There can’t be many cities with a volcano slap bang in the centre but Edinburgh is one such place. Arthur’s Seat dominates Scotland’s capital and is a conspicuous sight for miles around. The underwater volcano that eventually formed Arthur’s Seat was active until about 335 million years ago with glaciation then forming the profile we see today. Salisbury Crags, which circle the lower slopes of Arthur’s Seat, also shaped the theories of renowned geologist James Hutton (who taught at Edinburgh University in the 17th century) regarding the age of the earth.
A spectacular walk through Holyrood Park climbs along the rim of Salisbury Crags and then a steep pull gains the summit of Arthur’s Seat. It may only be 251 metres in height but the panorama is as good as anything in Scotland. Edinburgh’s celebrated skyline, Fife, East Lothian (with Bass Rock and North Berwick Law particularly eye-catching) and the rolling Pentland Hills is just a small selection of what can be seen.
From both Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags you also get a fine view of Holyrood Palace. It was here in 1566 that Mary, Queen of Scots’ husband, Lord Darnley, was brutally murdered by Mary’s private secretary David Rizzio, instantly becoming one of the most notorious episodes in Scottish history.