it. I did have a look in an estate agent’s window and was surprised that the house prices were quite reasonable considering that the town is just a very short drive from Edinburgh, but I don’t see us settling down in any of the Lothians. So the search continues, definitely looking to the west, a wee bit further anyway.