Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh - Facts, Nature Walks & Hikes
Written by Alexandra Stewart Friday, 10 May 2019 09:14
Slowly but surely, we are beginning to see a positive change in the weather in Edinburgh; from murky, dreich conditions to lighter and warmer forecasts. Now is the time to start thinking about outdoors activities and getting out and about for walks and hikes in nature with family and friends. One excellent choice, which sits waiting for you, in the heart of Edinburgh is the world famous Arthur's Seat. You have no excuses about this trip being 'difficult to get to' or 'too far away' if you are staying in the city, so get off the couch and get exploring!
How do I get to Arthur's Seat?
Arthur's Seat is a grand volcano situated right in the centre of Scotland's capital city (don't worry it is dormant!). You will find this landmark within Holyrood Park; which is a nature reserve made up from a collection of hills, lochs and beautiful scenery. Mind your manners while wandering, as you are in the Queen's Scottish garden, sometimes also known as "Queen's Park". Although there are various different hills, Arthur's Seat is very distinctive as it is the highest point in this Edinburgh park.
Why do they call it Arthurs Seat?
Sadly it is very difficult to confirm the answer to this. The 2 most popular theories are that it was the site of Camelot for King Arthur and his knights or (the more likely reason) that it comes from the Gallic, Àrd-na-Said which means height of arrows.
While taking a walk up, you will be treated to some breathtaking views of Edinburgh and across to the Firth of Forth. There are many routes you can take, with different levels of difficulty. For those up for a challenge, try taking a more vertical route up a grassy slope by Dunsapie Loch, to the east of the park; although this is a shorter journey it will feel a lot longer.
How long does it take to walk up Arthur's Seat?
To walk to the summit of Arthur's Seat normally takes between 30 minutes and 60 minutes depending on where you start from.
You will come across the Salisbury Crags in your exploration of Holyrood Park; a distinctive looking cliff face which rises over 150 feet, so be careful not to get too close to the edge. And for the history enthusiasts, visit St. Anthony's Chapel. This haunting ruin stands alone, looking out over Leith and the Firth of Forth. It sits by St. Margaret's Loch: a man-made loch, created to improve the aesthetics around Holyrood Palace. Although there is not much left of the chapel, it is definitely an interesting site to see and will not disappoint with it's panoramic views of Edinburgh.
Another recommended spot to visit on any walk or hike near Arthur's Seat is Duddingston Loch, which is part of a nature reserve and will have plenty of wildlife to spot. You will come across ducks, geese, swans and wild rabbits. Also, don't forget to try and hunt out the illusive wild haggis known for running around the hills; a handy tip for trying to catch one - they can only run around the hill in one direction as they have one leg shorter than the other!
After you have done the active bit, take a gentle stroll back down and reward yourself with a trip to 'Scotland's Oldest Pub' in Duddingston. The Sheep Heid Inn is a typical village pub that is well used to welcoming the wearied traveller who attempted to climb the summit.
Image courtesy of Calum Summers