It was our first time in Scotland and the end of our trip. After two weeks of near perfect May weather, our last day met us with a chill. Rain came down, fog rolled in, and it was a precise reflection of our mood. We were sad. More than that. We were downright melancholy. For at that time we had no idea whether we would be able to return to Scotland. Was this a once-in-a-lifetime thrill? Did we just fall head over heels for a place that we would never again lay our eyes upon? It is, after all, an expensive proposition to fly almost 6,000 miles and to lodge and live in a foreign country for two weeks. And to my way of thinking, if we can’t go for at least two weeks, then why bother going at all. It is a long, expensive journey to only take a small taste of the place. And I don’t want only a taste! I want a whole, heaping plate full.
Feeling glum, Mr. C and I decided to get out for awhile rather than sulk about our morning flight home. So, we did a little shopping, attended a wonderful afternoon church service at Grace Church Leith (an overwhelmingly emotional experience for we two sad saps), and finally, as the weather cleared a little, we made our way over to Holyrood Park.
It. Was. Breathtaking.
It was magical.
It was bittersweet.
Holyrood Park is a royal park located in the heart of the city of Edinburgh. Covering an expanse of 640 acres, this gorgeous piece of earth sits adjacent to Edinburgh’s royal residence – the Palace of Holyroodhouse – and is just a short walk from the Royal Mile in Old Town. The parkland is enormously popular with tourists and residents alike. It provides a fantastic outdoor playground for fitness enthusiasts, photographers, nature watchers, and to those who simply seek panoramic views and solitude high above the busy city streets. There are various paths that lead you through the park as well as Queen’s Drive, a paved road that loops up and around the perimeter.
*Note: Some of the photos that follow were taken on a subsequent trip. Thus, the sun and blue sky!
You’ll want your camera. The views are splendid!
The highest point in Holyrood Park is Arthur’s Seat, the remnant of a 350 million year old volcano. It is the main peak of a group of hills which form most of the park. According to legend, it is said that Arthur’s Seat is one of the possible locations of Camelot, the castle associated with the legendary King Arthur and that that is how it came to be named.
On the west side of the park, the Salisbury Crags – a series of steep cliffs – rise to a height of 150 feet. They represent the true essence of the Scotland that is rugged and wild.
My favorite site in the park is the ruin of St. Anthony’s Chapel, which dates back to at least the 1400’s. Only the north wall and a remnant of the west wall remain, but the secrets of a time long past are still held within its stones.
Holyrood Park is such a lovely gem in the midst of a bustling city. Are you beginning to see why I have formed an attachment to Scotland? I have never met another place that fills my heart with so much joy. And thank goodness that first trip was not to be our last!
I genuinely hope one day you can experience Scotland too.
Til next time, dear friends.