Best clock

TOCK of the town

1 MILLENNIUM CLOCK In the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh, this is a tremendous tour de force created by a team of craftsmen. A 30ft tapering tower, wonderfully wood-carved, with wheels, cogs, chains, figures of ordinary people and weird animals, automatons, symbolic carvings. Springs into life, set in motion by the Egyptian monkey in the crypt, for a five-minute display four times a day.

2 FLORAL CLOCK In West Princes Street Garden, dating from 1903, this is the world's oldest floral clock. Originally a mechanism of two bellows and organ pipes reproduced the call of the cuckoo. But Edinburgh's most watched birdie only arrived to settle in its box 50 years later. On the face and numbers, 45,000 small plants are required. The summer floral design is based on a topical theme.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

3 CRIMOND CHURCH CLOCK Due to an error by the maker, the clock on the tower of Crimond Church, near Fraserburgh, displays a 61-minute hour, with the inscription "The Hour's Coming". During repainting in 1949, the extra minute was removed. Following protests from parishioners, it was restored. Crimond, the proper tune for The Lord's My Shepherd, was written by Jessie Irvine, daughter of the minister, in 1872.

4 ONE O'CLOCK GUN Edinburgh's big bang. Fired daily, except Sunday, from the north face of the castle since 1861. A time-ball falls from Nelson's Monument on Calton Hill at noon, Greenwich Mean Time, which synchronises with the gun during British Summer Time. Both signals were originally time-checks for sailors in the Firth of Forth to set their marine chronometers. The gun could be heard when the time-ball was obscured by mist, but the ball was more accurate because of the time the sound of the bang takes to travel the two miles to Leith.

5 12 O'CLOCK POSITION Not an entry in the McKama Sutra. This is the object for burly, bekilted, caber-tossing Highland Games competitors. Pick up a tree trunk about 18ft long and weighing 150lb, balance it against your shoulder with the heavy end uppermost, run forward, stop suddenly and hurl pole end-over-end so that the narrower end falls pointing straight ahead in the 12 o'clock position. That's the perfect throw – and maximum points.

Related topics: