Holyrood Park, Edinburgh – My Playground.

This has become a playground for me – see map below. Since starting work near this park I am there almost every working day on my lunch. It is great as the terrain is varied and there are so many routes you can take. Most of the routes do involve uphill so if you don’t like hills then this aint for you. But I love hills and so am here all the time.

There are three main bits to the park itself. Below I will attempt to introduce some ways of running around here. Each can be varied as to your own abilities or the time you have, Most of these I can do in under 40mins running at a 5min/km pace. Good thing is, if you’re tired at running up, then just turn around and run back down. 🙂

Road Loop
A loop of road (6kmish) around the park which involves a steady climb, clockwise around is less steep than anticlockwise. The road is one way for most of the Eastern side and the entrance is next to St Margaret’s Loch. There is a path on the side of the road to run, or for cyclists the road is smooth and can be tackled with a road bike. Cars do have space to pass you if you are tight in the left.

There are bike racks at the car park at Dunsapie Loch. Which is a good place to walk up to the summit of Arthur’s seat from.

The Salisbury Crags

These Crag’s jut out facing the Centre of Edinburgh in front of Arthur’s Seat (which for those who don’t know is the highest point in the park). See this picture: Top of Crags

There are several routes you can take, most are steep.
A path, opposite the zebra crossing just at the back of Holyrood House will lead you to a steep ascent to the foot of the crags on a tarmac/ gravel path. This path sits tight to the bottom of the rock and is wide enough for 8 people to stand abreast. There are steep hills to the west of these. RUnning up here is tough but doable. When you run here you feel as though you are flying as you can see the cars and people down below. It climbs 100m in 0.8kms.

You can also run on the very top of the crags where there is a grassy / muddy path. To get to this, you need to cross at Holyrood house on the zebra crossing, instead of going straight up to follow the tarmac, turn left and follow the reddish path (not the cycle path along the road) which starts to go in a north east direction, after about 100-200m you will see a right turn onto a muddy path, this will take you to the top of the crags. The ascent is steep and trail shoes are recommended, although I regularly slip and slide in my Nike Pegs. The views of the city from here are great!

Alternatively, you can follow this tarmac path around further, don’t turn off onto a red mud path but carry on until you have turned to almost a southerly direction. Here a gentle ascent of the back of the crags can be done fairly easily. You don’t get the views of the city from here but you do get the feeling of being in the country!

All of these paths eventually take you to the roundabout at Holyrood Park Road (near the commonwealth pool). Where you can run down the road back to the palace. or you can carry on anti clockwise around queens drive back to the palace that way.

Aruthur’s Seat

This is the highest point in Holyrood Park. See this picture: Top of Arthur’s Seat There are many ways to ascend it. Here are three… *When you are at the top of Arthur, there is just bare rock, that has been exposed and walked upon for years which has led it to be highly polished and slippy!*

From the Holyrood park Road, near the commonwealth pool. If you follow queens drive anti-clockwise up the hill for about 50m after the roundabout there is a path on the left. Follow this over the lip and take the right fork leading to a zig zag staircase. I run this way when I am doing the challenge. It is steep with uneven steps. Follow this past the steps and around the corner until you’re pointing east then take the path on the left to the brow of the hill where you can see the ascent to the top part of the old volcano.

From Holyrood House, take the path across the zebra crossing, turn left and follow the tarmac path that goes in a NE direction, take the first left path off this which takes you up between two crags. Then follow the path up the small set of rock stairs turning right you are behind a line of crags and you have Arthur’s seat in front. Take this semi steep rocky path up to the top and follow the paths up to the summit. When you get to the foot of the rocky bit of Arthur take the path to the left which winds its way around the East side of the rocks for a better climb.

From the tarmac road loop, at the east side of the loop, at Dunsapie Loch, take the grassy hill to the right and ascend here. This is the least steep run up to the top.

Each of these ways, road, crags or arthur can be mixed and matched. Going up one way, going down a different way, adding on a bit of the road loop, running back via a different bit of the crag. etc etc.

For those of you who don’t know what/ where it is…

It is run and managed by Historic Scotland – for which I’m a member but ironically, it is free to enter but you need to pay for parking.

Several routes you can take:
http://runkeeper.com/activityMap/128wj5

http://runkeeper.com/activityMap/126mpz

http://runkeeper.com/activityMap/11nxkz

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