History

Arthur’s Seat is not just a hill, it’s a hill with history.

Being part of Holyrood Park, this 822 feet extinct volcano has taken the name Arthur’s Seat for over 5 centuries. The original volcano is much older – its history began about 350 million years ago. There is archaeological evidence of people being present on and around Arthur’s Seat from the time of the Stone Age, though it is likely they used the crags only for camping overnight while traveling through these lands.

There was plenty of fighting all around Scotland throughout the centuries, and life was hard for its inhabitants. Tribal fighting and the Roman invasion might help explain a number of fortifications in the Arthur’s Seat area.

The origin of the name Arthur’s Seat is still not clear. Some make a connection with King Arthur himself, though a more realistic version is to do with old name Ard-na-Said – Gaelic for the height of arrows.

At the beginning of 12th century the land around Arthur’s Seat was given to the Church. Holyrood Abbey had established farms and a brewery in the area. During the 13th century, St Anthony’s Chapel was built – there are still ruins of the chapel that can be found at the foot of the Arthur’s Seat iself. Pilgrims used to stop over in the chapel which was used for shelter.

Nowadays it is hard to imagine a visit to the beautiful city of Edinburgh without climbing up Arthur’s Seat. The great views over the city are legendary, and this is also a great spot for sunset watching as the sun sinks over the west of Scotland out part the Forth Valley. Some day the enchanting views from Arthur’s Seat make this old hill the heart stone and soul of Edinburgh.

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