THE NOR'LOCH

In 1460 King James III ordered that the ground between the Old Town and Princes Street be flooded in an effort to strengthen the Castle's northern defences.

A dam was built at the east end, where North Bridge now stands. Natural spring water flowing from the original St. Margaret's Well at the foot of the castle was used to flood what once was a forested valley.

Initially it was a picturesque and relaxing haven for the residents of Edinburgh who would boat in the summer and skate in the winter. It must have been a beautiful sight reflecting the magificent castle.

Over the years however it became a convenient dump for all sorts of waste including human excrement in the days before proper sanitation and over the years it became a stinking cess-pool.

When obnoxious fumes and gasses began to seriously affect the health of the local residents. Methane gas would be concentrated up the narrow closes, many of which led to the banks of the Nor' Loch, and cause them to have hallucinations.

the decision was taken to drain the Loch in 1759 around the same time of the building of the New Town to the north.

The valley is now Princes Street Gardens

The rubble from the building of the New Town was used to create what is now 'The Mound' On which sit the Scottish Royal Academy and The National Art Gallery.

DOUKING OF WITCHES

In the 16th century the country was obbsessed with witchcraft and the Nor' Loch proved a perfect spot for 'Trial by Douking' (Ducking).

This would consist of a suspected witch having her thumbs and toes tied together and ducked on a specially designed 'stool' twice into the Loch.

If she sank and drowned she would be found innocent....but dead! but if she was unfortunate enough to float and survive drowning she would be found guilty and burned at the stake on Castlehill.


Douking Stool

PLACES OF INTEREST

WITCHES WELL

PRINCES STREET GARDENS

MAP OF EDINBURGH

 
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