Bob Law: The Beauty of Holyrood Park in Edinburgh
Many people, visitors from abroad and non Edinburgh Scottish residents alike, are immediately attracted by the looming presence of the ancient volcano of Arthur’s Seat- visible from Princes Street and many other parts of Edinburgh. Bewitched by its rugged yet easily accessible slopes they make a beeline for the summit peak…, stand on top of it for the spectacular views… then wander back down the same way… satisfied that they have achieved their objective which you can reach within a 30 minute walk by the shortest route. Many never think about climbing Arthur’s Seat again.
I did this on my first few trips to Edinburgh but later I discovered the full majesty of Holyrood Park itself, its many quieter nooks and crannies that few visiting tourists bother with in their compulsive drive for the summit. It is a beautiful park in its entirety and if you have the time – three or four hours or longer- you can make a cracking hill-walking day of it.
St Margaret’s Loch, St Anthony’s ruined Chapel and the gorse covered slopes of Whinny Hill took my breath away the first time I ascended from this direction, especially in May, with the path weaving through a carpet of dazzling yellow flowers and the heady scent of spiced coconut in the warm air.
From Princes Street, or the main bus or railway station nearby, the energetic visitor can climb Calton Hill first then descend via the long staircase of Jacob’s Ladder into the old graveyard visible below.
From here past the Palace of Holyroodhouse or alternatively a more circuitous route via Dumbiedykes Road, St Leonard’s, and a tunnel you can access the park….and Arthur’s Seat. Duddingston Loch and village is also worth a visit, as is the walk along the top of the vertical cliffs of Salisbury Crags.
On other visits even the outlying Meadowfield Park, Dunsapie Hill, Nether Hill, and Lochend Park give different views and offer attractive delights, unseen and unknown by most casual tourists.
Bob Law, May, 2022
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