On the north-western edge of Edinburgh are the remains of what was once a glittering country pile estate, a high-status property with lands and outbuildings housing a wealthy local family.
Today the former Cammo Estate is mostly overgrown and ruined, although it is kept and maintained by Edinburgh City Council, and is a popular spot for dog walkers to stretch their pooches' legs, and for children to explore and exercise their imaginations.
Built originally at the end of the seventeenth-century, the estate grew under the ownership of Sir John Clerk of Penicuik in the early eighteenth-century.
He laid out the parklands which surrounded the house and buildings, and put in an ornamental canal for visitors to stroll beside and paddle small boats upon.
An orangery was built, for the cultivation of oranges and other fruits from warmer climates than Scotland, and a Pinetum to grow and display a collection of conifers from around the world.
Stables and a carriage house provided the lodgings for the hoses and staff who ran the transport for the family and visitors, and a piggery was built for the pigs who was raised as livestock on the estate.
South of the estate a large water tower was built to provide fresh water to the property.
The estate fell into disuse and passed into the care of the National Trust in the 1970s.
After being heavily vandalised - two fires, in particular, were deliberately set, destroying much of what was left of the original house - the property was gifted to Edinburgh City Council, who have maintained it ever since.
Today, visitors can stroll through the once luscious orangery, see the confifers and monkey puzzle tree in the old pinetum, tramp beside the ornamental canal (where my co-guide Monty recently took an unscheduled swim) and see the ruined stable blocks.
It is thought that the estate, and its once grand family house, provided an inspiration to the author Robert Louis Stevenson, who used the setting in his novel Kidnapped, which also featured other nearby locations such as Corstorphine Hill and the waterfront at Cramond.
Estates such as Cammo - whose name probably derived from an old term for 'bend in the river' - help to give Edinburgh some of its unique character, and provide visitors and locals with a unique glimpse in the culture and heritage of the city's past.
Find out more about Edinburgh's history with my private city walking tours!
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