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Arthur's Seat

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

This edition is copyright © The Editors of the Gazetteer for Scotland, 2002-2020.

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Arthur's Seat, a picturesque and conspicuous hill in the immediate eastern environs of Edinburgh. It culminates at a point above 1¼ mile SE of the centre of the city; has an altitude of 822 feet above the level of the sea; descends rollingly, to the N and to the E, over a base each way of about 5 furlongs; presents an abrupt shoulder to the S; and breaks down precipitously to the W. A narrow dingle, called the Hunter's Bog, extends N and S along its western base. Salisbury Craigs rise in regular gradient from the western side of the Hunter's Bog to a height of 574 feet above the level of the sea; break sharply down in a semicircular sweep, with bold convexity toward the city; are crested round the brow of the semicircle, to an average depth of 60 feet, with naked wall of rugged greenstone cliff; and thence descend rapidly to environing low ground, with smooth and regular declivity, in form of a talus. Both Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Craigs are within the Queen's Park; and the Queen's Drive runs 13/8 miles round them, at altitudes of from 112 to 390 feet. Both command most magnificent views of the city, and of a great extent of country, away to distant horizons -from Ben Lomond to North Berwick Law, and from the Ochils to the Lammermuirs. A fragment of the chapel of St Anthony's Hermitage, founded in 1435, is on a precipitous knoll at the N base of Arthur's Seat; and a spring, St Anthony's Well, celebrated in the old plaintive song, `O waly, waly up yon bank, ' is at the SW foot of the knoll. Mushet's Cairn, marking the scene of a terrible wife murder in 1720, was in 1822 transferred from Hunter's Bog to near the Jock's Lodge entrance, that George IV. might see it without wetting his feet. Three lochs lie around the hill-to the N, St Margaret's (240 x 85 yards); to the E, Dunsappie (233 x 67 yards), at 360 feet of altitude; and to the SE, Duddingston (580 x 267 yards). The S end of Arthur's Seat,

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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