As I am sure you may be aware, 14th January is always Greyfriars Bobby Day in Edinburgh.

A Google search will take you to a plethora of articles (known in journalism as pieces) about Greyfriars Bobby, one of the most beloved dogs in Edinburgh.

For that reason, I thought I’d put a different perspective of how important a similar dog was to a man called James Smith. James was alive from 1839 until 1919. He owned a dog most dear to him. So dear that a most generous bequest – £2 million in today’s money! – he made to the National Gallery of Scotland came with a specific condition; that his beloved Dinmont terrier Callum (seen below) must remain on permanent display, as indeed he does today.

I can only show you Callum upon learning on a previous, most enjoyable visit to the excellent exhibitions on display at the National Gallery of Scotland at the bottom of The Mound in Edinburgh, that provided a painting was not on loan, but owned outright by the gallery, I am allowed to use them for commercial purpose.

Dandie Dinmont terriers like Callum originate from the Scottish Borders. An area long associated with a great, Edinburgh born early 1800s novelist . This novelist had a mansion near Melrose, called Abbotsford House, which is open for the public to enjoy each year.

Callum gets his name from a farmer in Guy Mannering, a novel published in 1815. The author? You’ve guessed it. Sir Walter Scott, the great Edinburgh novelist I refer to.

Sir Walter owned two Dandie Dinmonts himself, Ginger and Spice.

Greyfriars kirkyard puts on a wonderful ceremony remembering and celebrating Greyfriars Bobby. Normally, upon the annual date of his passing, 14th January. This Sunday will therefore mark 152 years since this wonderful little dog departed Edinburgh.

This video tells you of a lovely reason behind something you will often see at Bobby’s grave.

I hope you have enjoyed this unique angle piece, heping us remember one of our most favourite furry friends in Edinburgh.

Your comments are always welcome, as is a coffee! Do feel free to buy me one. It would be very much appreciated.

#buymeacoffee #greyfriarsbobbyday2024 #edinburghhistory

Fraser Paterson
Freelance Tour Guide (warmer months) & writer (colder months)

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