For months I have been pressing my wife to climb the volcanic rock of Arthur’s Seat with me in the heart of Edinburgh without success. However as she and my daughter were taking part in a 10k fun run for charity I seized the opportunity to explore the hill myself. The race they took part in was the Roadblock Run for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland and is worth checking out. This year’s event took place on Sunday 22nd September 2013
Formed from the remains of a volcano which erupted 400 million years and then eroded by a glacier moving from the west to the east only 2 million years ago the hill can be found at the eastern end of the Royal Mile by the Palace of Holyrood House.
There are some claims made that the name Arthur’s Seat refers to the legendary King Arthur of Camelot fame while others claim it is a corruption of the Gaelic Àrd-na-Said which means Height of the Archers. Whatever the truth is, it is a fantastic place to explore and delivers a taste of the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands only a ten minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the tourist mecca of the Royal Mile in the very heart of the city.
If you are feeling energetic you can walk up good paths which lead you to the very top of the hill which reaches a height of 822 feet above the city laid out below and which offers spectacular views in every direction.
However for those who want to enjoy the tranquility without the sweat and strain there is happily the easier option of simply walking around the base of the hill passing some fantastic views at low level such as St Margaret’s Loch, Duddingston Loch and Dunsapie Loch which all lie beside the road and offers wonderful spots to relax with a picnic and feed the ducks and swans.
So the next time you find yourself in Edinburgh and want to escape the crowds turn your feet downhill towards the Palace of Holyrood House and discover an oasis of peace only a few minutes away. I promise you will be richly rewarded for doing so.
And while I was strolling around the hill enjoying the views my good lady wife and daughter completed their 10 kilometres and raised several hundred pounds for charity. I was proud to cheer them over the finishing line and hand over the cold drinks. They were well earned.