Arthur Seat Queen's Park Edinburgh

Arthur Seat Queen's Park Edinburgh

Arthur Seat in Gaelic was originally pronounced ARD- NA –SAID. It was a volcano that has shaped the land of Edinburgh for over 1000 years. Arthur Seat rises above the city to a height of 822 feet and provides excellent panoramic views of the city. It is a favourite place for visitors to climb as it is relatively easy to climb and is popular for hill walking. 

You can climb Arthur Seat from almost any direction. The easiest is from the east. Enter at Duddingston gates where there are steps for the first part then a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch to the summit. The Radical Road is a footpath which will take you along the top of the slope immediately under Salisbury Crags which has long been a popular walk, giving a view over the city.  It became known as the Radical Road after it was paved in the aftermath of the Radical War of 1820. The beacon was erected at the top of the hill in 1688.

Arthur’s Seat also has a particular significance to the history of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints as this is where the nation of Scotland was dedicated in 1840 for the preaching of the gospel.

The apostle Orson Pratt of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormons) arrived in Scotland in early 1840 and climbed the hill to pray to god for more converts. There is a road that runs around the hill and you can see the three lochs.

Arthur Seat Extinct Volcano Edinburgh Scotland

St Anthony's Chapel

Saint Anthony’s Chapel stands on The Fairies or Haggis Knowe overlooking St Margaret’s Loch. The Chapel could have been built as early as the 14th Century, as it was reported that the Pope gave a donation for repairs in 1426. Swans and Ducks have been kept in the Loch since as early as the 16th Century. It was also place Royals would go boating and later it was available to hire a rowing boat for recreational boating.

arthur seat st anthony's chapel Edinburgh
St-Anthonys-Chapel-Arthur-Seat-Edinburgh

St Anthony's Well, Arthur Seat Edinburgh

The beginning of a freshwater stream that was said to have healing properties can be found in the hill close to St Anthony’s Chapel on Arthur Seat in Edinburgh. The water once flowed from under the boulder but is now dry. A tradition in Edinburgh is on the first day in May to climb to the top of Arthur Seat and wash your face in the dew at sunrise and make a wish at St Anthony’s Well. This was to give eternal beauty and to celebrate the gathering of the May Dew. The stream now flows into Saint Margaret’s Loch from Saint Margaret’s Well. 

arthur seat edinburgh st anthony's well
St Anthonys Stream
st margaret's well stream arthur seat edinburgh

Saint Margaret's Well Arthur Seat Edinburgh

The unique well house on Arthur Seat  below the pathway to the top of the hill dates circa 1480. Originally it was at restalrig Church designed on a copy of St Triduana's isle. It was removed from its first sit, which was then encroached upon by a railway depot, and was reconstructed in its present position near a natural spring.

arthur seat st margaret's well edinburgh
edinburgh arthur seat st margaret's well plaque

Saint Triduana

Saint Triduana was born in the Greece and was believed to have journeyed with Rule a holy man from the area of Patras in Greece in the 4th century AD. Rule deciding to stop the Romans from seizing the bones of Saint Andrew and took as many bones as he could and travelled as far from Greece as possible ending his journey in Scotland. Triduana settled in Scotland and due to her great beauty attracted the attentions of many men. One in particular was Nectan King of the Picts. Triduana to stop the King’s attention she is said to have torn out her own eyes and gave them to the King. As Saint Triduana aged she settled in an area outside an area known as Eidyn later to be known as Edinburgh.  Many people made pilgrimages to see her as she was believed to have the power to make the blind see. On her death in Restalrig a shrine was built in her honour and was intact until the reformation in the 1500.  There are many stories of the blind praying to Saint Triduana and regaining their sight. St Margaret's well previously known as St Triduana's Well before the well was moved to its present position.

St Triduana's Statue on shrine St Margaret's Church Restalrig
St Triduana's Statue on shrine
St Triduana shrine St Margaret's edinburgh

There are three lochs that surround Arthur’s seat, Duddingston Loch, Dunsapie Loch (where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army rested overnight prior to the battle of Prestonpans) and St Margaret’s Loch, the later where you can feed the birds and Climb to St Anthony’s Chapel and St Anthony’s well which is said to give good fortune.

St Margaret’s Loch Arthur Seat

St Margaret’s Loch was named after Queen Margaret mother to David I. Swans and Duck have been kept in the Loch since as early as the 16th Century and it was also a place that boating was available circa 50 years ago.  The beginning of a freshwater stream that was said to have healing properties can be found in the hill close to St Anthony’s Chapel on Arthur Seat in Edinburgh. 

