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Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox british hills

Arthur's Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, a remarkably wild piece of highland landscape in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of the castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 metres, provides excellent views, is quite easy to climb, and is a popular walk. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the East, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch.

Like the castle rock on which Edinburgh Castle is built, it was formed by an extinct volcano system which was swept by a glacier moving from west to east, exposing rocky crags to the west and leaving a tail of material swept to the east. This is how the Salisbury Crags formed and became basalt cliffs between Arthur's Seat and the city centre.

Hillfort defences are visible round the main massif of Arthur's Seat at Dunsapie hill and above Samson's Ribs, in the latter cases certainly of prehistoric date. These forts are likely to have been centres of power of the Votadini, who were the subject of the poem 'Y Gododdin' which is thought to have been written about 600 CE in their hillfort on Edinburgh castle crag. The poem includes a simile comparing a warrior to King Arthur which (if not a later addition) may be one of the earliest references to Arthur, and hints at a possibility that his fame might have led to one of the hillforts and hence the hill being named after him.

Reference

  • Stuart Piggott: Scotland before History, Edinburgh University Press, 1982
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