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Arthur's Seat, hiking up the extinct volcano in Edinburgh

By Tuesday, September 02, 2014 , ,

Arthur's seat is the name given to the extinct volcano looming over Edinburgh. At the base of it is Holyrood Palace, and between them and Edinburgh Castle is the Royal Mile.

The name likely comes from 'Archers' rather than 'Arthur's'; there is no actual connection to King Arthur. We first saw it from the air as we approached the city, and the view from the castle gives you a better reference for how big it is.

We had a stretch of really warm, dry weather while in Edinburgh, and even though that day was bordering on too hot (my husband got badly sunburnt from our climb!) we climbed to the top, fueled by our lunch of burritos.

In some places there are rocky stairs built into the hill side, but after years of use and exposure, many are cracked and worn. They were so broken and uneven, that in some places, people had trodden paths to either side of the stairs, opting to go around rather than use them.

After a few days of dry sunny weather, the dirty had turned red and dusty, making the rocks slippery in places.

We arrived from the west, but after seeing how heavily trafficked the western route was, we continued east around the hill, gradually ascending on paths through blackberry bushes alive with buzzing bees.

In the area there are two ruins, the small Chapel of St Anthony and the beautiful Holyrood Abby, next to the palace. We could see them both as we climbed.

Eventually the path became steeper and we started to climb faster. A flat area before the final climb had many people resting and enjoying the view.

The last part was the hardest. Although many paths had been worn in to the rock, we tried a few before finding one where we could get up without using our hands.

The top was crowded, but had amazing views.

On the way down we stopped by St Anthony's chapel. Very little is known about the chapel or it's connection with Holyrood Abbey below, but it was a popular place for hikers with small children to stop for a picnic lunch while their kids and dogs had a romp around the ruins.

We tried to see Holyrood Abbey, but it's a part of the palace tour and we weren't too interested in that (not to mention the cost! Palaces are expensive!). We tried to walk around it to see if we could get a good view of it from the surrounding park, but alas, we couldn't get close enough to see it.

With a few hours left in the day, we stopped by the Scottish Museum, before grabbing some food and visiting the very crowded, very loud Hanging Bat.

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  1. Fabulous photos!
    I've visited an extinct (?) volcano on Saint Lucia. Although it hasn't erupted in many years, it continues to belch sulfurous smoke. I can't quite imagine what it would like to see a live volcano in action!
    Please visit http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2014/09/bzzz-linky.html and share your post!

    1. Woah, that volcano doesn't sound like it's extinct! That sounds like it's just napping! What an amazing experience.

  2. I went to Edinburgh with my family a few years ago. I absolutely loved the city. Your pictures brought me back :-)