Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Arthur's Seat, Holyrood Park, Calton Hill, More Edinburgh Day 4 #VisitScotland #goaheadtours #Edinburgh


Slept in on Sunday March 22. Some of our group was going to St. Andrew's for an optional trip. We wanted more time in Edinburgh.

We quickly visited Old Calton Cemetery for a photo of Abe Lincoln.

But our main destination of the day was Arthur's Seat, a dormant volcano. Which trail to take, oh my the choices were many and the map at the bottom of the hill in the parking lot wasn't very helpful. We picked the right side trail and it was not the best. Very steep and winding. We made it to Hutton's Section then headed back down the hill. A good resource for the history of this area is this booklet.

We saw a heron catching frogs.

I spotted some ruins on the hillside and we had to stop. It was the remains of St. Anthony's Chapel.
After this hike, we were getting hungry. A lot of places along the Royal Mile didn't appear to be open yet. I'm guessing most places were opening at 1:30 on Sunday afternoon. We found a pub open, but not serving lunch until 1:30-that's ok we'll have a beer. The Tolbooth Tavern had a great pub atmosphere, including a few locals at the bar who were fun to listen to and a varied menu. I tried the Haggis Tower with whisky sauce and it was GREAT!!

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Traditional Scottish favorite. Local Haggis served with potatoes and turnip.

Jay had the fried haddock and chips with Flying Scotsman Beer. Very Nice meal to fuel us for the rest of the day.

Next up we visited Calton Hill. We could see the hill from our hotel room and were curious as to what all was up there.
From their website: Calton Hill is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre. It is unmistakable with its Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline.

The acropolis is in fact an unfinished monument - originally called the "National Monument". Initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, it was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, as a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars.

Building began in 1822, but funds ran dry and celebrated Edinburgh architect William Playfair only saw a facade of his building completed. It was dubbed "Edinburgh's shame", but it's now a popular landmark and it's a lot of fun crawling up and down its giant steps. Plans since to complete the building never really get much support.

The top of Calton hill is a usually quiet place to come on any day, with its grassy slopes and panoramic views of the city, including down the length of Princes street (the main shopping thoroughfare) and Edinburgh Castle. There is a good view North of the ruddy-coloured cliffs of Salisbury Crags, Arthur's Seat, and the undulating slopes of Holyrood Park.

Calton Hill is easily accessed. It takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from a staircase at Regent Road on the South side, Royal Terrace on the North side, or you can drive up and park. There is a path right round the edge of the hill and a jumble of historic buildings and structures on top including, for star gazers, an observatory. In fact, there are two observatories on Calton Hill: the Old Observatory House, designed by New Town architect James Craig in 1792; and the City Observatory, built in 1818, which has exhibitions and viewings of the night sky.

Also of interest is Nelson's Monument (the British admiral who led his fleet to victory at Trafalgar in 1805), which has a famous timeball mechanism by which ships used to set their chronometres.


Calton Hill is still very much revered as a common ground to many Edinburghers. Attempts, in recent years, to create a theme park and railway up the hill have met with a chorus of protest.

With its volcanic rockbase, gorse-strewn hillface and windswept ruggedness, it remains a rough gem.

In August, Calton Hill is a hub for Edinburgh festival shows, it offers excellent views of fireworks displays from the castle during Hogmanay and the grand finale of the Edinburgh Festival, the Festival Fireworks. On the last day of April, Calton Hill is the scene of the Beltane Fire Festival.

We had dinner at The Conan Doyle, across the street from out hotel.
I had the Ocean Pie with a lovely local, Lowland single malt-Glenkenchie and Jay had the Venison Pie with Guinness. I also tried the Scottish dessert-Cranachan-it was delicious!


Off to early bed for 7:30 a.m. luggage outside the door, on the coach for 8:30 a.m. for our trip to Inverness.

Edinburgh and the Castles of Scotland
Day 4 March 22 Royal Mile, Arthur's Seat, Calton Hill
March 19-30, 2015
Copyright ©2015 Nancy Nutile-McMenemy