After leaving Loch Lomond and the Glasgow area, our next stop was Edinburgh. We spent the afternoon and evening familiarizing ourselves with the area and doing some touristy things like a Literary Pub Tour. Before retiring for the night, we decided that we would visit Holyrood Park and attempt to hike Arthur’s Seat the next morning.
We started our outing at the Holyrood Palace entrance, near the Royal Mile. The park itself consisted of four hills formed many years ago by volcanic activity. The highest one of these was Arthur’s Seat. Still down about my failure to summit Conic Hill, I was a bit uneasy about the many reviews that described this climb as hard, difficult and steep. But that didn’t stop me from struggling my way to the top. After all, at 800 feet it certainly was not as high as Conic Hill!
Our walk began on a wide dirt path of coarse dirt and stones. As the road curved around the hill we spotted the remains of some stone structure in the distance. Naturally, we took a detour to investigate it. A nearby sign informed us that this was the remains of St. Anthony’s chapel. Historians were not sure when it was built but they do know that it was repaired around 1426.
Returning to the main road, we continued on our journey towards Arthur’s Seat. At this point, we were walking on a path that was situated between our destination and Whinny Hill. As we climbed higher, we could see that there were trails going off in various directions all over the park.
Half way to our destination, we had not found anything that was seriously challenging. There was no scrambling or tough climbing spots but I was already stopping numerous times to catch my breath. Did I mention that I had a hard time during our hikes in the United Kingdom? Of course, I had to listen to my husband once again about how an inhaler might just get me over the edge and would make hiking easier, but I guess you could say I have been a bit stubborn on this point. Especially, since a doctor informed me that I was just “deconditioned” (sort of a discounting of my complaint). In any case, I did have to hear this sermon a few times during our trip. Despite all this, I continued on our upwards climb to the summit.
It wasn’t until the last bit that we really had a bit of a challenge. The gravelly make-up of the dirt and the decisions as to where to place your foot to step up to the next rock was a bit tough. After watching a man assist a blind man on the way down this slope, I was certainly not going to give up now. Finally, with a helping hand or two, I was able to stand at the spot marking the summit. Success, at last!
The city of Edinburg stretched out below us. Across from the summit, I observed visitors climbing one of the nearby Crow and Nether Hills. A fog drifted across these hills, giving an eerie appearance to the hikers on these summits. After a time, we made our way towards the top of one of these before heading back towards town.