Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcanic hill just to the east of Edinburgh city centre that offers spectacular views and has many hidden secrets from haunted caves to strange miniature burials.
Formed around 350 million years ago during the Carboniferous period its peak rises to 822 ft (250m) above sea level. Its distinctive shape and spectacular views have made it a popular recreation site. In ancient times it was used as a hill fort by the Votadini tribe. There are a few theories regarding the name. The first suggests that it was named in recognition of King Arthur the legendary warrior who, for a period of time, defended the local Romano-British from the invading Saxons and Vikings. There may be some truth in this as ‘Arthur’ was probably a war title rather than just a name. Some etymologists believe the name ‘Arthur’ derives from the words ‘Arcturus Rex’ which can also be translated as “Lord Guardian of the Bears’ or more simply ‘Chief of the Warriors’. Supporting this is the belief that the hill does look like either a lion or bear lying down.
A second theory proposed by William Maitland is that the name was a corruption of the Gaelic meaning ‘Height of Arrows’.
A third proposal suggests a translation meaning ‘Place of the High ground’.
The discovery in 1836 of 17 tiny coffins, each containing a small wooden figure, has remained a mystery. Theorists suggest they may be linked to witchcraft or even the serial murderers Burke & Hare. It was also at the foot of Arthur’s Seat that King David met an enraged stag who should have killed him but turned away for no reason. This divine intervention prompted him to order the construction Holyrood Abbey on the exactly spot where he was saved. The hill has been featured in poems and inspired writers including Robert Louis Stevenson. Arthur’s seat is quite easy to climb and for those fit enough it is well worth the effort. It has been designated as a site of Special Scientific Interest.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Carfraemill, Oxton, Lauder
Borders, Scotland, TD2 6RA
+44 (0)1578 750 697
- Address: Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom, EH8 8DX
- GPS: 55.94654167,-3.156530556
- Part of UK: Scotland
- Sat Nav Postcode: EH8 8DX
- Entrance Fees: No Entry Fees
- Disabled Access: Limited
- Visibility from Road: Excellent