Ken Cockburn is a poet living in Edinburgh. Since 2007, he has run poetry tours in Edinburgh’s Old Town for organisations and projects including The Old Town Festival, the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh City of Literature, Artlink and the Scottish Storytelling Festival. As well as this, he has presented poetry in libraries, galleries, pubs across the city including the Scottish Parliament.
This Fringe, Cockburn will be leading a unique walking tour called Come Down the Mile that links poems and places on and around Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. It is here that you can see the most visible poet, Robert Fergusson, whose statue strides purposefully downhill outside the Canongate Kirkyard.
Fergusson was author of the long poem Auld Reikie, the Scots name given to Edinburgh because of the narrow, smoky, densely-populated streets of its Old Town.
‘Auld Reikie, wale o’ ilks toun
That Scotland kens beneath the moon’
His gravestone inside the Kirkyard was commissioned by Robert Burns, who wrote its inscription. Overlooking the Canongate is the classically built Royal High School which, with the folly on Calton Hill, helped to give Edinburgh the name the Athens of the North.
Come Down the Mile will take in these sites, as well as wending between the 21st century parliament building and the medieval Holyrood Palace, shifting from the confines of Old Town closes to open parkland. Views of the city will be opened up with poems by Burns, Fergusson, Carolina Oliphant and James Hogg, as well as the great Anon, with new poems written for the walk by Cockburn himself.
The walk will take place between 5th–28th August at 11am at Venue 167.