Since I have been feeling so much better today, I decided it was time to make another expedition (with Nap, of course).  The weather was extraordinary today, perfect for a trek.  We headed down the Mile toward Arthur’s Seat for a hike.  On the way, we saw this living statue.  She was charming and polite and very good at startling people who genuinely thought she was just a statue until she suddenly took their hand. 

I took some pictures and was getting ready to move on by when I had sudden inspirational idea.  And so I made a civil request, which the statue was more than happy to oblige.

Nap, of course, took exception to being held by a lady of suspiciously unnatural coloring, but she seemed to like him very much.  I wish I’d gotten a picture, but right before she handed him back to me, she gave him a little peck on his tiny, unwilling cheek.

See, this was the sort of day it was!  Glorious and sunny and beautiful!  It was very windy and eventually the clouds did come, but there was always some blue to be seen and the rain never came.  I called it a good day.

I set out at two… I wouldn’t return until nearly 6 o’clock.  My adventures were just that awesome.

I did see where the world apparently ends.  Nice to know where it is for future reference…

Nap does not understand modern art.  It makes no sense.  What does it mean

Now, I should warn you before we proceed that my walk was so incredibly gorgeous that you may come to hate me after seeing these pictures, mostly if you are the type who enjoys really nice walks and beautiful outdoor locations.

My first climb was the Salisbury Crags, a long steepish path along the cliffs with a great view of the city.  I originally thought it would lead all the way up, but the path I took was the more mild one and did not go to the very top.  It was still a great walk.

Holyrood Palace from above.  Take that, tour that costs money! I don’t need your silly ticket! I can see it better from here!

Here’s a view of the path as I walked up.  It was really only steep at the beginning and then it was not a bad walk at all, right along the edge, so the view was spectacular all the way up.  I took way too many pictures… if that’s possible.

Nap apparently has this thing with claiming rocks as his own territory.  When I compared it to what dogs do, he became very offended indeed.

And there’s the castle!

The view just kept getting prettier the higher I got, so I paused every so often and snapped even more pictures of the cityscape below.  It would shock you (or maybe it wouldn’t) to know how many pictures I’m not posting here.

As you walk up, the righthand side is gorgeous views while along the left is a tall, imposing rocky cliff.  I had hoped that the path would keep winding up to the top of it, but alas, it did not.

This is the view from the highest point that the path reached before it so unkindly became impassable.  Still pretty awesome though, I have to say.  

Nap does his rock claiming thing at the “top” of the crags.  He as very proud, of course.

And then we head back down.

Stealth mode!

Onward!  Nap figured out the way down with his cunning tracking skills.

At the bottom, there was another path leading off to more walks and climbs.  Out of curiosity, I went ahead and started walking.

And I’m so glad I did.  That’s where Arthur’s Seat actually is, along with some other really great views and the ruins of an old church.

Oh yay! More upward climbing.  At that point I was tired, but not ready to quit, so I continued my journey toward the top.

These ruins are from Saint Anthony’s Chapel.  I took a picture of the plaque so you can read about it for yourself.  I just couldn’t get over the whole 1400’s date.  I love old things!  The Middle Ages were real!

Narnia????  *steps through…*

No Narnia… *sad face*

I wanted to come back with a book and curl up in the doorway and read.  Maybe my Dorothy Dunnett novel would do the trick…

Yes, Nap, that rock is definitely yours now.  And the ruined chapel too.

And the doorway.  Are you done yet?

There’s Arthur’s seat in the distance, by the way.  That’s my goal.  It doesn’t look that high from here…

I noticed a green, grassy path running kind of parallel to the main road… that made me suspicious.  Why was I on the rocky one?  What did the green one mean?  Should I be on that one?  Note to self: take faerie road on the way down.

Still a long way off and this is when I started thinking… why am I doing all of this today?  Why didn’t I do this one another day?  I have a whole year!

But I was there and relatively close and… yeah, I kept going.

I did finally make it despite a few breathless pauses.  And this is what I got to see from the top…

Whoever J.S. is deserves to be kicked off the top.  Idiot.

Hello, tiny Edinburgh!  It was so windy up there that I honestly worried sometimes that I would get shoved off a cliff’s edge.  I hunkered down a few times and grabbed onto a rock and waited out the blasts.  It was intense.

Check out my awesome “windswept” look in the pictures below…  I should do it up like that more often.

Yep, Nap had the extreme audacity to claim Arthur’s Seat.  I told him that that was a bit tacky and he should stick to some of the less… claimed spots?  He didn’t really like that, but he does respect Arthur’s overall awesomeness so he got down.  Plus, I think the wind made him nervous.  I managed to snap this photo of Nap in the ten seconds between massive gusts so that he wouldn’t be carried off.

Coming back down, I saw a Scottish bunny!!!   I swear it hopped with a distinct accent.

Lots of thistles growing here…

And yes, as determined before, I took the grassy path.  It was softer on my poor feet anyway and quite a pretty alternate route.

Arthur’s Seat?  Phhbbbt!  Napoleon’s Seat is much more impressive and rocky!

Beautiful grassy path…

I now recognize the truth in the term “thistledown”.  It was so soft and squishy!  I kept petting the little tufts.  They were like Bella’s tail!

At long last, we reached the bottom.  My journey was done… okay, not done.  I still had the Royal Mile ahead of me.  Needless to say, I am achy and sore and tired.

But all I can say is that anyone who visits Edinburgh absolutely must climb these hills.  This is so far the most amazing thing I’ve done since I’ve been here!

(Nap found a secret hideout)