There’s No Place Like Home…

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The first time I visited St Kilda was in honour of my birthday. My boyfriend and I were living in a place called Nyah – for those of you who have heard of it – and we decided to have a wee holiday in the infamous St Kilda. As soon as I got off the tram (and at the wrong stop) I thought I’d returned home to Edinburgh and the lovely seaside suburb of Portobello, where I’ve lived for twenty years.  I immediately felt comfortable.

We left Nyah for good and returned to St Kilda to live and work.

Through closer inspection, I have found that Portobello and St Kilda are not very different. Visually they are similar (minus the palm trees). We too have the golden sand, busy esplanade, various parks, and an abundance of residences. The views are equally impressive: from Porty beach, you can see out to the North Sea and across the water to Fife (on a good day), the coastal line takes your eye to East Lothian and the City behind you, with the stunning Castle and Arthurs Seat. All that’s missing from Portobello is the sunshine, not quite sure I’m brave enough to spend Christmas on the beach in below freezing temperatures.

Community spirit is central too. The Portobello Community has successfully regenerated interest in the area, and is again the busy seaside resort it once was for locals (and now many tourists) to enjoy. On a ‘hot’ summers day in Scotland (we Scots consider seventeen degrees to be a heat wave) Portobello beach is extremely busy with families, dog walkers, and people filling the beer gardens that line the promenade – a scene not that far removed from a sunny afternoon in St Kilda. We too have an Espy.

Sadly, some of the local businesses in Portobello have fallen victim to the economic crisis, but the community spirit still shines. I hope that when I return home in a couple of years, Portobello will be thriving just like St Kilda.  I won’t be clicking my ruby shoes anytime soon.

By Emma-Eileen Thorpe 


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