He became notably more stressed after leaving the canal and entering the first urban area, but he was also in a more
positive frame of mind suggesting that he was enjoying the challenge.
"I was really irritated walking along a small path beside a busy road full of noisy and fast trucks. It was such a relief to move down from the road to the relative tranquility of the canal and with lush green foliage along its banks."
After walking through a small park he returned to a normal stress level and was still quite positive, remaining
mostly unstressed for the remainder of the walk through Wester Hailes and Hailes. Around the suburban area, carpark,
and railway station Dan became more focused and meditative. There was a brief period of stress around the Commons
at Clovenstone Gardens in Wester Hailes and again in the streets of Hailes. "Funnily enough, of all my walking one of my
favourite interactions was at the Commons at Clovenstone Gardens. One of the great things about Scotland (compared to England) is that
lots of people ask what the funny thing is that’s on my head. Quite right too. In Wester Hailes a group of young boys aged between
7 and 11 stopped me for a chat. One of them introduced them as “gangsters”, but an older child simply said “shut up, no we’re not” and then
they barraged me with questions. They were fascinated by my headset, journey and we had a lovely chat about their local area. From
my brief walk through, I thought their park and the way the housing “held” it at it heart looked just brilliant, but I did wonder
if it could have felt a bit like a fortress for those coming in from the road."
"Hailes bothered me though. Beautiful and no doubt friendly...but when I entered I saw nobody at all for about 10 minutes. It was like a ghost town."
For the walk along the canal river Daniel had low stress levels, was meditative, calm, moderately engaged, and felt quite positive, with a few very high points.
"The Water of Leith was such a high point for me. The Wild Cities expedition has really helped me to tune into natural pleasures. I wonder
why we can’t find creative ways to build these into our urban environments, especially if we know they can reduce stress levels,
calm us and make us feel happier. Dappled light, the sound of strong running water, the touch of invisible cool mist in the air, the
curve of branches, complexity of diverse plant life and casual surprises as wildlife jumps or flies through the landscape. I was
delighted to see some serious swings too. We need more swings in cities. Swings are simply one of the best nano-adventures going."
Passing through Redhall Dan remained mildly positive and meditative, was quite focused while on or near major roads,
and was quite calm, being generally unstressed except for a brief period of high stress levels when leaving the forested canal area.
"Harrison Gardens is a beautiful park. I turned left here and ducked into a greenway. A woman was upset because she’d trodden in some dog poo
and it “wasn’t even her dogs”. Many people would see these spaces as neglected, as it was large “overgrown” and full of graffiti. Passing through
I saw these as alternative forms of investment in this place. People and nature co-creating the greenway, a place that nobody else was really
caring for... apart from to use a dog loo."
Around Harrison Gardens Dan was feeling engaged, excited, very positive, and quite focused. He remained positive, meditative, and engaged through the
outer suburbs, although he was also less focused and a little more stressed in general.
"There was a tricky bit of road to negotiate here. Moving from the calm blue-green way of the Water of Leith into this road intersection, even for someone
who loves exploring cities, was unpleasant. Those of us who have to cross lots of roads always have to deal with a baseline of stress that
we just don’t experience when walking along routes where there are not large pieces of metal moving around at 30mph controlled by strangers."
"Moving out of the path and into the streets, I really enjoyed listening to the echo of seagulls. This was the first part of the walk where they started to
dominate the sky and bring the sound of wildness through the city’s urban canyons with old buildings forming their deepening cliff-like sides."
During the ascent towards Edinburgh Castle Dan’s mood became more positive and engaged, with a marked increase in stress during the climb and
around the base of Castle Hill. He remained calm but his level of focus also increased as he ascended the hill.
"In this moment I was actually feeling a great sense of awe. Edinburgh Castle is simply one of the world’s best. Leaning over a giant cliff
and looking out across the city’s volcanic landscape and maze of streets, it’s just fabulous. Cities that have to deal with cliffs, rivers and
other barriers are so fortunate. Maybe not for planners and house builders, but they create distinctiveness, character and beauty."
"How many cities are fortunate enough to have publicly accessible casual ancient volcanoes going through them, with incredible views? Edinburgh is very
lucky to have them, and we are all fortunate they have been protected and not been built on."
For the remainder of this section along Princes Street Dan was in good spirits, meditative but not particularly focused or calm, although he was a
little stressed for several blocks and during the final part of the walk—probably as a result of exertion and wanting to rest.
"Princes Street is the main shopping area in Edinburgh. Even though it was towards the end of the day it was busy with people shopping, touring and traffic.
Perhaps those designing places for people to shop should reflect on this and use wearable technology to inform how places are designed."
On the final leg of the journey Dan experienced very little stress apart from a brief period of elevated stress before descending the hill from Regents Garden,
and another period after passing Lochend Loch. His excitement and valence levels started high in Regents Park but rapidly declined, and he remained
very calm and only slightly positive for the remainder of the trip. In contrast, his engagement level was quite low after lunch, steadily increasing until the
end of the journey while his meditation and focus levels were quite low compared to the morning. It seems likely that by now Dan was quite tired and looking
forward to finishing the walk. While still positive, Dan was in a less focused and less meditative state during this section, only becoming more meditative
when he got back into his rhythm after descending the hill and approaching the end of the journey.
"The end of this walk was one of the best. I’d irritated by the terrible design of a nearby retail “park” (why are they always so cheap, nasty and boring!?
Why don’t the large retail buildings ever have art, nature or anything on their walls other than concrete, dull brick or metal cladding!?)"
"Finally, I was given the pleasure of an incredible sunset across the Firth of Forth. While the view was stunning, I got the greatest joy from blankets of bright seaweed that was
entangled in a thousand shades on the rocks and beach."