9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

This route is best suited for the casual runner who isn’t pressed for time, as there are a couple of busy streets to navigate and a couple of hills and flights of stairs (but the views are worth it, we promise.) Start this route at a run-down, Wild West-looking business area, to a Viking-era Swedish Runestone, and learn about a certain Impartial List, then end off at a 360-degree graffiti display. You can extend this route by repeating it or simply catching a bus at any point you decide to end your run.

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Route overview of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

Route overview

Once an advertising gimmick for a South Western Furniture Company in the mid-’90s by Michael Faulkner and Euro Disney engineers, the area is now a business and residential area. The Western-inspired exterior is sadly falling into disrepair as the furniture company it was built for has since shut down. Some businesses here include artist studios, galleries, and apartment storefronts. In the far-left corner of the courtyard, stone carvings were uncovered in 2023. Experts came to analyse these and determined they may have belonged to the ancient church, the Trinity Apse, near the Royal Mile. However, it is still unknown how these stoneworks landed up here, kilometres away from their original site. The area is usually busy with tourists during the week, so weekends may be the best time to visit as most of the businesses are closed.

Wild West of Edinburgh

Wild West of Edinburgh. Credit: The Sun

Exit this area onto Morningside Road towards Falcon Avenue. Continue on Morningside Road, following its curve onto Leamington Walk through Bruntsfield Links.

Part 1 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run from Wild West through Bruntsfield Park

Part 1 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

Cross over Melville Road to cut through the Meadows down Jawbone Walk. At the Meadows Compas, turn right towards George Square Lane. Run to the left of the Main Library, turning right at George Square. Run up the stairs, then turn left towards the sectioned-off garden, where you will see the Swedish Runestone. Run past the stone onto Windmill Lane, then immediately left onto Windmill Street, to turn right onto George Square again.

Part 2 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run around George Square to Edinburgh's Swedish Runestone

Part 2 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

This Swedish Viking-Age gravestone dates back to the 11th century. This stone has moved around the city over the years but now resides outside Edinburgh University’s School of Scandinavian Studies to be better protected. This rune is one of three in the UK, with the writing on this particular stone being a form of prayer from a son to a father. It reads, “Ari raised the stone in memory of Hjalmr, his father. May God help his spirit.”

Swedish Runestone

Swedish Runestone. Credit: Wikipedia

Continue straight past Bristo Square and around Pleasance Dome to follow a pathway down to a short tunnel, Potterrow Port, under Potterrow. Exit the tunnel and continue slightly left onto West College Street. Turn right down Chambers Street, then left onto South Bridge. South Bridge can be busy; you may want to slow down here.

Part 3 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run through Potterrow and down Chambers Street

Part 3 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

Turn right onto High Street to find Tweeddale Court on your right. Continue along High Street to then find Bakehouse Close on your right as well. Leave Bakehouse Close from where you entered, and continue to the left of the church down Old Tolbooth Wynd. High Street also tends to be busy, so be mindful of others.

Part 4 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run to Tweeddale Court and Bakehouse Close

Part 4 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

The Tweeddale Court dates back to 1576 and has since been added to and expanded. Tweeddale Court still has one of its original 1576 doors; however, it is in disrepair at the moment as the wealthier residents prefer to reside in the New Town. A preserved section of the King’s Wall from the fifteenth century can be seen in the courtyard; it has a pointed top for soldiers to lean against and rifle indentations. In the same area, Edinburgh World Heritage has listed a sedan chair house from the Georgian era.

Another historical characteristic is the massive crane that was used initially to supply Edinburgh’s first printing press for Oliver & Boyd, as well as one of Scotland’s earliest gas lamp posts outside the entrance of Tweeddale Court. In the 1700s, sedan chairs were popular in Edinburgh, with highlanders frequently serving as chairmen. However, by the mid-19th century, they had fallen out of favour. The Museum of Edinburgh currently has one which you can view.

