After departing York, we arrived late Sunday evening in Edinburgh, and upon exiting Waverley Station we were astounded by the amazing views of the old city. We settled in comfortably at our guest house, after some dinner and good Scottish ale.
The next day, the sightseeing (and running) began!
Scotland – Day One
As planned, I set out early the next morning to do my running tour of the city. Right across from our hotel was Calton Hill, and I started running up the hill before slowing to a crawl up to the peak. The views from Calton Hill are famous – and rightly so. It’s breathtaking. To the north, the Firth of Forth and beyond, to the west and south are Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, and Arthur’s Seat & Salisbury Crags (more on that later).
Making things up as I went along, I weaved through a cemetery, passed the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the new Scottish Parliament, and reached Holyrood Park. Not wanting to attempt Arthur’s Seat at that point, I climbed as far as St. Anthony’s Chapel Ruins.
Upon my return, we spent the next several hours sightseeing – starting with a visit to Edinburgh Castle. We had lunch with a dear friend we hadn’t seen in several years, and her adorable son! Then we ventured further afield to Craigmillar Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots spent some time. The weather was perfect.
Next on the agenda was a climb to the summit of Arthur’s Seat – an extinct volcano cone that dominates the city. One would assume it is named for King Arthur, but its etymological roots are unclear. However, what is clear is that the views from the 251m peak are amazing. And the mountain itself is covered in bright yellow gorse, which has a delicious floral aroma.
We definitely earned the pints we enjoyed that evening!
Scotland – Day Two
The next day was an amazing tour to the Highlands with Rabbie’s Trail Burners (highly recommended!), which included a whisky tasting. No running involved. But we had a fantastic time, and our driver guide, Jade, was brilliant!
Scotland – Day Three
Our final day in Edinburgh, I was up early and – despite some pretty intense wind – decided to return to Holyrood Park. I skirted Calton Hill once again, retraced my steps from a couple of days earlier, and then headed up the steep path called The Radical Road.
This route follows the foot of the cliffs called Salisbury Crags. Being literally the only person on the side of this mountain, with views over the Edinburgh, was a moving experience. I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland (again, as an adult) – and finally I was here. And having the opportunity to run in this ancient city was a significant part of it.
Wended my way back through the park, snapped some photos of Holyrood Abbey, and started another day of sightseeing.
We met another friend – someone we hadn’t seen in at least 15 years – and enjoyed a sushi dinner together. Wrapped up the evening with a pint of my new favourite beer – Deuchars IPA – a local Edinburgh brew from Caledonian Brewery.
UK – Final Day
An extremely early flight took us from Edinburgh to Gatwick, where we had a several hour layover. We decided to take advantage of the time and took the train to Brighton, visiting the beach and the Pier, and enjoying a tasty English breakfast.
And then, we had to bid farewell to the UK. For now. We will be back!
Have you ever spent time in Scotland?
I’m considering the Edinburgh Marathon for a future visit…