St-Margaret's-Loch-Arthur-Seat-Queens-Pa
arthur seat st anthony's chapel and st margaret's loch edinburgh

Dunsapie Loch Edinburgh

Dunsapie Loch is where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army camped before they marched the next day to fight the English at the battle of Prestonpans on the 21 September 1745. After defeating Sir John Cope and Government troops the Jacobite force lead by Charlie continued the reclaiming of Britain for the Stuarts. They reached as far as Derby by December before turning back. They were eventually defeated at the hands of the English lead by the Duke of Cumberland, at Culloden on the 16 April 1746 and the end of the rebellion to over through the Hanoverian king and regain the British throne for the Stuarts was over. The final Jacobite uprising. 

arthur seat edinburgh dunsapie loch

Duddingston Loch at Dodin's Village

(Duddingston Village) dates back to the 1100s and replaced Treverlen the name of the landowners of the area. An earlier settlement may lay buried beyond the car park next to the gate. Duddingston Loch is a nature reserve with swans, geese, ducks and otters. It was previously used for ice skating curling and boating. There is a famous painting by Sir Henry Raeburn of a minister skating on the Duddingston Loch. In the days that it was cold enough for the lochs to freeze. See outer areas for more on Duddingston Village.

duddingston loch Arthur Seat Edinurgh
duddingston loch Arthur Seat Edinurgh

The Muschat's Cairn

Dukes Walk, Queens Park Edinburgh 

MUSCHAT’S CAIRN can be found at the side of Dukes walk (named after James Duke of Albany) across from St Margaret’s Loch in Holyrood Park. The Cairn commemorates an event in 1720 when Nichol Muschat a surgeon dragged his wife to a place nearby the place the Cairn was erected and brutally murdered her. He was caught tried and hanged for his crime. At his trial the reason he gave for the brutal death was that he had simply tired of her. A Cairn consists of boulders piled together. The Muschat Cairn was erected in 1823 replacing an earlier Cairn which had been removed in the 1700s. The earlier Cairn was formed over several years by the tradition of laying stones in a pile each stone showing the people’s horror and disgust of the brutal deed.

muschat's cairn arthur seat edinburgh

Radical Road Arthur Seat Edinburgh

The Radical Road is a pathway that goes around Salisbury Crags and has long been a popular walk, giving a view over the city.  It became known as the Radical Road after it was paved in the aftermath of the Radical War of 1820, using the labour of the unemployed weavers on the suggestion of King George IV on his visit to Edinburgh in 1822. 

Coffins of Arthur Seat

It was in June 1836 when a number of boys out hunting for rabbits on the slopes of Arthur's Seat found 17 miniature coffins on the north east slope. The coffins were of figures hand carved, dressed in clothing in the miniature coffins. The meaning of the coffins has never been unearthed unlike the coffins some say it was witch craft others say a memorial to the 17 victims of Burke and Hare. No one knows. The surviving coffins are in the National Museum of Scotland Chamber Street Edinburgh. 

arthur seat edinburgh 17 coffins

The route up Arthur Seat Edinburgh from Holyrood Park Road entrance.

 ARTHUR SEAT EDINBURGH 

The easiest way up is from Duddingston Loch. At the side of the car park as you enter a Queens Park just past Duddingston Kirk there is a flight of steps which take you to the road that circles Arthur Seat and a well-placed bench awaits, for a rest, before the final climb, on an easy grass slope to the top. You can also climb to the top from the entrance at Holyrood Park Road

arthur seat edinburgh Holrood Park Road Salisbury
Salisbury Crags Arthur Seat Edinburgh

There is a road that you can cycle, walk or drive that goes around Arthur Seat, which you can access from the East side of

St Margaret’s Loch, which is to the left of Holyrood House Palace as you enter the Queen's Park from Horse Wynd.

You can also see St Margaret’s Well and the steps to the start of the Radical Road across from the car park at the side of Horse Wynd. If you follow the road that passes above St Margaret’s Well you will come to St Anthony’s Well, just down from St Anthony’s Chapel, continuing on and the path will take you to the top of Arthur Seat. You will not be alone as it is very popular way to the top.

the path to the top of Arthur Seat Edinburgh
the path to the top passing st anthony's well on arthur seat edinburgh

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muschat's cairn arthur seat edinburgh