Running up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh

View from Arthur's Seat over Edinburgh

It’s 6.30 in the morning. I am awake. Again. I woke up 3 times already. My mind is still sleepy, but my body wants to move. It’s like it is telling me it’s time to go for a run. The planned run of this day; up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, the city we are staying in these days. 

The problem is, I don’t want to wake up Sara. But as soon as she starts to move a bit, I’m out of bed. By the light of the slightly opened bathroom door, I grab my running vest out of my suitcase, a gel, a pair of socks and my running shorts and shirt. 

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Garmin Fenix

Ten minutes later I’m dressed, kiss the half sleeping Sara, and I am out of the door and onto Croall Place. My Garmin Fenix beeps to tell me to take the first left, onto Brunswick Road. The next right brings me into the little Montgomery Street park, followed by the London Road gardens and Regent gardens

Running through Edinburgh feels like running through a museum. Every house is old, on every street corner stands either a church or a monument. All the traffic lights – which everybody neglects – make the run feel like an interval training. 

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Where most cities have too much asphalt, Edinburgh is full of little parks. Before you’re done with people blowing smoke in your face or almost bumping into you because they are looking at their phone instead of around them, you are in the green again for a couple of minutes. 


Palace of Holyroodhouse

On top of Arthur's SeatI cross Regent road and run onto Abbeyhill and Horse Wynd, which takes me to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she is in Edinburgh. But it’s not the palace that interests me, it’s what is behind it; Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano that sits 251 meters above sea level and that offers great views over Edinburgh. 

I have a week and a half before the Three Mealls Trail race, that’s part of Skyline Scotland. That means I can run uphill for half a week, before resting my legs. Arthur’s Seat is a great start. 


National monument of Scotland

With the cold wind blowing in my face and the sun hiding behind the clouds I start running up Salisbury Crags. The first part is easy. The grass is soggy, which makes for a nice soft landing for my feet. But the higher I come, the less grass and the more gravel. Up until the point that the gravel makes way for big rocks. 

Running becomes walking. Walking becomes standing still. Not because I’m out of breath, but because from here I have an amazing view over Edinburgh. I can see Easter Road, the football stadium of Hibernian FC, the national monument of Scotland and even the North Sea. 

I take a quick photo to send to Sara, for as she wakes up, and follow my way to Arthur’s Seat, which means climbing some stairs, made of rough rocks. 


Early morning runs

So far I’ve been almost on my own out here. The big advantages of early morning runs. On top of Arthur’s Seat a father and daughter are taking pictures, while a guy and his dog are enjoying the view. Looking down, I see a big group of tourists coming up, which means for me time to run down. 

I turn around and run away from them, finding my own path through the soggy fields, where I am alone again, enjoying the silence before I hit the streets of Edinburgh for the second time this morning to find my way back to Sara and to breakfast. 

Today's training

Easy Trail run
11,7 kilometers with 388 altitude meters in 1 hour and 51 minutes

Yoga, after running session
36 minutes and 25 seconds


John Kraijenbrink

The Running Dutchman

I run. Trails mostly. I am Dutch. That makes me The Running Dutchman.

I am also a massage therapist, yogi, sports science nerd, and journalist/writer. Everything I learn and research about trail running, I share here, on this website, with you.

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