EDINBURGH -- Any stroll along the city's famed Royal Mile should continue into Holyrood Park and up Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano . The highest of Edinburgh's seven hills, the 820-foot Arthur's Seat offers a wondrous panorama of the rugged highland country at its summit.
The volcano erupted some 350 million years ago, leaving layers of volcanic ash and towering bluffs. The 640-acre park is adjacent to the palace of the same name and was once the 12th-century hunting grounds of King David I. Terraces and furrows on the land as well as the ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel are evidence of life here in medieval times.
Arthur's Seat can be approached from several directions with hikes lasting from 30 minutes to several hours. The popular approaches are found entering the park by Holyrood Palace and hiking trails that include steep, slippery-when-wet sections and carpet-like grassy slopes.
The reward at the top is one shared with others -- especially on weekends. Ancient Edinburgh Castle , New Town, and Old Town lie on the horizon, while the waters of the Firth of Forth are below. Rolling hills and placid lochs share the scene.
Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Park Road . The Historic Scotland Ranger Service , Holyrood Park Education Centre , 1 Queens Drive, Holyrood Park. 011-44- 131-652-8150, has a brochure with map to download at historic-scotland.gov.uk .