Four days after I went to the top of the Empire State Building for a view of New York City, I have completed Edinburgh’s equivalent: climbing to the top of Arthur’s Seat.
Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano looming over Edinburgh – one of my favourite cities in the UK. Its steepest part is at 820ft, and there’s a number of ways to get there. When I got back to the friends I’m staying with, they told me I’d picked the harder route.
I do a lot of walking in New York but not much climbing, so I feared I’d struggle – but aside from a few steep bursts and subsequent hyperventilating, I didn’t feel the strain too much. The biggest challenge was navigating the snow and slippery paths. I took an impressive fall at one point (my ‘ahhhh!’ turned heads as it echoed along the mountainside) but luckily it wasn’t at one of the many spots where the pathway is precariously close to a massive drop.
After about an hour of being convinced the top was just around the corner, I scrambled up one final knoll and finally made it – and got an amazing view of the gorgeous city below. I could see the city centre with its landmarks including the Scottish parliament and Holyrood House (the Queen’s Scottish residence) at the foot of the hill, and the Scott Monument (that tower right in the middle).
Just as I was debating how to get a picture of myself up there, a dashing Italian man poked his head from behind the rock – like a
Jane Austen Mills & Boon novel.
As he looked on, I discovered there is no way of escaping the top of a dormant volcano swiftly. It was a real Bridget Jones moment – bum in air as I needlessly crawled on my hands and knees to escape the rocks at the top. I no doubt left a lasting memory.
I ended up taking a much more sedate route back – a gentle decline and then a flat walk around the base of the mountain to get back to my starting point.
But even if I’d known of this way before I took off, I think I’d have stuck with the original path – the challenge was fun and it gave me a great view of Edinburgh the whole way up. And I just can’t get enough of this city.