Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

Holyrood Park is a royal park in Edinburgh. Regarded as a microcosm of Scottish scenery, the park features a landscape of hills, lochs, glens, ridges and basalt cliffs. At the north of the park is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. The highest peak of the park is Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano formed 350 millions years ago, which was our destination.

We arrived at Edinburgh from London at around 10am with barely an hour worth of sleep due to noisy passengers and interruption. There are a couple of routes to the top, including an easy approach from the east at Dunsapie Crag (10-20 mins walk apparently). Our route itself is the moderate (but made harder by carrying two backpacks with three days worth of luggage - should have used the left luggage facility at the coach station) which started from the north near the Holyrood Palace car park past both the St. Margaret's Well and St. Anthony's Well, as well as the ruined St. Anthony's Chapel taking in the view of the sea on the east and the man-made St. Margaret's Loch.

The climb here is relatively easy all the way to the top with steep gravelled tracks all the way to the top. Just make sure you have a trail shoes on as it can get slippery when wet (it was raining that day). Once at the top we were rewarded with a majestic view of the Salisbury Crags below, the Old Town, the Pentland Hills and the architecture disaster that is the new Scottish Parliament building. We gained 734ft. The summit is 820ft. We took another route down passing the Hunter's Bog, ignoring the Crags as we were short on time. We promise to do the full hard route next time we are here.

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