A to Z Abroad: Edinburgh’s Folly


The soldiers fought,
and won the day
Columns were raised,
foundation laid
National pride,
butt of a joke
Money ran out,
honor delayed
Skeletal hill
homage to none

Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

Edinburgh’s Folly or The National Monument of Scotland was originally designed as a memorial to the Scottish soldiers and sailors that died fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. Situated on Calton Hill, the partially built memorial is a constant reminder of the government biting off more than it could chew. After only three years of construction, the monument was left unfinished due to lack of funds.

Several proposals for completion were considered throughout the 20th century, but none of them have gained enough steam to fix what has become a running joke.  To this day, the less than half-built monument stares down on Edinburgh with a sardonic grin.

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Part of the A to Z Challenge!


c.b.w. 2013


34 thoughts on “A to Z Abroad: Edinburgh’s Folly

  1. I was here just the other day! Story of life in Edinburgh: if it’s not the monument, it’s the Scottish Parliament or the trams… Especially the trams. Our imaginations are bigger than our pockets, it would seem 😛


  2. I photographed that monument from a distance when I was in Edinburgh (along with lots of other stuff!), but didn’t know the back-story, so thank you! I liked the monument in Calton cemetery for the Civil War. I love Scotland (with ancestors from Leith, Argyll, Glasgow etc of course I do!) and don’t feel that Edinburgh is less real at all.


    • I saw it form a distance on the first day in Edinburgh, so I was excited when my guide took us all the way to the top of the hill. It really is impressive even in an incomplete state. Perhaps one day, it will all come together. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!


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