Sheep Heid Inn

Well this is about on the limit of my 30 minute walk from home but this pub is of historical interest laying claim to being the oldest pub in Scotland. Most of the route to get here comes through Holyrood Park along the track of what was the Innocent Railway, ( some info later) and cuts through some Scottish Wildlife Trust land.

Start of walk into Bawsinch Nature Reserve
The Sheep Heid is in Duddingston village nestled in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat and the Lion’s Head ( nae heid for the Lion! ) which are the volcanic core central to Holyrood Park.

Lion’s Head overlooks Dr Neil’s Garden

A gift of a ram’s head snuffbox from King James VI of Scotland in 1580  is, perhaps, the most tourist friendly explanation for the inn’s  name. Last week we cycled through Dalmeny estate, home to the Earl of Rosebery whose family now own the original auctioned snuffbox with only a sad replica in the bar. It makes claim to be the oldest pub in Edinburgh – 1360 – Aye maybe. Yesterday I had a pint of California Common and today sampling Shropshire Gold in the beer garden. This sounds suspiciously like a twist on  Salopian Auric that I came across for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Salopian brewery being in Shropshire and Au if you can remember your Periodic Table is gold. More research necessary methinks? ( we know it’s old but you don’t need to go all Shakespearean on us, Ed. )

Inside has that faux rustic look in spades. Lots of dark wood and nooks and crannies. Large beer garden and a well used skittle alley.

The Dark Interior

List of medicinal plants

You may have seen the picture of Reverend Robert Walker ( better known as the Skating Minister ) by Sir Henry Raeburn which was set on Duddingston loch. The loch is in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Bawsinch nature reserve
Adjacent to that is Doctor Neil’s garden. I happened on this garden yesterday and it is an absolute gem. A sanctuary!  Started on a patch of rough ground in 1965 Dr Neil and his wife Dr Neil transformed the area into a nursery for medicinal plants. As per above photo.
Before I forget, more on the Innocent Railway.

  I wasn’t kitted out to clean the board. Sorry. You should still be able to get a bit of the history. Looks like I should maybe improve my camera work as well!

Bonus: No gogisms, Phil O’Sofar or other prejudices and ramblings this week.

Anyway the pub and the whole surrounding area is very much worth a visit. In fact it would take weeks to explore all the paths and byways in Holyrood Park itself.

Join me in the Canny Man’s next.

By tamtennis

Retired. Working life split first in molecular biology then as pro tennis coach.
Hobbies: playing guitar, cooking, spending time with friends, eating out, attending concerts.
Interests: The world all around us- where it's been and where it's going.