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Climbing Arthur’s Seat was something that popped up when I was researching free things to do in Edinburgh. Considering the amount of beer and delicious pub food we had been eating (and the amount of money we had been spending on said food and beverages) it seemed like an ideal afternoon activity. We had actually planned on hiking our last morning in Edinburgh but the afternoon before we were at Holyrood Palace and well, it was right there. This was probably a good decision since my propensity to sleep through all mornings is pretty legendary.
The only issue, of course, with this spur of the moment decision was that I was wearing a white dress and flats. Understandably, this is not ideal hiking apparel. But it was a do or die moment and I said to hell with it. We were hiking Arthur’s Seat!
Arthur’s Seat is not quite the leisurely hike I assumed it would be. I also, am probably the only person to naively assume that it would be a leisurely hike, it is after all an ancient volcano. Maybe I thought it would be easy and that I would have no problem because I used to hike Vesuvius a lot for work . And while I didn’t have any problems climbing over 800 feet in flats I certainly received a lot of strange looks from everyone else wearing hiking gear.
It took Alex and I about half an hour to ascend to the top, partly because we took one of the more difficult trails, but also because I was busy taking so many photos. The summit trail was our trail of choice and it definitely felt much more difficult than the others. As we walked down the opposite way we noticed people walking the Radical Road path which seemed easier but it also only takes you half way up and then there is a series of stairs to get to the top. Either way you choose will offer you unbelievable views of the city that was founded on top of ancient volcanoes. The main draw to hiking Arthur’s Seat is the views it grants you of not just Edinburgh but also of the port town of Leith. In typical Scottish fashion it was overcast as we started to ascend the ancient volcano but there was enough sunlight filtering through to offer us some amazing vistas.
Once we reached the top, all of Edinburgh was on display below us. We were certainly not the only ones who decided to hike up to the top that afternoon though. It seemed like every school child in Europe was up there but it didn’t detract from the view. This however, is when my brilliant plan to hike in flats ran into some issues. It is incredibly rocky up at the top and slippery. Take caution if you plan to sacrifice safety for fashion when walking around up there! I am not usually one to reach out for a helping hand but then again I have silly ankles that like to get twisted A LOT aka that one time I stepped off a curb in Brussels and twisted my ankle. Luckily with Alex’s help I made it around Arthur’s Seat with no issues.
We decided to head back down as the wind picked up and choose a different route to see a different side of the mountain and headed down across the top of Arthur’s Seat towards Edinburgh. We then encountered all the stairs! So glad we went up the other way and choose to come down this way. It was almost like being in a fairy tale though with the rustic stone steps, the green moss and rolling hills and the raven who just sat and stared at us as we made our way down. I felt a little like Sleeping Beauty before the whole eternal sleep thing and I think Alex was channeling his Lord of the Rings vibe or hovels… I am not sure what he was trying to accomplish with this dance…
We finally made it down with shaky legs and a desperate need for a beverage. The most important thing though was that I did not eat it and managed to walk away from that hike with a clean white dress! Can’t say the same for dinner later though….
Have you ever hiked Arthur’s Seat? Which way did you end up climbing up? And am I the only one foolish enough to hike this mountain in flats?
Also check out our youtube page for more ridiculous videos, like when Alex tried to fall like Willy Wonka….