Cammo is one of the most interesting parts of Edinburgh yet it is little known to many of the residents. The old estate is a designated Local Nature Reserveand apart from a wee bit of encroachment from Barnton, has a very rural feel to it, with ploughed fields and numerous trees.
There have been a number of proposed new developments in the area. These are controversial and have been a mainstay of party political leaflets over the past few years.
House of the Shaws?
In Simon J. Baillie’s excellent book, The Private World of Cammo, he suggests that:
“It is rumoured that Robert Louis Stevenson visited Cammo, and was inspired to use Cammo as the basis for the ‘House of the Shaws’ in Kidnapped. Distances mentioned in the book correspond to the distance between South Queensferry and Cammo. It has, however, been difficult to find any concrete evidence to support this claim.”
The great house itself is mostly gone, and its stables ruined. With a little imagination, the whole area feels like the ruins of some lost city, with weeds growing out of the stonework. There is also a reflecting pool (incorrectly referred to as a “canal” in some sources), which has been cleared recently, and an interesing tower a little way from the main buildings. The lodge house has survived and is largely intact.
Blog round up
I spend a lot of my time looking at other blogs and websites about this area. Here are a few that have dealt with Cammo over the last few years.
The Radzikowska Blog (2016) describes Cammo as “a place that enchants in all seasons.” Ms Radzikowska proves this point with a selection of beautiful photographs.
Lothian Life (2007) takes a wordier approach, and gives a lot of detail about the history and architecture of the estate. It states:
“Meadow, marsh and woodland rub shoulders with one another, making Cammo an important habitat for a variety of wildlife as well as a pleasant recreational space.
“No longer just for the privileged, Cammo has become a haven where every member of the public can come to relax, explore, and of course to enjoy the beauty and diversity of nature – and all just minutes from the heart of Scotland’s capital city.”
Real Edinburgh (2011) provides a few more insights, including the curious standing stone, which no one seems to know the exact age of. As it says, “A complete mystery as to why this is here at all. There’s no markings of any kind but it’s a fair sized stone!” This blog contains a number of black and white photographs of the area.