'Never knew a place like it': Locals recall Waverley Steps, once Edinburgh's windiest spot

As winds of up to 70mph cause chaos across Edinburgh on Tuesday, we take a look back at what was once the city’s windiest spot.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 6:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 7:08 am

For decades it was an Edinburgh quirk as familiar to locals as the blast of the One o'clock Gun and the reek of the Fountainbridge breweries.

The top of the steps leading to Waverley Station, officially known as the Waverley Steps, were once notorious as the windiest spot in the city.

Seen as a rites of passage for people living in Edinburgh, the steps seemed to regularly conjure up gale force gusts that could almost take the face off you.

Undefined: twitter

So strong were the winds that railings were put up preventing rail users and shoppers from being blown down to the station or on to bustling Princes Street.

Edinburgh men knew to hold on tight to their bunnets, while city ladies made sure to clutch the bottom of their skirts for fear of an embarrassing Marilyn Monroe-style reveal.

The danger factor of the Waverley Steps was greatly reduced in 2012 following a £7 million investment that saw the original steps replaced, an escalator introduced down one side, and a glass and steel canopy constructed.

Never again would the Waverley Steps be capable of inverting a brand new umbrella or lifting an infant occupied pram off its wheels.

We've asked locals to share their stories about their own memorable encounters with the Waverley Steps – some of them amusing, others genuinely harrowing.

Here’s what they had to say.

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