Meet Me Halfway: Edinburgh Climate Festival
By 2030, Edinburgh plans to have a net-zero carbon footprint. One way to help the city achieve this is by choosing to meet friends by foot, wheel or bike. Viktoriia Telfer and Ana Alexander did just that on a recent trip to the Edinburgh Climate Festival
Content creators Viktoriia Telfer (@viktoriiadiaries) and Ana Alexander (@ana.is.fun) live in different parts of Edinburgh but took the opportunity to meet each other halfway by attending Edinburgh Climate Festival at Leith Links, with Viktoriia travelling from Dean Village and Ana from the city centre.
We caught up with Viktoria to hear about her highlights from her half of the journey and the benefits of getting out on foot and meeting a friend halfway.
The Skinny: Where did you decide to meet Ana?
Viktoriia Telfer: We initially thought about the Shore in Leith, but weren’t quite sure where exactly. The Shore is famous for authentic cafes and shops with lots of culture and good food! We ended up picking Toast, a medium-size cafe with all-day food, wine, pastries and ice cream – nothing too complicated, just a very nice place to meet with pals. If you sit outside you get to enjoy the life of the Shore and the view over the water on a good day. This is exactly what we did before it started raining and we had to go inside.
How did you choose your route?
I really love the Western part of central Edinburgh, especially Dean Village, so it was a very easy decision for me to start from there. Plus you get to see how the architecture changes as you make your way to Leith.
I made sure I could go through Stockbridge so I could pop into a few independent shops like Druid, Aetla and I.J. Mellis. After that I spent the majority of my time on the Water of Leith walkway which is the best getaway right in the heart of Edinburgh – lots of greenery and you can cross the whole city following this route. Does any other city have that? I am not sure.
Did anything surprise you on your journey?
Pouring rain when I least expected it, and the actual length of my route. I love walking and I am generally very active, although this route was about 5km one way and then another 5km back. You can see the map in my Instagram Highlights. Don’t be put off by [the distance] though, you can cut it short at any point and turn back, picking a circle route back to the West End or Modern One, where I later finished my journey.
It is not often that I walk all the way to Leith, so it was really nice to do this and yet again, prove that Edinburgh is a very green city and you don’t need a car to get around, as long as you have some time to walk, wheel or cycle.
Did you get any food or drink on your route?
Yep, on the way to the Shore I grabbed a green smoothie at Grams Edinburgh, one of my favourite places to have a healthy brunch or lunch at. At Toast, Ana and I had some amazing hummus and another green juice.
While walking back I discovered a new (perhaps not that new, but it was for me) location of Mimi’s Bakery on Comely Bank Road to grab their amazing brownies for me and my husband for when I arrived home.
After lunch, you went on to the Edinburgh Climate Festival. How was it?
The event was much bigger than I expected! I was happy to see so much diversity and enthusiasm from everyone who had a stall. Kids were having the time of their life joining different workshops while adults were listening to some inspiring folk about our greener future. It was good to see some familiar local brands, bakeries and lots of students who care about the future of Edinburgh and our planet overall.
What, for you, were the benefits of meeting halfway?
Exploring Edinburgh by foot is never boring and every single time you will find something new. I would say that I know Edinburgh pretty well, but walks like these make you notice tiny little details, new additions or hidden gems that you would never notice from the car. It doesn’t matter if you lived in this city for decades or moved recently, you will always see more every time you go out. Mark my words!
Follow Viktoriia Telfer's journey @viktoriiadiaries
To find out more about the health and environmental benefits of City of Edinburgh Council's Meet Me Halfway campaign, as well as ideas for your own journey, head to edinburgh.gov.uk/meetmehalfway