Hiking Arthur's Seat was an unexpected highlight of our time in Scotland. We had spent the day venturing through Edinburgh Castle & the city itself and made a last minute decision to climb the famed hill; we were not disappointed.
Just a little info on the area itself: Arthur's Seat is a hill located in Edinburgh's city center at the end of the Royal Mile near Holyrood Palace. Framing the Old Town, Arthur's Seat is located in the heart of Holyrood Park, an intriguing park full of lochs, ruins, hills, and wildlife. It is part of the Arthur's Seat Volcano, an extinct volcano that created the area many, many years ago.
Since this was a last minute decision, we didn't take the most ideal route to the summit of the hill - we just took the first path we saw. This was fine, but we could have completed the hike quickly and more easily if we hadn't taken such a roundabout path. However, because of this we got to see a lot of different angles of Edinburgh and Arthur's Seat itself. Definitely worth the time and effort!
As I said, weren't as prepared as we should have been. We hadn't been expecting to hike the hill; we actually planned to take a free walking tour of the city but spent too much time at the Castle and missed its start time. Our second option: hike Arthur's Seat. I was wearing rain boots which weren't ideal and I was sweating in my denim shirt. So... if you're planning to hike Arthur's Seat, learn from my mistake and plan appropriately. :)
Although we hadn't planned on hiking to the summit, it was definitely worth the workout. We got to see so many areas of the city, as well as breathtaking views of the water and hills beyond Edinburgh. I was in complete awe when we reached the top, enjoying a bird's eye view of the architecture and winding streets of what was quickly becoming one of my favorite cities.
The summit is a rocky crag with amazing views. There are two concrete structures that denote the highest points, inscribed with their names. These areas - one of which can be seen in the sixth photo down from here - are a popular photo op. As you can see from my uneasy expression in the previously pointed out photo, it was a little scary. The wind was blowing, the rocks were slippery from so much interaction with human feet, and it was higher than the flatter ground three feet below. I was pretty sure I was going to fall off, but I didn't and it was such a cool experience.
I will say that taking our GoPro Hero Session on this hike was one of our better ideas. We got great shots with it and it captured the beauty of the city perfectly. We were questioning our need for a GoPro until we did this hike. It really resolved our doubts about purchasing one. We ended up using it a ton during our trip and got some great photos. I highly recommend it, especially if you'll be traveling somewhere with unpredictable weather (it's weather proof!) like Scotland.
If I were to recommend my top three things to do in Edinburgh, climbing Arthur's Seat would definitely make the list. I couldn't imagine visiting Edinburgh and not doing the hike. So for all of you future Scotland-goers, go to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, visit the Edinburgh Castle, and hike Arthur's Seat.
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