A Wee Taste of the Highlands in Edinburgh

When I was planning my first trip to Edinburgh, a friend told me that there was a ‘small outcropping’ of rocks that I should climb up to get nice views of the city. Apparently, the English boy and the Great Lakes girls have different definitions of ‘small’ when it comes to things that are for climbing.

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Other than telling personal stories, there’s not much to say about Arthur’s Seat. It’s an extinct volcano that’s roughly 820 feet tall, the climb up is almost vertical, and legend has it that King Arthur himself climbed up the mountain to watch a battle that was taking place in the hills a little ways from Edinburgh. It’s a very popular place in Edinburgh – many people go climb up Arthur’s Seat every weekend, or they climb up there at night to see the city lights come on or watch the fireworks going off at the castle. That being said, it’s also the city’s favorite danger point: two people have died this year alone by falling down the sheer rock face.

That being said, for most of us, the biggest danger is turning an ankle, so long as you stay on the marked paths. And on any given day, there will be plenty of people around to help. I’ve had the opportunity to climb up on both a cloudy, drizzly day and the one day of summer that Edinburgh had this year, and on both days, there were many people around for the whole climb up.

 

This time, my dad and I decided to make the climb together. Nothing like a little father-daughter bonding on a sunny day in Scotland! My father trusted my mountaineer guiding skills, which was probably a mistake. We opted to take the difficult way up and the easy way down (there are at least three different paths that will take you up to the peak, and I found an easier path on my way back down the first time).

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That means, on the way up, we took the stairs. Which, as I said, are just shy of vertical.

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On the way down, we took the scenic path, over nice rolling hills with minimal interference by poorly located rocks.

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I must say, the views this time were much better than they were last time. If you have the opportunity to climb Arthur’s Seat on a sunny day, do so. When it’s clear, from the top you can see all the way to the English border, which is marked by hills, and all the way into Fife in the other direction.

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And if you take the stairs up, the other path on the way down is practically a cakewalk! (Just do continue to mind where you put your feet.)

 

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