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Day 3–June 19–Hiking to Arthur‘s Seat

We started the day with breakfast at the hotel and realized that they really were not staffed for the volume of people that they had, so we plan to get there much earlier tomorrow. After breakfast, I started off to find a notebook for Kristin, an additional UK power adapter, and a copy of Rick Steves’ Scotland book to replace the one I left on my desk at home. Shortly after I started off, Kristin texted that the library sold notebooks, so I could crossthat off. I stopped at the Travel Information center near Waverly and got some good information on running down my errands.

I made the walk down Prince’s Street to WaterStone’s and found that they have notebooks, but not Rick Steves’ books. They have a very good selection of maps, so we will probably make a trip back later in the weekt to get some maps for Glasgow. I found the power adapter at a computer store a couple of doors down.

I now started in on my main plan for the day–a hike to the top of Arthur’s Seat, a 275 meter hill that offers a great view of Edinburgh. I headed up to the Royal Mile and turned left to go down to Hollyrude Palace. I stopped for tea about 3/4 of the way down to the palace, and made good progress in planning out my week while I watched the passers by on the Royal Mile. I continued on to Hollyrude Palace, where I picked up the trail to the summit. This is a moderately strenuous hike and you will want decent shoes or boots, though there were women doing it in flip-flops, at least near the bottom. I don't think I saw any flip-flops at the top.

The hike is about the same difficulty as the Enchanted Rock hike in Texas. The counter clockwise route is analogous to a 1/3 scale sea-level version of the Pinnacles trail in Big Bend National Park, with steps for the majority of the vertical gain. The clockwise version is longer but easier and is just a steep walking path until the last 50 meters of elevation gain, where it turns into steps and rubble.

There were a bunch of French school children on a trip with two chaperones, though effectively one since one of the chaperones was working exclusively with a child who had vertigo (or perhaps fear of heights). I was impressed with how well behaved the children were, after seeing a similarly aged group at Enchanted Rock a few weeks earlier.
Edinburgh-The Walk Down from Arthur's Seat
The view from the top of Arthur’s Seat is breathtaking and worth the time, though it was quite crowded at the summit.
Edinburgh-The View from Arthur's Seat

For dinner, we went to a run-down pub close to the hotel and had forgetable fish and chips. I had a half-pint of Strong Bow cider while Kristin had a half-pint of McEwan’s; we both liked our respective choices.

After dinner, we went for a walk to find an ATM, and ended up walking through the Princes Street Gardens, where we found a community Scottish dance group meeting. For 5 pounds, you could get into the stands and join in the dancing. It reminded me of the Friday night crowd in Rennes.

The Scottish dance group meeting in Prince’s Street park was fun to watch.
Edinburgh--Dancing in Prince's Street Park
The thistles in Scotland are much bigger than the thistles I have seen in the states. This example in Prince’s Street Park is probably about five feet tall.
Edinburgh--A Real Thistle