I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nor Loch

Most of Princes Street Gardens is set in a large basin, way below street level. The castle towers over it, of course, but so do the spires of the Old Town on the south side, and the more commercial buildings of Princes Street on the north. It makes the park feel secluded, even when the trains are rattling past on their way to Waverley Station.

It was once water, Nor Loch, or the North Loch, and it was finally drained in the eighteenth century because although it acted as a kind of moat to protect the castle and the city, it also prevented the city from expanding northwards.

One of its chief uses apart from protection had been as a dunking pool for suspected witches, and when it was drained they found the skeletons of many women with their hands tied. At least by drowning they proved their innocence, which I'm sure was great consolation to them in their final moments.

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