The Hidden Playpark

Yesterday I made the most surprising discovery! I was walking up to the castle, to buy the tartan scarves to include in the prize draw bundles, when I noticed what looked like a boardwalk at the end of one of the tenement-lined streets. As we were so high up, I couldn’t help but imagine where the boardwalk might lead; so my curiosity got the better of me, and we detoured away from our route to investigate. I suppose I had imagined a lookout point where you could gaze out towards the hillfoot villages, the meandering Forth river, the Wallace Monument and the Ochil hills. What I actually found was so much better! There was a lookout point, but our attention was diverted by the most fabulously unexpected playpark. Now, as a mother of three I am more than familiar with your average playpark, but believe me when I say, this was no average playpark. For one thing there was an emphasis on natural materials, so there was lots of wood and organic shapes, and there was an incredible rope bridge, which I just couldn’t tear my eyes from:

Rope Bridge

Rope Bridge 2

Rope Close Up 2

However, some of the most interesting inclusions were rocks, which were seemingly randomly placed around the park. Set atop these rocks were metal casts of children’s hands and feet, and the occasional dog’s pawprint, and while the kids played on the chutes, the bridge and the swings, I set about finding all the rocks. Here are some that I found and photographed:

Hands Eternal

Fragmented Footsteps

Cast Foot

Foot of Metal

Cast Toes

I love it when a place I assume to be completely familiar, surprises me in this way! When was the last time you made a discovery like this about your environment? Do you find that you stick to the same routes all the time? Next time you’re out for a wander, will you investigate a new corner of your world, and come back to tell me what you found?


March 7, 2008. Environment, Photography.


  1. Sprite replied:

    What a great discovery! (and totally cool bridge & rocks!)

  2. despil replied:

    Nice place. I see that Scotland is high priority on my “must visit” list. πŸ™‚

    Plus, I will have to get a kilt and tartan for myself. Been told I have to.

  3. karenswim replied:

    Amy, I spent a long time browsing through all the photos yesterday on Flickr and found them delightful. I believe that one of the gifts a writer has is that curiosity and sense of wonder that keeps us open to new discoveries and possibilities. Thank you for sharing this discovery with us. It is beautiful!


  4. mrschili replied:

    Amy, I LOVE the study of the rope bridge! I’m sitting here, all alone in my house, speaking aloud to my computer! You’ve got me talking to myself!

    We do get overly familiar with our environments. I’ve been thinking, and I can’t come up with a single thing I can say about my neighborhood that even comes close to your discovery…

  5. amypalko replied:

    It was a great discovery, Sprite! We’ll most certainly be back soon πŸ™‚

    Hey, Despil, glad to see you over here. Pleased you like what you found! Oh, and you should try and make it over to Scotland someday. It truly is a beautiful place, even though I am biased!

    You are most welcome, Karen, and I’m glad you enjoyed spending some time exploring my Flickr photostream. I was just looking through it myself, and I’m really quite proud of the collection which I’m amassing there.

    It’s not unknown to find me talking to myself on occasion, so we have yet another thing in common!
    Oh, and there will always be some corner of your neighbourhood still to explore. Even just a change of perspective can shake things up a bit πŸ™‚

  6. mrschili replied:

    Amy, would you add me, please, as a Flikr contact?

  7. amypalko replied:

    I’ve just done so, Mrschili πŸ™‚

  8. kacey replied:

    Wow, love the rope bridge pics. And what a cool idea for them to add kids hands and feet to the rocks. Well, not actually hands, of course πŸ˜‰ but casts of them. Really neat idea.

    Just last year my youngest son took me to a park near our house that I never knew about. And I’ve lived here 25 years! (how weird to say my son took ME to a park…)

  9. Daz Cox replied:

    what a lovely place! I love those metal casts.
    I remember the other day looking at the back of a little shabby house and spontaniously imagining what it might look like in the summer when leaves and bushes would create all these little happy hidden areas, I went to sketch the thought I had in my head and it turned into some futuristic sculpture park haha! *runs off to paint some more*

  10. opengroveclaudia replied:

    How beautiful! Gosh, what a delicious present in the middle of your day! Did you cross – eeekkk!!

    Hey – there’s an award waiting for you at! πŸ˜‰

  11. Nicholas replied:

    That rope bridge is amazing! Like something out of Indiana Jones. Did you cross it?

  12. Damien replied:

    Nice textures!

  13. What I Learned From the Law… of the Playground « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] I was at the playground earlier this week, I was reminded of that comment, and I was struck by the way the analogy […]

  14. amypalko replied:

    I know what you meant about the kids hands, Kacey πŸ˜‰ Hidden playparks are great, aren’t they?

    The metal casts really are inspired, aren’t they, Daz? Oh, and want to see that painting of the futuristic sculpture park! How cool would that be to stumble upon that hidden in your local neighbourhood πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the award, Claudia πŸ™‚
    And no I didn’t cross – I was too busy taking photos of it!

    It is just like something out of Indiana Jones, isn’t it, Nicholas! I can’t wait to go back and have a shot on it πŸ™‚

    Thanks, Damien! It was the textures and the patterns that drew me to the shots.

  15. hensteeth replied:

    I found a magical playground on a walk with my three year old. It’s an experience I will never, ever forget.

  16. How To Live A Life Less Ordinary « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] times.Β  I am always on the look out for the next photo opportunity.Β  Get up close, look up high, investigate the places you once thought of as familiar.Β  Oh, and make sure you report back on your […]

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