As I’ve mentioned before, but in case you don’t remember Sarah and I took one of our earliest trips together to Edinburgh Scotland. Both being outdoor types who enjoy hiking, the ascent up Arthur’s Seat intrigued us. We spent our first three days wandering around the stone streets of the Royal Mile, picking over the richly diverse storefronts, sampling all of the local fares we could, and washing it all down with some well-aged Scotch; so our journey up to the King’s Summit had to be done the morning we were leaving. We took the challenge and set off shortly after sunrise.
It was a brisk morning, with subtle fog lingering in the city. Edinburgh wears an old, yet not decrepit, face on its buildings. The fog created an eerie ambiance as we hurried down off the Royal Mile towards the base of the hill. We passed several people going to work, but we came across several more who were making or had made the journey we were. One gentleman had run to the top of Arthur’s Seat and back down and was going for another round as we started our first steps up the incline. The King and more awaited us at the top.
Sarah and I set a good pace as the paved trail turned to dirt. The fog dissipated as the sun climbed higher in the sky. Patches of brown grass littered the ground. Little birds chirped at us from their hidden lookouts. A small pair of rabbits darted from under a bush at our coming. Sporadic rocks jutted out of the hillside as our ascent grew steeper.The sun made its full appearance as we crested the top of Arthur’s Seat. A large black raven stood watch over the King’s Chair. He, like the rabbits, didn’t want to visit with us and made a quick departure. Sarah and I were alone at the summit of Arthur’s Seat, with the surrounding lands stretching out in every direction as far as our eyes could see. I understood then why the Once and Future King would want to watch his kingdom from this vantage point: he could see almost everything. Magic filled the air where the king once sat. We marveled at the what the Scottish countryside looked like so close to its capital city. Urban and rural beauty cohabiting in harmony. After snapping a few pictures, we decided to make our descent and try to keep on schedule for our 2 pm flight.
It wasn’t a difficult hike (I would grade it as upper-beginner), but it did take us about an hour and a half to make it to the top and another hour or so before our feet found the Royal Mile again. Because the trip down was shorter, we
decided to grab one last Scottish breakfast; Sarah and I had become enamored with haggis. We took a window seat and enjoyed our view of the city of Edinburgh. The magical air of Arthur’s Seat had captivated our imaginations. We looked at the architecture of the buildings, castles to us Americans, and dreamed of a large purple dragon swooping down to land on its tallest tower. We named her Kitty.