Forrest Mallard - May 13, 2021

Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park
Edinburgh, Scotland
Start: Scottish Parliament on Queen’s Drive
End: Arthur’s Seat Summit
Distance: 2.75 miles (4.4km)
Time: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Surface: Pathways, Grassy Trails


At only 823 feet (250 m), Arthur’s Seat-the highest point in the grouping of tiny, extinct volcanic peaks that form the greater part of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park-may indeed be just a hill, but to the writer Robert Louis Stevenson it had a grandeur that many a higher peak may have lacked. Although its size made it a “hill for magnitude,” he wrote, it was nevertheless “a mountain in virtue of its bold design.”

Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park Scotland 01

One of the contenders for the site of mythical Camelot, and the spot where Edinburgh girls once bathed their faces to make themselves more beautiful in crystal springs that ran down its slopes, Arthur’s Seat sits at the center of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. There are two ways to the summit: one on a rocky diagonal path up its long escarpment of Salisbury Crags, the other on the main walking path to the back of the crags that bears right onto a grassy path, which takes you on an easier alternate route to the top of the crags. Already the panoramas are stupendous, with views down to Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament, and as far as Leith and the Firth of Forth.

Arthur's Seat and Holyrood Park 02

Following the escarpment, there are views to the Arthur’s Seat summit and a set of stairs that zigzags up its heavily inclined flank before curving around it like a contour and taking you on a final, rather rocky, ascent to the summit. There you can contemplate its many references in literature, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (l8l8) to Jules Verne’s The Underground City (18771. Coming down you pass over patches of grassy, lumpy ground and over gorse with great views toward St. Margaret’s Loch before emerging-not too worn out-back onto Queen’s Drive.


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Hi! I'm Forrest Mallard

In 2005, I moved to Quito, Ecuador with $35 in my pocket and a small handful of online clients. Fifteen years and five continents later, there were moments of absolute glamour, as well as a number of brutal rough patches. But I always felt that a horrible day of travel is infinitely more preferable than a great day at the office. Oh the stories I could tell, and I will try to do that here in Tramposaurus Treks. You'll have access to the good times, the horrifying times, and a few well-deserved moments of travel glamour.

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