Making a splash for Sick Kids

Nial Smith's print envisages a marina on the edge of the New Town
Nial Smith's print envisages a marina on the edge of the New Town
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IT’s the year 2164, and even the most pessimistic climate change predictions have been exceeded.

Most of Edinburgh lies submerged beneath the waves, just the Old and New Towns remaining above sea level.

But it’s not all bad news in this waterlogged vision of the future, created by artist Nial Smith.

His map, which is being auctioned off by the Balmoral hotel to raise money for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, suggests that the remaining residents of the Capital are having rather a lovely time in their waterfront homes.

The Scott Monument towers over the reborn Nor Loch, a marina lies at St Bernard’s Bay, and residents of Calton Hill – now an island – can enjoy themselves on Albion Sands, just below Royal Terrace.

Grassmarket and Cowgate have become the Venetian-style Watermarket and Fishgate, and a university boat race is being raced around the Castle.

Mr Smith says the vision, called Auld Leakie, is intended to be tongue-in-cheek rather than bleak.

“It’s a ‘What if?’. It’s definitely not based on scientific predictions. It’s not about doom – I think it’s actually quite exciting. I was really looking at comparing us to places with spectacular harbours like Sydney or New York.

“We have the Water of Leith but we don’t have a proper river or water through the city and I was thinking we’ve got these big bridges in the middle of town and there’s no water under them, it’s a bit strange to tourists, they think ‘Why have you built these bridges?’. So now they’ve got some water under them.

“It’s a kind of Venice of the North instead of Athens of the North.”

Mr Smith has donated one of the 500 limited-edition prints of the map to the Balmoral’s festive silent auction.

Other gifts on offer in the auction include a luxury weekend at the hotel with dinner in the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, handmade silver jewellery from Hamilton & Inches, and a made-to-measure kilt from Kinloch Anderson.

Hotel general manager Franck Arnold said: “I would encourage Edinburgh locals to make a trip to the Balmoral and get involved in the auction to help us raise as much money as possible for a fantastic cause.”

The auction runs until January 5 and bids must be placed in person at the hotel.