A walk with Robert Louis Stevenson


As a child, Robert Louis Stevenson frequently visited the manse in Colinton, where his maternal grandfather, Dr Lewis Balfour, lived while he was the Minister of the Parish Church. The Trust has installed an archway, a series of plaques, and a statue to line the way of a walk from the top of Colinton to the Dell, via the Long Steps and the Parish Church.

The poetry trail: A Walk with Robert Louis Stevenson was opened on Saturday 25th October 2014. The opening ceremony started on Bridge Road at the top of the Long Steps where the arch was unveiled. The unveiling party moved down the Long Steps unveiling poetry panels on their way. Speeches were made to the assembled crowd in Spylaw Street at the foot of the Long Steps. Further panels were unveiled in Dell Road at the bridge over the Water of Leith, and in the cul-de-sac leading to Colinton Dell. The poetry trail also takes you by the statue of RLS as a boy.

The archway is an steelwork feature at the top of the Long Steps and contains the text "The Long Steps: a walk with Robert Louis Stevenson". The photo shown here, in this view from the belvedere on Woodhall Road. The arch was designed by artist Jack Sloan and fabricated by Hector McGarva of Samuel McGarva and Son.

The panels were designed by local artist Ian Boyter and fabricated by McRobb.

There is an introductory panel placed in the Long Steps garden, just down from Bridge Road.


The poetry panels have verses and illustrations from RLS's A Child's Garden of Verses. Click on the links to see the panels in detail. In sequence leading from the top of the Long Steps to Colinton Parish Church and on towards Colinton Dell, these are:

The Long Steps (leading down from the top of Bridge Road)
 • Panel 1: Summer Sun, and The Moon
 • Panel 2: The Flowers
 • Panel 3: The Gardener
Dell Road (by the bridge over the Water of Leith)
 • Panel 4: Looking Glass River
Colinton Parish Church (etched on a window by the Swing Café entrance)
 • Panel 5: The Swing
Dell Road (leading towards Colinton Dell)
 • Panel 6: Nest Eggs
 • Panel 7: Keepsake Mill

A second introductory panel is placed in the Dell Road cul-de-sac for the benefit of those starting the poetry trail from that end. Beside each of the introductory panels is an appreciation panel thanking those involved in the creation of the poetry trail.