A Memorable Moment and Spectacular View

A Memorable Moment, Arthur’s Seat Sunrise, Feb 4

Arthur’s Seat, an approximately 300-meters-tall  hill in Holyrood Park, is a very popular place to be early on Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s because I spend most of my time around university students who cannot conceive waking before noon on the weekend, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the Seat dotted with expectant spectators early Saturday morning. Though it is definitely more crowded at other parts of the day (especially when it’s sunny out!), to see so many people bundled up in scarfs and hats, some carrying thermoses of hot coffee, sitting atop Arthur’s Seat awaiting that sunrise is an encouraging and beautiful sight. There are plenty of places to sit and stand, even at the summit, where a small gray stone stands as a marker of the peak (and also makes one think of King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone, for some reason). I’ve encountered here everything from photoshoots and the Arthur’s Seat equivalent of a block party to quiet contemplative onlookers and curious joggers with their dogs.

From Arthur’s Seat, you can get a fabulous view of the city of Edinburgh, including key features like Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and even residential areas like Leith. Toward the east, overlooking the Pentlands, the sun rises in vivid colors unobstructed by clouds, which are almost guaranteed to arrive later in the day. The wind on Arthur’s Seat can be quite brisk and strong, which can make scaling up the side of the hill a more interesting hike. The first time I went up Arthur’s Seat alone, I was trying to make it to the top before sunrise happened, and I ended up climbing up the side via a crevice that was definitely not a path. At least, not an established, well-used-by-other-people path…

Edinburgh is unique for its topographical features like this. Its hilliness makes it a multidimensional city, one that can be experienced from different vantage points, so that even a mere 300 meters affords the viewer an effective panorama of the entire city. The early morning sky as a backdrop certainly makes it worth the climb.

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