The story has been passed down for three generations that at the beginning of the twentieth century Jane Baillie, Mrs Torrance, who latterly lived at Newlandrigg, climbed Arthurís Seat when she was seventy eight.Her youngest son, William Baillie Torrance, probably walked up with her.It was considered quite a feat for celebration by the Torrance family.They lived at Mount Lodge, Portobello.Her granddaughter, Mona Torrance, was the spitten image of Grandma Torrance .Mona, who became Mrs. Gerrard, lived to nearly a hundred, but there is no mention of her ever attempting Arthurís Seat.


In response to a fundraising call from Portobello Round Table in October 1969.Norah Torrance Cavaye, Monaís younger sister, offered to do a sponsored climb of Arthurís Seat in aid of a new childrenís playground on the site of the old Mount Lodge.The house had been demolished in 1929 and a small estate of houses erected in the grounds.At this time Norah was seventy one.She was extremely relaxed at the prospect.Her son, Robin would drive her to the carpark at Dunsappie and up sheíd go, no bother.†† Robin decided, on the day appointed, to bring along his daughter, Katie and her cousin Marianne Burton.They all lived in Portobello.The two girls were aged nine and ten.Katie says her grandmother went up at a hundred miles an hour. There were no other people around and they all three went up and down again in no time at all.Robin had arranged a photographer, who took a picture.The heading shouted ďGrannie Norah!Ē and the text told her age.She was not ower sair pleased, for she had told lies about her age for years.

It was Robin who let the cat out of the bag.The money was duly raised to renovate the playground which was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh the next year.


Dorothy Cavaye, Mrs Kelly, Norahís daughter considered going up Arthurís Seat for years, once she too became a pensioner.She never got round to actually doing it for a long time.†† As a child she had been taken up Arthurís Seat on many a Sunday afternoon by several of her Cavaye uncles.At long last, living not too far off in Roslin and approaching her eighty second birthday, Dorothy made up her mind that, as a birthday treat, she would like to climb Arthurís Seat and have lunch afterwards at the Sheep Heid Inn, a hostelry she had heard a lot about but never been in.So, in spite of protests from her husband John Kelly, but encouraged by their sons, Roger and Jim, who were present when the announcement was made,(also, over the telephone, egged on by their daughter, Mary Jane, who lived in York) the event came to take place this year 2007on Tuesday thirteenth March in the morning.

On a cold windy day with blue skies and bright sunshine three of them went up the hill with Dorothy, while John Kelly waited in the carpark at Duddingston.Roger and his wife, Jane, along with Jim gave their mother great support on the hill.The two hundred steps from the bottom for the first stage seemed very hard, but it was a merry adventure for the auld wife and the three supporters laughed their way upwards, with stops for photographs at special viewpoints.The views on such a day were fantastic.The panorama of Portobello and the Firth of Forth and further on of the Western approaches to Edinburgh with the two Bridges outlined in the distance made the effort more than worthwhile.The craggy summit felt tough as well, but with plenty of helpers to catch her if she tripped, it wasnít too much of a struggle.A last, blown about and tossed in all directions, they reached the top, took a photograph then started the more relaxed saunter down, knowing a good lunch was waiting for them all in the Sheep Heid .Happily reunited with John at the bottom, safely back on terra firma the few steps up the cobbled alley to the inn provided a moment of euphoria before they all sat down to a glass of red wine and Dorothy had steak and kidney pie.Very satisfying!



Scenes from a life

March 1925

Head down, baby Dorothy joins her young Cavaye uncles and aunt with Grannie and

Grandpa on their back steps at Craig Royston, East Brighton Crescent, Portobello

Holding flowers, as a bridesmaid at Auntie Maysieís wedding -future actress Helena Gloag made an impact

As a young mother in Portobello in the forties

Holidays in the fifties

Into the nineteen sixties

As a grandmother in the 1970s

Into the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond


As described at the head of this page, Dorothy climbed to the top of Arthur's Seat and back from Duddingston Loch on her 82nd birthday. 13th March 2007. She was following a family tradition begun by her great grandmother, Jane Torrance (Baillie) in advanced years 100 years ago, which her mother Norah Cavaye (Torrance) honoured when in her seventies earning an Edinburgh Weekly picture and headline Granny Norah at the Top in 1969.


CAVAYE family

Dorothy remembers Mount Lodge

Dorothy remembers Craig Royston & Portobello in the Thirties




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