Walking the Line

A Terminalia Festival 2023 walk which took place on Saturday 25 February 1.30 – 5pm

Here is what happened – Ewan Davidson’s blog

The Festival of Terminalia

Gathering at the coastal edge of the Firth of Forth to walk the boundary

We celebrated the festival of Terminalia by looking for the invisible line that marks the mutual edge of Edinburgh and East Lothian.

Shoe Tree

Along the way we looked for hermits, skylarks, horses, incinerators, filmmakers, and a shoe tree. We found all this and we offered our libations to Terminus.

Terminus was one of the really old Roman gods – more of a symbol of the basic patterns of reality – he didn’t have a face, he was literally a stone marker. Terminus was given influence over less physical boundaries too, like that between two months, or between two groups of people. Terminalia was celebrated on the 23rd February – which was the last day of the Roman Year, the boundary between two new year. …Traditionally, feasting and sacrifices were performed during Terminalia at boundary markers. In Roman times for the festival the two owners of adjacent property crowned the statue with garlands and raised a rude altar, on which they offered up some corn, honeycombs, and wine, and sacrificed a lamb or a sucking pig. Today we can look back and acknowledge the timeless pattern of boundaries and landmarks.

@tim_waters (twitter)
Hermitage on the Newhailes Estate

We began on the coast between Musselburgh and Portobello and walked a route via Newhailes (National Trust for Scotland) for loos and a cup of tea. We spotted spoil heaps and culverts, railway lines, bridges and the hermitage, and ended at Newcraighal Shopping Centre which is on top of the old mine shafts and site of the Niddrie Brickworks.

Heading to the terminal
The Edinburgh incinerator
Fences at the edgeland, Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags in the distance
A found horse, a talisman

With Ewan Davidson (his blog is here) and me, Tamsin Grainger.