Eleanor Atkinson’s classic book Greyfriars Bobby is much more than just a book about a cute loyal dog: within its pages are some beautiful descriptions of Edinburgh and its often contradictory landscape. Here she writes about the Royal Mile, capturing its atmosphere in a way which might still feel familiar to modern readers.

“Over the tallest decaying tenement one could look up to the Castle of dreams on the crag, and drop the glance all the way down the pinnacled crest of High Street, to the dark and deserted Palace of Holyrood. After nightfall the turreted heights wore a luminous crown, and the steep ridge up to it twinkled with myriad lights.”



The turreted heights wore a luminous crown

– Eleanor Atkinson


Although Greyfriars Bobby contains large chunks of dialogue written (very convincingly) in Scots, Eleanor Atkinson was an American author who didn’t visit the city while writing the book. Some think she heard the legend from Scottish immigrants to the US, and was then inspired to do more research about Edinburgh’s favourite dog.