The statue of Greyfriars Bobby at the southwestern corner of George IV Bridge, just across the road from the Museum of Scotland, must rank as Edinburgh’s most sentimental tourist attraction. According to the legend – no doubt embellished down the years – Bobby was a Skye terrier acquired as a working dog by a police constable named John Gray. When Gray died in 1858, Bobby was found a few days later sitting on his grave, a vigil he maintained until his death fourteen years later. Bobby’s legendary dedication was picked up by Disney, whose 1960 feature film of the story ensured that streams of tourists have paid their respects ever since.
The grave Bobby mourned over is in the Greyfriars Kirkyard, which has a fine collection of seventeenth-century gravestones and mausoleums, including one to the Adam family of architects. The kirkyard is visited regularly by ghost tours and was known for grave-robbing, when freshly interred bodies were exhumed and sold to the nearby medical school. Greyfriars Kirk itself was built in 1620 on land that had belonged to a Franciscan convent, though little of the original late Gothic-style building remains.