Culture Crawls have been a part of Maggie’s cancer charity for a number of years, held very successfully in London and in other parts of the country.
Now the charity have brought this successful fundraiser to Scotland. They held their first Scottish Culture Crawl in the country’s capital through the organisation of Maggie’s Edinburgh, who have a centre at the Western General Hospital.
I’ve been a long-time admirer of the fantastic work this cancer charity does, and like so many people, I have friends whose lives have been affected by this cruel disease.
But I hesitated slightly when I realised the Culture Crawl involved walking 10 miles, my fitness levels aren’t what they used to be, or should be, but I signed up anyway and hoped for the best.
I liked the premise – enjoy some culture in Scotland’s capital city, get access to some of the city’s top arts venues and raise money for a worthwhile cause.
I was also assured there were lots of stops along the way and I wouldn’t even notice the mileage. I wasn’t convinced – but it was true.
The starting point was Edinburgh’s Fettes College, where we picked up t-shirts, snacks and a route map. We had a fun warm-up and a chat from author of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, who was supporting the event by gifting a specially written story. Then we went on our merry way.
Next up was the beautiful Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It was time for snacks and a lovely look around an eye-catching exhibition called Head to Head.
A little bit further on was Parliament Hall, where we had some more refuelling while we listened to a beautiful choir.
Dovecot Studios was an interesting discovery and somewhere I’m already planning to revisit. We were met here with a welcoming delicious hot chocolate, yummy cake and a walk around this fascinating building. It used to be a swimming baths and it is now home to a tapestry studio. You can visit during the day, see the weavers at work and buy some of the lovely gifts on display, as well as spend some time in the cafe.
A lovely touch at Dovecot Studios was the chance we got to be creative by making up Maggie’s hearts and saying what the charity means to us. It was a time for quiet reflection as well as a chat to some of the many Maggie’s volunteers who were in attendance all during the night, and who made sure we were well looked after. The heart-felt sentiments were collected and by the time we finished our walk, they were already on display at the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh.
The next stop at Summerhall gave us an interesting chat with Pickering’s Gin and some tasting sessions.
There was even time for some disco dancing – for those lucky people who still had some energy left in their legs!
By this point we were on the home run, and I was starting to flag a little. So the pit stop at the Clydesdale Bank Plaza was a welcome chilled out zone. We were served teas, coffees, soups, and Tunnock’s snacks, while we listened to the lovely Christie Quartet. A couple even took to the middle of the plaza for some ballroom dancing.
Another wonderful discovery was the Gallery of Modern Art, where we were met with the message across the building which said “Everything is going to be alright”. This was also a particularly poignant part of the trail, as we saw Charles Jencks illuminated “Landform”, a dedication to his late wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks – who the Maggie’s Centres are named after.
Then with the end in sight, we walked to our final destination – the Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh. All 330 people who took part in the walk, were all safely counted back in again. We had a celebratory drink, either prosecco, tea, coffee, soft drinks, and delicious pizzas supplied by La Favourita. And there was a chill out zone which consisted of huge bean bags.
This was a fantastic event, extremely well organised, and great fun. I loved exploring the city at night time and discovering new treasures, while also raising money for a great cause. Although I’d signed up to walk on my own, I chatted to lots of people all along the way. I met people from Aberdeen and Newcastle, as well as those closer to home. Some were walking for people dear to them, and they all knew how important it is to keep supporting the fantastic work of the Maggie’s Centres.
Thank you Maggie’s and well done. I’ll be signing up for next year.