Edinburgh’s High Point

During my last week in Scotland, I finally made it up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano overlooking the city. It’s the highest peak in Edinburgh, and from there you can see for miles on a good day. Luckily, I had a good day.

Arthur’s Seat is located just behind Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh. The “mountain” and surrounding area make up Holyrood Park.

There are two paths up Arthur’s Seat. A direct, steep one, and a more windy but less extreme one. I took the latter.

Here’s the volcano from the courtyard of Holyrood:

And here’s some views from the hike:

That squareish building that’s closest to the camera on the right is Holyrood Palace. The water is the Firth Forth, and the other side is Fife, St Andrews, Dunfermline, etc.

Here you can see the castle clearly on the left, and the Ferris wheel from the Christmas market on the right.

And there’s the sun, a rare and precious sight in Edinburgh winters.

At the very top of Arthur’s Seat, there is a compass to let you know what way you are facing and what you’re seeing.

The nature of Arthur’s Seat is also pretty interesting. Like I mentioned, it’s an extinct volcano, approximately 350 million years old. It is due to erupt in some thousand years, but for now Edinburgh is safe.

The hill is mostly grassy with small bushes – it is far too windy for trees. But gorse bushes are plentiful with their year-round blooming flowers that make excellent tea I’ve been told.

There were also lots of birds, mostly crows, and loads of rocks.

Arthur’s Seat helped formed the understanding of geology we have today, as Scotsman James Hutton observed changes between sedimentary and igneous rocks found on Arthur’s Seat to form the theory of geologic time as we know it. Also the Salisbury Crags, part of Arthur’s Seat, are good for rock climbing, they say.

I waited over a year to climb up this hill, and here was my favorite part:

The ruins of this chapel, St Anthony’s. I freaking love ruins, and have no verbal expression as to why. They are just cool. This chapel was built sometime before the early 15th century, but the history is vague and it’s not really known when it was built, why, and how it was used. What I’ve pictured is all that’s left of it. I find it terribly Romantic.

I wish I had climbed this hill hundreds of times during my sixteen months in Scotland. It’s the perfect easy hike to set your mind free for a while and reset. Now I’ll have to climb it in my memory to allow it to inspire me.


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