Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hike Up Arthur's Seat

I don't have class on Wednesdays, and since I finished my essay a few days early (Yes, for those of you reading from home, I'm still doing my schoolwork!) I had to decide what to do with my day. Stay in Stirling and do laundry, or climb Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh. Hmm...

So a few hours later I was getting off the train in Edinburgh! The weather here has been beautiful, and as I neared the exit at Waverly Station, I was completely inundated by the warmth of the sunlight flooding in. I've been told by many people that these few days of bliss may be the entire summer season here, so I'm taking advantage of it!

I don't think words could very accurately convey my day, so I think instead I'll give you a photo tour of my hike up Arthur's Seat:

There are a lot of different trails in the area, but the one I had my eye on takes you to the top of that cliff you can see to the right...

As I was walking up, I was deliberating, as most do during a hike, where and when to stop for lunch! When I turned a corner and saw this lake in front of me, I knew that was the spot! 

I knew it would be a steep climb, but 45 minutes of really steep and rocky walking is a lot harder than it sounds! I don't know if this picture shows it very well, but it was a good workout! 

About two thirds of the way up, you come onto this grassy clearing, and can see the top of Arthur's Seat. So close, yet so far! Actually, getting to the top wasn't too hard, because I knew I was so close that I got an extra burst of energy. What was difficult was coming down. I'm not sure if you can see it in the picture, but it's just rock, nothing else, so climbing down was really hard. And I may or may not have fallen once by accident. Shhh...

View from the top! Here you can see better how rocky it is.

After my walk, I came down here to eat my sandwich. Sitting here, looking out at the lake and the swans, I kept thinking about how amazingly lucky I was to be sitting there.

I checked the train times on my way back to the station, and since I had 20 minutes before the next train left I got a coffee and sat on a bench to enjoy the sun. I ended up sitting on the bench for over an hour! I let two trains to Stirling come and go, and enjoyed the sun and the view of Edinburgh. The elderly couple in the first picture were there when I got there, and there when I left. They just sat there, holding hands. I don't think they talked once, but their contentment at just enjoying the moment was contagious!  (Also, if you look, to the right of the tree you can see Edinburgh Castle!)

Another view from my bench:

It was such a beautiful day, and I'm so glad that I was able to get out and enjoy it! I also realized on my walk back down from Arthur's Seat that I had gone alone. That doesn't really seem like an earth-shattering realization, but in the past I've been very wary of doing stuff by myself, and today I didn't even realize that I had gone by myself until I was almost done with the hike. I've heard that studying abroad helps you grow and mature, and I'm really pleased that I've become completely comfortable doing stuff alone. It's the small stuff that matters in the end I guess :)

Tomorrow Amanda and I leave for spring break in Bath and the Cotswolds (The region that inspired J.R. Tolkien when he wrote about the Shire)! I'm pretty sure we'll have internet access so I can update my blog, but if not I'll go back to the iron age and keep a diary, and post everything when I get back to Stirling.

Until next time!

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