Arthur’s Seat is the largest of the three parts of the Arthur’s Seat Volcano site of special scientific interest (the other parts being Calton Hill and the Castle Rock), which is designated to protect its important geology, grassland habitats and uncommon plant and animal species. Like the rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system, which was eroded by a glacier moving from west to east about two million years ago. It’s sometimes said that the name, Arthur’s Seat, comes from legends connected to King Arthur.
It wasn’t an easy climb, I must admit. I walked up there on 18th March, with two
girls I’d met in Sandy Bell’s pub the night before. Jennifer was from Dublin and Marie, her friend, was from the US and they were in Edinburgh for St. Patrick’s weekend. It was their first time in the city and they wanted to try hiking up Arthur’s Seat. I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea, with hangovers from Paddy’s Day but we said we’d try it anyway.
Arthur’s Seat, at 251 metres high, is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh which form most of Holyrood Park. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the east, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch. Of course we didn’t discover that until we started to make our way back down. Typical!
The path we walked up was manageable until we got to the last part at the top, which was quite muddy and rocky. It had been raining the day before and also that morning. I’m not the best of climbers and so it was a challenge for me to scramble over rocks to reach the peak. I made it though and the scenery at the summit was worth the walk. Jennifer and Marie enjoyed it too, even though it was steep.
I’ll be honest though and say that I prefer walking up Blackford Hill. It’s not as high
as Arthur’s Seat, at 164 metres tall, but it’s an easier hike, with a grassy surface to walk around at the top and I think the views are just as good from there. Each to their own though. If anyone is thinking about walking up to Arthur’s Seat, I would recommend good walking shoes and a weather proof jacket. If you want to take an easier path, try the route by Dunsapie Loch.