I’m currently enjoying a couple of days in Edinburgh visiting a very dear friend of mine. It’s been a stressful few months and that combined with flu has meant that I haven’t been getting as much exercise as I’ve wanted to. I’ve been out for a few short runs, but I have found it very tough on my lungs. Some of that will be due to pneumonia with the subsequent fractured rib last year, some of it is down to telling myself that I can’t when I know deep down that I can. The bottom line is that I have lost fitness and while I haven’t actually gained weight, I am definitely looking a little heavier and I don’t feel as fit as I’d like. Hopefully Swimathon will help me feel better, and to build up to running fitness again, I’ve been making the effort to go out for a walk every day. The temptation to sit in my pyjamas all day when you work at home is strong and it has been a fight against that.
I know it isn’t rocket science, that we should all do this. But sometimes reality is different to what we should do and sometimes pyjamas and chocolate win. So it’s important to try to do something for you to recharge.
Anyway, long story short, Virgin Trains East Coast had a seat sale, I wanted to visit my friend and needed a break, so it seemed a trip to Edinburgh was a sensible plan and an opportunity to recharge. I am sitting here typing at the moment while the sun shines down on the snow outside. Okay, there isn’t much snow, but there is some snow and it looks pretty and I am grinning like a maniac because, snow.
I have visited Edinburgh before and it is a beautiful city with plenty of hills. I have been toying with the idea of doing the Edinburgh Marathon and following a walk up the Royal Mile and Botanical Gardens, we decided we should go for a walk up to Arthur’s Seat which is where the marathon starts.
However, it was necessary to prepare with lunch first so we decided to visited Hendersons Salad Table restaurant. This is a casual vegan restaurant and highly recommended. This meat-eater opted for a butterbean, leek, vegan cheese and potato pie and it was delicious. I rounded it off with a slice of chocolate and hazelnut cake and then we headed towards Arthur’s Seat.
Holyrood Park is a 640 acre Royal Park next to Holywood Palace. Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, is the highest point, sitting 251 metres above sea level and this was what we set out to climb.
And what a spectacular walk it is! There are several routes up to the top, ranging from a more gentle path, to steeper rocky climbs. We opted for the purple route. We ascended quickly, but it was tough going at times with the strong wind and the steep climbs. We didn’t climb the last little bit to the very top as it was so windy, but the views were stunning and well worth a lung-busting climb up.
We took a gentle, meandering route down to the bottom as I didn’t really fancy tackling the steep downhill in the wind. We saw several runners on the way down and I wondered if any of them were training for the marathon.
Recovering in the pub after with a pint felt great. I had to stop for a breather on the way up a couple of times and the walk confirmed to me that I have definitely lost fitness! But I felt pleased to have done it and almost enjoyed the slight aching in my legs.
If you’re planning to visit Edinburgh, climbing Arthur’s Seat is a must. There are several different routes you can opt for, but whichever you choose, be sure to wear sensible shoes and bring a bottle of water with you. We realised halfway up that neither of us had brought anything to drink. It was a cool day and slightly drizzly so it wasn’t the end of the world, but we would have been suffering on a hot day. We saw a few people using a stick on rocky bits.
Being outdoors is great. Now I’m off to see what today will bring.