December 4, 2022

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Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

It is quite remarkable to think that Arthur’s Seat, a large hill sitting to the southeast of Edinburgh, was an active volcano many million years ago. The now dormant volcanic plug sits at a height of 251 meters (823 feet) and gives fantastic views over the city of Edinburgh, North Berwick on Scotland’s east coast, and the North Sea beyond. 

It is thought that around 350 million years ago, Arthur’s seat was formed by a volcanic eruption and the two bumpy summits are what is left of the volcano’s central vents (from where the hot lava would have poured out many years ago). This iconic shape is recognizable from all sides of the city and is often used as a landmark for locals to navigate their way around. 

The exact origins of the name are unclear and the most common theory put forward by historians is that it was the site of the legendary Camelot, home of King Arthur and his noble Knights of the Roud Table. There is an age-old tradition that exists to this day on May Day (1st of May) each year where young local women wash their face in the dew of the hillside. It was said in legend that this allowed them to maintain youthfulness and bring eternal beauty. 

The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson summed up the importance and significance of Arthur’s Seat by saying it was “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”. While this iconic hill now lies dormant, it is a seat of nature’s greatness that sleeps peacefully looking over the nation’s capital city.

See also  St Drostan's Well in Fraserburgh, Scotland