Hillwalking up a volcano

The next day was perfect for hiking up Arthur’s Seat. The sun was shining and it wasn’t windy. The guide books have described Arthur’s Seat as an easy hike, which encouraged me to give it a go up the extinct volcano. When we were at Holyrood Palace, we had noticed people hiking along the top of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. It looked like fun, and I imagined the views would be amazing.

Arthur's Seat

As @Thorperoo and I approached Arthur’s Seat, my nerves began to waken. The grass covered former volcano looked a bit more vertical than I had expected. I shook off my doubt when I noticed a family with children who were excited and dashed ahead of their parents. Okay, if little children can do this, so can i…right?

Arthur’s Seat looked like a rock covered with thick moss. It was somewhat surreal to see the grass covered extinct volcano in front of us. It looked intimidating from a distance but as we got closer, I realized that the task of hiking up Arthur’s seat would be more daunting than intimidating. I was not anticipating walking on narrow and uneven paths along the edge of the extinct volcano.

On our way up

There was a narrow and uneven stone path that provided a trail for hillwalkers. The narrow path changed from dirt to stone and gravel and would at times run along the edge of the extinct volcano. Though the initial hike was not difficult, I was getting warm as we progressed higher and higher.


bottom: Arthur’s Seat from Queens Drive; middle: looking at Edinburgh from a trail to top of Arthur’s Seat; top:Salisbury Crags

Somewhere along the 2/3’s mark, the hike became a bit precarious, and required me to use more than just my feet to continue. Luckily, @Thorperoo was with me, and extended his hand to help me up. Quite honestly, I don’t think I would have made it to the top without his help. We eventually reached a plateau before we continue to the top.

Reaching the summit required a bit more climbing but it wasn’t as precarious. We eventually made it to the top, and I was relieved! The views from Arthur’s Seat were amazing on such a clear and bright day. We could see as far away as the other side of The Firth of Forth. It was exhilarating to be on top!


Heading down from Arthur’s Seat We took a different route, which was gradual and relatively easy. The ground and grass was plush and soft, making the walk a bit bouncy.

I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when we reached the base of Arthur’s Seat. I conquered a volcano, albeit an extinct one, and reached 250.5 meters in height. And I think I took some decent photos. I was happy.

Dunsapie Loch


2 responses to “Hillwalking up a volcano

  1. We were ill prepared for our “light stroll” up Arthur’s Seat, but it was still tremendous fun. I think, purely by accident, we took whatever the most difficult and precarious option was for every step of the way. And like you, we took an alternate route down that plunged through hillsides covered in heather and the occasional crumbling old stone monument. That whole park was, I think, absolutely fantastic. One completely forgets that one is in the middle of a big city.

  2. It sounds like you had a more detailed hillwalking of Arthur’s Seat. We did not get a chance to really explore Holyrood Park or other parts Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. We did see the remains of the church but from Queens Drive. And I’m really glad I did not go alone otherwise, I might still be up there…

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