By Pleach

Several butterflies were fluttering around enjoying the numerous wild flowers after the haar cleared this afternoon on Regents Walk.  The fresh green tree leaves, yellow gorse and wild wallflowers growing on the rock made an attractive foreground to Nelson’s Monument above.  The tower was built over 200 years ago to resemble an upturned telescope commemorating Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Those familiar with the Edinburgh skyline on Calton Hill will probably notice something is different with the tower now. Normally there is a time ball which is raised shortly before one o’clock then dropped from the top of a mast at exactly one o’clock each day.  It was installed in 1861 to provide an accurate time for adjusting clocks for navigation on ships anchored at Leith and in the Forth. However in poor visibility, as it was this morning, the ball could not be seen, so an audible signal was introduced in 1861 by a gun being fired at Edinburgh Castle at the same time.  Now neither are needed by ships due to modern technology but the tradition continues and is a timely reminder when the gun is heard at one.

Within the last week the time ball mechanism has been removed for refurbishment and a new automated system will be installed by the end of September.

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