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Sunday, June 11, 2006

what time is it?

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Nikon D70 @ 62mm, 1/640 sec, f/8, ISO 200

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It's one o'clock.

My brother and his girlfriend were over in the Burgh for a couple of nights so it was the perfect excuse to visit some of the touristy sights we have been meaning to see since I moved here. First stop... Edinburgh castle.

We got there just in time for the firing of the "One O'clock Gun". The One O'Clock Gun is fired every day (except Sunday) at precisely 13:00, and is said to be so accurate that many Edinburgers stop and set their watches by it.

We spoke to the guy in the picture afterwards who explained that the origin of the tradition lies in the days when sailing ships in the Firth of Forth were able to check and reset their chronometers in the time when acurate timepieces weren't available.

In 1861, Captain Wauchope, a Scottish Naval Officer in the Royal Navy invented the time ball which can still be seen today on top of Nelson's Monument, Calton Hill. At one o'clock the ball drops giving the signal to sailors, but this meant that someone would have to be looking out for it and it often couldn't be seen in foggy weather. So, the gun was fired simultaneously to the time ball dropping and this meant that the gun could easily be heard by ships in Leith Harbour (2 miles away).


Anonymous Gordon said...

One o'clock, eh? I'd better not ask where he gets the time from (viz., the time on the clock to the left and rear of the gunner).

2:52 am, June 11, 2006  
Anonymous Thomas Comerford said...

What I want to know is.... where does the shell land? ;-D

2:21 pm, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Paul said...

I like the idea of using a small series of shots to document an event. The second shot is impressive - right when the gun went off.

4:55 pm, June 12, 2006  
Anonymous Phil said...

Good series, these are great shots. Thanks for the additional info too, a friend and I were talking about the ball on the Nelson Monument the other day & couldn't remember exactly where it fitted in to things - that clears it up!

8:35 am, June 13, 2006  
Blogger John said...

Gordon: You know, I meant to ask if anyone could spot the mistake in the picture so I'm glad you picked up on it!

Paul: Thanks - was originally just going to post the second shot, but thought the series might work quite well.

10:27 pm, June 14, 2006  

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