The Mysterious Caverns of Gilmerton Cove
On the south side of Edinburgh is Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious maze of underground caverns and passageways.
We were intrigued, so we decided to take a tour to experience it for ourselves.
It all started at this innocent looking white building, sandwiched between a veterinary surgery and a bookies.
Inside was a small visitor centre, containing information about the Cove and the theories about why it might have been built and what it might have been used for.
Was it a Hellfire club? A Masonic Lodge? A blacksmith's workshop? An illegal drinking den? A witches' coven? The list goes on and on.
We couldn't wait to put on our hard hats and get down there to see what we thought.
Our lovely guide Margaretanne was full of knowledge. As we looked down what might or might not have been a well she explained that some overseas tourists may have been confused by her Scottish accent and thought that there was a Gilmerton 'whale' down there...!
We continued into the Cove.
We sat at a 'table' with a hollowed out bowl. Sitting there, it was easy to see that it would be the perfect place for a few drinks with your friends. Maybe the Cove was a drinking den after all? Or was the bowl some sort of font? The table was engraved with lots of letters and marks, what did they mean?
A little further into the Cove was another, slightly smaller sitting area with a table. Nearby was a structure that looked as though it may have been a blacksmith's forge, but with a lack of evidence to show that it ever contained a fire, it seems unlikely. So perhaps the Cove wasn't ever a blacksmith's workshop? (Personally, I think that it would make a perfect pizza oven - I wonder if the Cove could be hired out for parties?)
The last part of the Cove contained what looked like a stone bed. It was similar to the tables, but the seats were further away and it appeared to have a stone pillow. Sacrifices?!? Debauchery?!? The mind boggles!
Despite the best efforts of many experts over the years, the mystery of Gilmerton Cove remains. Unless a very wealthy benefactor comes on board to help renovate new tunnels (which would lead underneath the road and nearby buildings), it seems unlikely that the mystery will be solved any time soon!