I had the good fortune of traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland recently, and while I was there I decided to track down the grave of one of my favorite modern European philosophers, David Hume. I learned that his grave was located on Calton Hill, near the end of the Royal Mile and Scottish Parliament. Even so, I had a bit of an adventure trying to find it. At first, I thought it was somewhere in the Canongate Church graveyard, but failing to find it there I wandered down the rest of the Royal Mile to the cemetery that I could see was on the side of Calton Hill. I saw a circular tower that was a possible candidate.
Yet as I walked up through the cemetery I found that Hume’s grave was not there, though there is a stunning view of Arthur’s Seat, an outcrop of rock that shot out of the side of a volcano long ago.
I decided to walk the rest of the way up Calton Hill, which had beautiful views of the city.
As I rounded the hill, I spotted a cemetery that I had missed, tucked away down the hill.
I ran down the hill and the stairs to Princes Street, and found the gate to the Old Calton Cemetery. I was greeted by a plaque that told me it was here!
There, next to a monument to Abraham Lincoln and the Scottish soldiers who lost their lives in the American Civil War, was Hume’s mausoleum.
Here is a map showing the site of the grave:
The next morning, I decided to walk back to the grave and hill before I left Edinburgh on my travels. As I walked back up the Royal Mile from North Bridge, I found that some drunken Saturday night reveler had placed a cone atop Hume’s skeptical head. I would like to think he would have appreciated the joke.