Jacob’s Ladder is an ancient, public pathway - one of Edinburgh's many steep wynds - that scales the lower portion of Calton Hill from under the railway bridge on Calton Road (near the Calton Road exit of Waverley Station) to Regent Road (opposite the old Royal High School and the road entrance to the Calton Hill park).
Jacob's Ladder first appeared on a map in 1784, though it is thought to have existed as a route long before then. The precipitous climb has 140 steps.
The biblical reference to Jacob’s Old Testament dream at Bethel likely a reference to the fact that the pathway was used as a route for funeral processions from the Old Town to the old Calton Hill burying ground.
The pathway reopened in 2019 following a a £150,000 regeneration project, improved lighting, signage, and additional work by the New Waverley Community Fund, City of Edinburgh Council, and Edinburgh World Heritage.
Overgrown vegetation was cleared up and much of the stonework was repaired, including repointing, and replacing of broken sections of the stane wall and remolding areas of the wall close to a new, LED illuminated hand rail. Stonemason apprentices from St. Mary’s Cathedral Workshop were involved in repairing the walls.
Graffiti was also removed from the fragile stonework with environmentally-friendly chemicals.
In total 120 metres of LED handrail Lighting was added to the pathway, designed to eliminate any dark corners and hiding places. At night, it forms a white snake down the hill.