Posted by: Ross Gardner | June 11, 2017

Take a seat

Arthur's Seat

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. Ross Gardner 2017.

The presence of Arthur’s Seat (alongside the rocky face of the Salisbury Crags) in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park has long intrigued me.  It may rise only to 251metres above sea-level, but other than this modest altitude it assumes a shape and presence every bit as mountainous as many more lofty summits further north.  That such a wild and rugged place should be located in the middle of a capital city is wonderfully incongruous, all the more so when one considers that it is actually the remnants of a long-extinct volcano.  Rock samples haver been dated back to more than 300 million years ago.

What remains is somewhere in the city inhabited by kestrel and crag-nesting jackdaw, even haunted by the occasional buzzard.  With gorse scrub home to stonechat and summer-visiting whitethroat and where weasel maraud the small mammal residents.  That gorse, by the way, was a spectacle in itself on our early-May visit, a swathe of yellow blossom like we could scarcely remember seeing before, punctuated only by the movements of chaffinch and linnet among the spines.  The scent of coconut was rich in the air.

Arthur's Seat view (scaled)

View from the summit with gorse-clad slopes. Ross Gardner 2017.

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