Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Search Challenge (10/22/14): Where are these places?

I'm traveling again, and took a few photos on my run this morning. They were all taken within 15 minutes of each other on an overcast morning.  

I need your expert help in getting a bit of information about the scenes and locations they depict.  For each photo, a link to the full image is given by the link in the caption.  
(I did it this way so you can easily get to the full resolution of the image, without making this page gigantic and slow to download.)   

1.  What is this strange obviously artificial waterway?  Did it serve any particular function?  If so, what?  

I'll save you a step: the lat/long is 55.913090, -3.258981    Link to full-size photo.

2.  The church shown below is associated with a famous writer.  Who is the writer, and what's the connection?  (If you're feeling on top of your game, what's the tree on the right of the image got to do with the right?) 

Link to full-size photo.

3.  How long is this tunnel? 

Link to full-size photo.

 I ran through the tunnel, so I have a good idea.  But here's picture from roughly the middle.  

Can you help me out with my research?  

Search on!  (And be sure to tell us HOW you figured these Challenges!)  


  1. OMG you are in Edinburgh! My daughter went to the Univ. of Edinburgh for her undergrad and master's degrees. As soon as I put the latitude and longitude into google maps and saw Water of Leith I knew where you were. From the map we switched to satellite view and checked out the pictures. We saw images for Spylaw Park and did a search on that. From that search we got this result and from reading we saw that Colinton was the name of the area. This part of the Water of Leith is in Colinton Dell. These waters were used for milling in the past. The exact path seems to be the Balerno Line Path. We will try to search more for what this small waterway coming off of the Water of Leith is.

    Question 2) since we knew that you were in Colinton Dell we did a search for churches in Colinton Dell. By viewing images we found that the Colinton Parish Church was the church in the image. The writer is Robert Louis Stevenson (RLS). This was a little tricky to find. We found nothing on the churches website nor in Wikipedia. However we did a seach for colinton parish church writer OR author and found a reference to RLS in a facebook post about the church. So we then did a search for "robert louis stevenson" colinton and got this result - - RLS's maternal grandfather was the parish priest at this church. A bronze statue of RLS as a boy with his dog was placed on the site. Anne and I think the tree is a yew tree from this poem " Beneath those rugged elms, that yew tree shade,
    Where heaves the turf in many a mold'ring heap.
    Each in his narrow cell forever laid,

    The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." WE found the poem on this site and then did control F to find the word tree -
    We got to this site by doing a search colinton parish church tree cemetery

    Question 3) we knew from prior searches the name of the tunnel was the Colinton Tunnel, also known by some other names as well. We did a search Colinton Tunnel length and got this result and found out that the tunnel is 153 yards long.

  2. More on question 1: From the book The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland: I-Z on page 249 it describes how the Water of Leith can become quite dry especially because some of the water is drawn off into a mill-lead. I got to this by doing the following search - small water channel in colinton dell - Tried to find more information on this mill-lead but so far haven't found anything.

  3. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers

    Searched and Answers

    1. What is this strange obviously artificial waterway? Did it serve any particular function? If so, what?

    I looked for the location using your coordinates in Google Maps. In that way, I found you are in Edinburgh. I looked around to see the different places you mention.

    [define waterway]
    [water of leith intext:waterway]
    [water of leith history]
    [water of leith history intext:waterway]

    Canal History

    [water of leith history canal history ]
    Union Canal
    Water Of Leith Canal Edinburgh Bike ride

    History of the Union Canal

    A. Union Canal. It helped to move products.

    2. The church shown below is associated with a famous writer. Who is the writer, and what's the connection? (If you're feeling on top of your game, what's the tree on the right of the image got to do with the right?)

    After seeing photos in Maps.

    [Colinton Parish Church]
    [Colinton Parish Church Around(4) writers] Nothing
    [Colinton Parish Church Around(4) Famous] To find in Serp Robert Louis Stevenson; famous novelist

    Robert and his and Dr. Lewis Balfour

    [Colinton Church tree history] In the Serp, next to bold tree : Sycamore.

    Heritage trees with roots in history
    Statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a boy. Includes video.

    [colinton parish church history]

    Colinton History: Other famous in the church
    Colton Parish Church facts. Includes links to different topics in the challenge
    link text

    I also found there is a "Tree Trail"

    A: Robert Louis Stevenson. He played on a swing on the yew tree next to the manse and wrote some of his poems and poetry beside the waterside nearby. The new church rooms have been named ‘The Swing’ in his memory. Source: Links already mentioned.

    About the tree. The Sycamore (400 yrs now) had the tree-swing that inspired Robert. From "Stevenson mentioned the tree and its swing - the metal brackets are still attached to one of its branches - in some of his poems, particularly in A Child’s Garden of Verses, written in 1885."

    I didn't understand the end of the question related to the tree.

    3. How long is this tunnel?

    The Colinton Tunnel, also known as the Water Of Leith Tunnel and the Dell Tunnel Flickr by K-burn.

    Rodney Street tunnel Site provides video.

    link text
    [Colinton Parish Tunnel] Nothing

    [Colinton Tunnel]

    The Colinton Tunnel, also known as the Water Of Leith Tunnel and the Dell Tunnel Flickr by K-burn.

    [Water Of Leith tunnel length]
    Rodney Street tunnel Site provides video.

    A: 153 yards= 139.90 m.

