From a Railway Carriage - A Walk Through Colinton Tunnel
On a recent visit to Edinburgh, I took a walk along the Water of Leith Walkway from Leith to Balerno - a tranquil, meandering, leafy walk some thirteen miles long, leading me at one point through the Colinton Tunnel. After the closure of this section of railway in 1967, the tunnel was subsequently bricked up, only to be reopened as part of the Walkway in 1980. The tunnel, over 140 metres in length, was dark and somewhat forbidding; not somewhere one would want to linger for long.
However, Colinton Tunnel was completely transformed in 2020 with the unveiling of an incredibly beautiful mural, created by local artists, schools and community, directed by Mike Scott and Chris Rutherford and sponsored by local organisations and businesses. The mural depicts the local people and environment and the centrepiece is a series of panels illustrating Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous poem ‘From a Railway Carriage’.
This is a poem I have always loved and I have worked with it in primary classes so often over the years. Yet it was made new for me seeing it in this colossal graffiti form on the walls of the tunnel. The vivid images came alive for me and breathed new life into the words I knew so well.
Visuals have such power to make us understand familiar things in new ways. Language, represented in graphic form, can be understood and interpreted afresh. Graphics have the power to surprise us, inspire us and help us. They can facilitate different cognitive connections which lead to deeper-level comprehension and shared meaning.
See below for an audio version of the poem
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