The Colinton Tunnel

I’m not entirely sure where I learned about this place from (it was definitely online somewhere) but I knew as soon as it was on my radar I had to go and see it for myself.

My husband and I planned a trip to Edinburgh almost immediately after I had came across it, and it was everything I thought it would be. And more.

As plans go, ours didn’t quite go to plan. Due to illness, my travel buddy changed from my husband to our eleven year old daughter – who didn’t quite have the same level of enthusiasm.

But, with some encouragement – off we went. We caught the 7:42am train to Edinburgh Waverley on Saturday morning and by 9:30am we were waiting for the number 10 bus to take us through to Colinton.

Twenty minutes or so later, we got off the bus at Barnshot Rd and started walking. Realising we were walking in the complete wrong direction, we turned around and crossed over the road.

It was at this point that the internet decided to give up on helping us reach our destination. So, armed with only very little knowledge of it running along a river, we began to wander. Looking for the entrance to The Colinton Tunnel.

I’m pleased we did as the way in which we entered the tunnel added to the adventure.

We walked along a muddy pathway alongside the river. As I was starting to believe I had gotten us lost, I looked up to see the entrance of the tunnel just above us. You have no idea how relieved I was. Then I heard the words ” this better be worth it, Mam!”

Was it worth it? Absolutely. My non-enthusiastic eleven year old looked on in absolute awe of the art work that adorned the walls and ceiling of the tunnel. It is spectacular.

As we entered the tunnel, there was a box on the wall holding information leaflets explaining what is happening. We took one.

It reads…

“We are making Scotland’s largest heritage mural – linking the story of the railway that ran through this tunnel to our community’s history.

The words you see are Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “From a Railway Carriage”.

It’s a lovely description of a child’s first journey on a train.

Our lead artist, Chris Rutterford and his team, are illustrating each line of the poem, which then links to pictures about our local history. Almost 450 local young people are also involved – painting onto marine ply boards, which will be mounted on the walls and ceiling.

Here’s the concept. The words of the poem run along the top of each of the three lines. The pictures for the opposite wall are underneath each line. We’re painting the whole 140 meters – including both walls and ceiling.

Keep visiting!” @thecolintontunnel

I came across this wonderful place by chance. I share it here with the hope that you too will go off on an adventure and go see it for yourself.

You will not be disappointed.

How we got there…

I purchased two return tickets from Newcastle to Edinburgh via the TrainPal App for the bargain price of £37.50

It took around 90 mins to travel from Newcastle to Edinburgh give or take.

We then found bus stop PR on Princes Street and took the number 10 bus through to Colinton. Bus fare was £1.70 each way for myself and 80p for my daughter each way.

We got off the bus at the Barnshot Road stop on Woodhall Road and crossed over the road.

Walk back along until you see The Co-op and The Colinton Inn which should be on your left.

Turn into Bridge Road and follow the path down past these places. You’ll come to a junction with an old red telephone box and a bridge ahead of you.

Walk over the bridge and head down on the right hand side.

The entrance to the Colinton Tunnel is along the path which should be in front of you and to your left.

10 thoughts on “The Colinton Tunnel

  1. Great read. My wife and I spent a few days in Edinburgh in late November, along with Stanley, our French Bulldog puppy. Visiting the tunnel was on our to do list, so we also set off by bus from the City Centre, but we were late in the day and arrived in Colinton as dusk also did. We were kinda lost two, but with the help of two tunnel enthusiastic locals, we easily found our way. Loved it and also have and would recommend a visit to see the ongoing work, to anyone who visits the City. On leaving the tunnel, we decided not to back track, but to continue on, in the growing darkness. It was a great walk and we did take the correct turns in the path, which brought us out on the Lanark Rd, from where we caught another bus back into the City. I’m not sure which part Stanley enjoyed most, the brilliant artwork, or the walk in the dark along the Leith in the mud and rain!


  2. I discovered this two weeks after it began when walking The Water of Leith (the river) and have been back with my camera several times since. It is lovely to see how it is progressing, and how many people are talking about it. A fab write up, glad you got to see a different side of the city’s history and your daughter enjoyed it too.


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