Nick Thorpe, author

nick-thorpeNick made Edinburgh his home in the mid-1990s. A decade later, still feeling he was only floating on the surface of Scotland, he went boat-hitching through the nation's canals, lochs, islands and coastal waters – on what he called a nautical sabbatical. Pondering the meaning of life for 2500 miles didn't bring many clear-cut answers, but it taught him to enjoy the questions... Being near water is really important to me. The old Union Canal is like a parallel universe in itself. One minute you're in a busy street, then suddenly you turn a corner and find yourself in this long, peaceful backwater. On Sunday afternoons you can rent a boat from a little white hut off Ashley Terrace, run by the friendly eccentrics at Edinburgh Canal Society.

You can get the same unexpected peace in the city centre just by nipping down one of those little closes off the Royal Mile. When I worked for The Scotsman newspaper I used to dodge into one with my lunch to escape the crowds...

Read the full interview in The Locals' Guide to Edinburgh

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