Thursday, June 5, 2014

Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh, Scotland

Well, when I was in Edinburgh on May 23rd, you know that I would have to hike up to Arthur's Seat, a volcanic plug with spectacular views.  So after touring Edinburgh Castle and having afternoon high tea, and with decent weather for good views from the top, my brother-in-law Tom and I headed down the Royal Mile to gain the trailhead.  If it had been raining, I probably would not have done this, because the reward from the top of the 830 foot peak are great views.  But still, how often do you get the chance to hike up a point sharing your name?

Using the DeLorme InReach SE that my friend Chip loaned me for this trip, I was able to map my approximate track (in light blue).  See the arrow to the left?  It points to Edinburgh Castle, which is amazing.  From there, Tom and I marched a nice straight line, in light blue, down the "Royal Mile" before reaching the jump-off point to the trails up Arthur's Seat.  The arrow on the right points to Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland.  It is often open for tours, but not on that day.  Apparently, some royalty or other was in residence that day, as the gates were shut and security was very tight.  Our route up Arthur's Seat was more or less in a clockwise direction from there.

Silly me - at the start of our hike, I thought that this was the top.  There was a line of people heading up that trail, so we picked the "road less traveled," the trail to the left.  No matter which way we went, there were lots of people.  This is a place for great views but not for solitude!

After walking for a while up the path, we found that this is the top.  It took about 40 minutes of steady uphill walking to reach the top, including a brief stop at a ruined chapel.

This is all that is left of the Saint Anthony's Chapel.  In 1426, the Pope gave money for the repair of this chapel.  Looks like it might be time again for some repairs, eh?

Near the ruins of the chapel, Arthur's Seat still looms hundreds of feet above us.  The yellow flowering shrub is gorse, I believe.

I think this bird is a hooded crow.  We do not have them in the "States."

Here is a panoramic view looking back towards the lower hills and the bay.  We are starting to get the first of some great views.

We hiked up some more, and at this point, we are getting closer to the top.

Up, up, up....

Before we know it, after a final push over rocks and steep trails, we were at the somewhat crowded top.  Great views of Edinburgh presented themselves as a reward for the hike up.

This is a panorama from the top.  Fabulous views!

Art(hur) at the top of Arthur's Seat on a very windy day!

We mostly did a different route down.  Here is a nice view of Holyrood Palace on the way down.

For being in a big city, this area had a lot of ruggedness to it.

Here, we look back towards the summit of Arthur's Seat from a kind of saddle ....

... with a panoramic view taken shortly after that.

As we got lower and lower, we eventually joined the trail we had come up on.  Looking back up that trail, you can see a distance view of the ruins for Saint Anthony's Chapel.

 I enjoyed my hike up to Arthur's Seat, a little bit of wildness in cosmopolitan and modern Edinburgh.


  1. Fantastic walk!!
    Amazing that even that much of the chapel is left after almost 600 years.

  2. It was a wonderful walk! What a great thing to have so near a big city! the ruins of the chapel was pretty cool.