Tweeddale Court

Tweeddale Court. Credit: Third Eye Traveller

Edinburgh is synonymous with its closes or alleyways. Each with a name relating to something or someone significant. As you may know, navigating between all these closes can get quite confusing. In the 1700s, Edinburgh was well-known as a city of sin, lust, and immorality, and a guide would often be needed for a tourist to avoid these temptations. However, some tourists wanted to give in to their temptations, specifically in the form of a female companion. What better way to do this, in some form of secrecy, than with a guidebook? James “Balloon” Tyler’s Ranger’s Impartial List served this purpose by listing the names and locations of ladies based on various criteria such as their age, physical characteristics, and temperament.

The Ranger’s Impartial List contained nearly 70 women. One significant meeting point was The Cock and Trumpet Pub just off the Bakehouse Close; Robert Louis Stevenson himself frequented the pub. The old sign can still be seen above the doorway of the courtyard. The original guidebook can be seen at the National Library of Scotland. You can purchase a copy here or just have a quick preview of some of the entries,  or you can visit Gladstone’s Land in the Royal Mile to purchase or see a replica.

Bakehouse Close

Bakehouse Close. Credit: Hidden Scotland

Just over Calton Road, go up the stairs and onto the pathway towards Regent Terrace. Turn left to go to Jacob’s Ladder. Then, retrace your steps and continue along Regent Road, passing the Burns Monument and graveyard on your right.

Part 5 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run from Bakehouse Close to Jacob's Ladder

Part 5 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

Jacob’s Ladder is a quick shortcut between the Waverley Railway Station parking lot and Calton Hill (which is very much worth visiting, especially at sunrise and sunset). Jacob’s Ladder was first recorded in 1784, although there is speculation that it is much older. This shortcut got its name from the biblical story of Jacob’s dream, where he saw a rope stepladder leading to Heaven. Thus, it became a term in the 18th century for passageways such as these. This passageway had numerous uses, mostly as a shortcut between Old Town and New Town but also for mourners to read the Calton burial ground and for prisoners to reach Bridelwell Jail. Today, you can get some unique views of the castle, Calton Hill, its monuments, and the city.

View from Jacob's Ladder

View from Jacob’s Ladder. Credit: UK Schreder

After about 1 km, cross over and turn right onto London Place, where and when it is safe to do so. Turn left onto Marionville Road towards the roundabout, then keep right to stay on Marionville Road.

Part 6 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run along Regent Road and Marionville Road

Part 6 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

Just before the next big roundabout, turn left onto the pathway towards and through Lochend Park. Just after the playpark, turn left, then right to stay on Lochend Park, following the cobblestone wall on your left.

Part 7 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run past Lochend Park

Part 7 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

At the end of the path, cross over Hawkhill Avenue, following the curves, then turn left to go around the soccer pitch and past the track field. Continue following the path between the trees to turn right onto Easter Road.

Part 8 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run to Easter Road towards Leith Links

Part 8 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

At the intersection by Leith St. Andrew’s Church, cross over right onto Vanburgh Place, then left onto the pathway through Leith Links. Pass the playpark and tennis court to reach and turn right on John’s Place. Turn left onto Queen Charlotte Street, then, after 230 metres, turn right onto Maritime Street, then right onto Maritime Lane, where you will find the entrance for Quality Yard on your right.

Part 9 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run through Leith Links to Quality Yard

Part 9 of the 9 km North-South Edinburgh Run

For the average passer-by, it’s easy to simply miss this gem hidden in the city. Quality Yard showcases numerous graffiti pieces from artists on the exterior of buildings that house unique institutions, such as the Scottish Mineral and Lapidary Club, founded in 1958, and four studios for well-known Edinburgh street artists. This graffiti initiative got a head start at the 2018 Leith Festival after some convincing by some of these artists. Quality Yard’s building is an example of the industrial architecture indicative of Leith’s working-class past.

In the original artwork, there was a continuous mural incorporating the contributions of eight artists and collectives. A more individualised presentation of pieces by eleven female artists was on display for the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe and Leith Festival, in contrast to the collaborative approach used the year before. The only artist who appears in both versions is Shona Hardie. If it is too busy to enter, you can get an online 360 view here.

Piece of graffiti art in Quality Yard

Piece of graffiti art in Quality Yard. Credit: @OrganYard, X.com

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If you enjoyed this route, see our 3km relaxed Circus Lane and Princes Street Gardens Run.

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