Photograph of Arthur's Seat courtesy of theleastweasel
Not many capitals cities have a mountain right in the middle of the city. Rising above Edinburgh, Scotland is Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano with two distinct trails leading to the top and others meandering across the Salisbury Crags. I picked up the trail from Holyrood Park and began the climb immediately.
Though you’re quite likely to see tourists in heels and leather-soled loafers dragging suitcases up the trail, I’d personally recommend a good pair of hiking shoes or trail runners. I took the slightly more rugged route recommended by WalkHighlands.co.uk. The muddy track lead steeply up to the top of the Crags and offered the first, of many, incredible views of Edinburgh Castle, the Firth of Forth, and the city below.
The trail makes a steep, slippery climb up a rocky slope to the top of Arthur’s Seat, where on any given day you’re likely to see wind-battered figures bracing themselves against the elements. There’s a brief scramble to the trig point, which offers the best views in the area, though it’s only 823 ft. above sea level.
The remains of an Iron Age hillfort can be found on the east side of Arthur’s Seat and some believe it is one of the possible locations for Camelot. As you climb down the hill, back to Holyrood Park, the trail passes the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel from the 1100s.
Edinburgh is itself an incredible city for walkers. I borrowed a copy of Walks in Edinburgh’s Old Town by Michael and Elspeth Wills and wandered through the narrow medieval streets, covered closes, and free museums. Though Edinburgh’s buses are quite easy to navigate, the Old and New Towns are a pleasure to explore on foot.