  4. I was wondering if I could find were Dr. Russell is without using his coordinates. Best chances are with photo of the Church:

    1. Used partially photo. Not luck yet.

    2. Zoomed and yes. Photo says " Saint Cuthberts". Lots of them. Looked again and says Parish Church of Colinton.

    I wonder if there is another way to find you, without coordinates or clue in Church.

    [saint cuthberts church colinton inscription]

    1. interesting ? Ramón - didn't find any way to ID Colinton outside the church clue and/or the coordinates…
      knowing it was Colinton Church could conceivably get one here:
      plaque would confirm
      and then other sites referenced would be found here:
      like this:
      RLS Yew
      what I don't quite understand is why a search by image doesn't turn up the church or this?:
      railway tunnel on the Balerno branch line
      very similar to Dan's pic - had no luck, even when I added key words to the search -Redhall Mill lade
      using [tunnel colinton running trails in edinburgh scotland] - taking the village name from the church plaque - got me to the tunnel ID:
      tunnel & map

    2. Hello, Dr. Russell and Remmij. Thanks for the links :)

      What I mean, is Can we solve Dr. Russell Challenge without using his clues? If we took and remove coordinates and church inscription, would make the challenge much more harder.

      After reading your posts, Remmij:

      [Redhall mill lade] [Redhall mill lade function]
      Water of Leith - Colinton Dell 1750's Grottos, wooden bridges, Mills and lades of the mill. Good description of a walk in the site.

      [Define Grotto]

      Have a great day.

    3. thanks RG - now I know a bit about Roe deer, wonder if DMR spotted any - or heard them?
      in Portugal
      for Rosemary, nice spot of video:
      Antony Gormley 6Xs - acceptable entropy
      S: information theory
      it would be cheeky of Dan to snap a selfie with one…
      Dan with No.1

    4. remmij Thanks good photo of Dr Dan & #1 - quite amusing and a good choice to use #1. Good video as well.

  5. Dan The tree on the right. THe last word: did you mean WRITER not RIGHT ?


  6. Entering as a query the coordinates google maps provides us with the Edinburgh location. Looking around the map at landmarks I see Colinton Parish Church.

    As well on the map is Water at Leith running through the area.
    and I didn’t search for details on the Naked Guy wading Statute. Maybe there’s a good story .Did you see him?

    The Water of Leith Trust mentions Spylaw Park (4th paragraph down) and here you can listen to an audio while walking/running through the area. There are 21 other audio tracks for the area which is a great idea. This page also mentions Colinton Parish, Colinton Tunnel and Robert Louis Stevenson.

    I did a book search for Water of Leith and I found [The Town and Port of Leith] which talks about the bakers and their mills along this canal used for transportation. The book is available online for free.

    A nice photo of the Colinton Tunnel mentions the length as being 153 yards

    Robert Louis Stevenson was connected to the Colinton Parish as shown by the image on Wikipedia [Statue of Robert Louis Stevenson as a child, outside Colinton Parish Church, Scotland]

    Query for Colinton Church trees to discover it’s a yew tree and also a heritage tree.
    Following up this connection with the query [Robert Louis Stevenson Yew Tree] tells us young Robert spent his summers here at his grandfathers parish . This particular link to is one we have seen before and worth remembering for searching Great Britain and Ireland.


  7. Your Facebook page tells me you are in Scotland at various places and somewhere else.

    Nothing posted to Strava. Darn. How could you forget this ?

    The water pix is matched perfectly with pix by Dougie Mathieson via Maps. Unidentified but rapidly found by search for canal water of Leith which produces Edinburgh canal or Union Canal

    Lat/Long indicates Water of Leith

    SEarch on [Leith Church] Images produces Colinton Parish Church

    The tree is clearly a Yew.

    Species: Yew (Taxus baccata)
    Access: The tree is within the grounds of the Manse, but can be observed from the Churchyard which is open to the public.

    Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his childhood at Colinton Manse. He is known to have played in the spreading branches of the old Yew tree and specifically refers to it in some of his verse ('Children's Garden of Verse). The remains of a swing in which he used to play are still evident on one of the limbs. It is a fine specimen - its trunk measures 116cm in diameter and it is thought to be around 300 - 400 years old. This tree has been identified as one of Scotland's top 100 heritage trees.

    Search on Colinton and famous writer produces

    Robert Louis Stevenson who spent the summers of his childhood at the manse when his grandfather was the village's Parish Minister;
    RLS writes... the great yew making elsewhere a pleasing horror of shade; the smell of water rising from all round, with an added tang of paper-mills; the sound of water everywhere, and the sound of mills - the wheel and the dam singing their alternate strain...

    The Little Book of Edinburgh: tells us the Yew was old when it was mentioned in the kirk minutes of 1630.

    SEARCH [colinton TUnnel] because its nearby - lucky guess

    The Colinton Tunnel, also known as the Water Of Leith Tunnel and the Dell Tunnel is 153 yards long and it runs on a constant, pronounced curve.


    another great puzzle

    jon tU

  8. 1. Union Canal
    From coordinates given by Dr Russell I found NCR75. Google-searched NCR75 edinburgh and found and I discovered that it was a cycle route.

    2. St Cuthbert's Edinburgh - from plaque (magnified several times). Writer = Thomas De Quincey buried there (wikipedia)

    3. Identified a list of "possibles": Scotland Secret Street Tunnel, Innocent Railway tunnel (too straight) and went through process of elimination. Came across this site " There are two smaller tunnels further north on the route of the same line, at Rodney Street and Trinity, and like the Innocent Railway Tunnel you can walk or cycle through them" and thought that the photos on this site matched those of Dr Russel. Not sure though.