As has been mentioned, there are a lot of hills in Edinburgh. Like Rome, the city’s position among “seven hills” is no accident. It is easy to imagine 11th century nomadic warriors establishing a defensible stronghold here. Among those seven hills, I can’t neglect to mention the biggest of them all: Arthur’s Seat. Some historians claim this may have been the site of Camelot. Looming imposingly about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle, Arthur’s Seat rises 610 feet from city level, to an elevation of 823 feet. (creds: Google). Actually, that doesn’t sound like much, does it? I didn’t think so either.
So, after a busy day walking alpacas (see previous post), Oldest and I set off from our lodging for a quick jaunt to the top of Arthur’s Seat. It was on his bucket list for Edinburgh, and who was I to stop him? A round-ish 50 something mom who usually sits in an air conditioned office, that’s who.
We didn’t have a map, or consult any guidebooks prior to starting off. (what? I didn’t plan the detail of how to get up Arthur’s Seat? shocking, I know). We just started walking up from the direction of Holyrood Palace, not realizing there were a number of potential paths for our ascent. As it turned out, the path we chose was the shortest to the top. That’s great! Except it also meant that it was the steepest. Geometry 101.
Huff. Puff. Wipe off sweat, take in beautiful views, repeat. By the very top, there wasn’t much of a path at all, just giant boulders to be climbed. Not only am I 50 something, I have short legs, so this was quite a challenge. I was literally drenched with sweat and breathing like Darth Vader. Oldest was well ahead of me, checking back periodically to make sure I hadn’t croaked on the side of Camelot.
In all, the climb took me about 40 minutes of serious cardio. With a diet heavy on french fries and beer so far this week, the exercise was not unwelcome. And while there were moments when I thought I wouldn’t make it to the top, I am so glad I did. At the tippy top there is a small marker. The moment I touched it, catching my breath, was unforgettable. Not only had I met the physical challenge , but I was rewarded with incredible views over the city of Edinburgh.
There is some sort of lovely, deep metaphor in this experience. Oh I know:
It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves – Sir Edmund Hillary