Discovering Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat

I heard Edinburgh was a beautiful city, steeped in Scottish history. So I was curious to check the place out when I was offered a weekend away there.

Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle, courtesy of wikimedia.
Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle, courtesy of wikimedia.

Granted, the purpose of the weekend was to go to Murrayfield to watch Munster Rugby take on Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup first round. Munster however lost in a closely contested match. Fortunately I was soon to find out that Edinburgh has a lot more to offer than just rugby.

Munster lost 29-23 to Edinburgh, despite our support. Courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk
Munster lost 29-23 to Edinburgh, despite our support. Courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk

We stayed in the old part of town, on a plaza known as Grassmarket. This medieval area is part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also surrounded by good restaurants and ye olde taverns, meaning that drinks and meals were always less than a minute’s walk away.

Grassmarket, where we stayed for the weekend. Courtesy of http://www.edinburgh-360.co.uk/photos/grassmarket
Grassmarket, where we stayed for the weekend. Courtesy of http://www.edinburgh-360.co.uk/photos/grassmarket

But the best bit for me was discovering Arthur’s Seat, less than a mile from where we stayed. It’s a 250 metre hill in the middle of Edinburgh, derived from an extinct volcano. This rocky, grassland area has been turned into a park, perfect for runners, walkers and bikers to get away.

Trail Running Possibilities on Arthur's Seat. Courtesy of http://www.dirtproof.co.uk/2011/01/arthurs-seat.html
Trail Running Possibilities on Arthur’s Seat. Courtesy of http://www.dirtproof.co.uk/2011/01/arthurs-seat.html

There are cool little trails all over the hilltop, giving you a taste of trail running in the very heart of this sizeable Scottish city. I on the other hand stuck to the road that circumnavigated the peak. The road passes cool little ponds full of birds. And gives great views over the city and out to the North Sea. A jog around the park takes about 30 minutes, just the perfect length for a weekend-break-away run.

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