Friday 23 December 2011: What's the time?
The clock says it's just after one but the fact that the one o'clock ball hasn't dropped yet, means it's actually a few moments before one. The ball on top of the Nelson Monument on Calton Hill was recently renovated and once again falls at the same time as the firing of the one o'clock gun on the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. The ball was visible from the docks at Leith so ships in the nineteenth century could reset their chronometers (as they couldn't hear the gun). So the discrepancy reflects another Edinburgh tradition - the clock on the Balmoral Hotel, formerly the North British Hotel, is deliberately set two minutes fast. This dates back to the time it was a railway hotel and was to give rail passengers a couple more minutes to catch their train.