Monday, February 9, 2015

Edinburgh, pt. ii (Arthur's Seat)

The best view of Edinburgh, I think, is found at the top of Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano and the highest peak in Holyrood Park. There are quite a few ways to reach the peak; a few of the steepest were roped off with foreboding signs the day that we went, due to dangerous winds.

We walked along the Royal Mile and arrived at the base of Arthur's Seat around noonish on Monday; the path we took was a bit of a roundabout through the park, taking us up a few other hills and ruins before finally reaching the summit. There weren't too many people on the slope with us: just a few other tourists, a couple of dog-walkers, and a few sprightly runners (potentially from a local college track team?) that made the climb seem like a leisurely (albeit vertical) stroll.

The rush of cars and the noise of the city faded behind us as we got further up, and soon, we were surrounded with moor grasses, dandelion wisps, and the dry whistling of the winds shifting along the hillsides.

At this point, the wind was strong enough to bully us forward as we were clambering our way through the rocks, coaxing strands of hair out of my braid and plucking bits of fluff from my scarf.

The entire hike to the peak was stunning, but the view from the very top was immense and breathtaking and incredibly beautiful. You could see the water, and the Royal Mile, and cars that looked like ants and moved like snails-- you could even see Edinburgh Castle, about the size of a thimble in the distance.

It was like stepping into a watercolour painting of a Scotland painted in every shade of green and blue and gold that you could describe, and a few more besides. The wind swept us up in a cocoon and it felt a little like flying, to look down at the patchwork of Edinburgh in front of us; but also like we were about to be tossed unceremoniously off the peak, into the dappled sunlight and crumbling stones at the base of the volcano.

Making our way back down the peak was a bit less strenuous and a bit more adventurous (I tumbled down a large part of the hillside in a tangle of grass and limbs and galumphing galloping), but we reached the bottom, rosy-cheeked, content, a little muddier and quite ready for teatime.

Absolutelydefinitelypositively worth the adventure if you're ever in Edinburgh.

all my love,

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