A humbling journey on Hearts’ heritage trail

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On Sunday I went on a Hearts Heritage Trail a new venture which is being run by the club, and most excellent it was too.

It set of from Tynecastle (naturally) but I met up with the tour at its first port of call, the Heart of Midlothian cobbles on the High Street - where else?

From the would get on and off the actual Hearts team bus at various destinations around Edinburgh. There were bits of the tour I knew about but I also learned a whole lot more.

For example, I didn’t know that the club’s actual formation took place at a meeting in a wash house in Dumbiedykes, deep behind enemy lines in what would become Hibby country.

I knew that we played at the Meadows, I didn’t know that the team got changed in a pub about 10 minutes away and would troop along via the little passageway, Boroughloch which I walked through dozens of times when I lived at Marchmont.

And then there was McCrae’s Battalion where 16 members of the Hearts team of the time, and seven from Raith Rovers, signed up for to fight in World War One.

Again, I thought I knew all about this. Wrong.

I had in my mind that George McCrae was a General Melchett type, barking orders whilst drinking gin 30 miles away, when in fact he insisted on receiving special dispensation that allowed him to lead his men on the frontline.

I also knew that the vast majority died, but had no idea that one of the surviving Hearts players was buried alive by an exploding bomb and took days to dig himself out.

Another, Paddy Crossan, was told he was going to have to have his foot amputated but was saved by a German doctor who was a POW. He returned to playing after the war.

All quite incredible and definitely humbling.