When I came to Edinburgh in 1975 I had started work on twenty panoramas and completed one. It would hardly be sensible for me to start on another. Yet I found the view from Arthur’s Seat so interesting I felt that a panorama from that viewpoint couldn’t possibly be omitted.

Arthur’s Seat is only 832 feet high, but in every respect except altitude it is a mountain. It is steep is rugged; it’s summit is solid rock; and in the group of hills of which it is part there are precipitous crags.

325 million years ago, in the Carboniferous period, a volcano stood where Arthur’s Seat is now. The lava in the neck of the volcano solidified as it cooled down, and became basalt. Since then the surrounding rocks have been worn away, leaving the basalt exposed at the summit as a plug. There are other volcanic plugs in the area, and a few of the more spectacular ones are indicated on the panorama with a cone-shaped symbol.

Relatively recently (within the last million years), glaciers passed over some of these plugs extending them into ‘crag and tail’ formations, as in the case of Blackford Hill, where the ice flowed to the left, and Calton Hill, where the ice flowed to the right.

Running north from Arthur’s Seat is the escarpment of the Dasses, with the scarp slope facing left, and the scarp slope facing right. A better-known escarpment is Salisbury Craigs, but here only the dip slope is visible.

Edinburgh is sometimes called ‘the Athens of the North’, because of the resemblance of so many of its buildings to those of Athens. The National Monument, for example, is based on the Parthenon, and the central part of the Royal High School building is a copy of the Temple of Theseus. The school has now moved to another part of the town, and it was planned that the building would become the Headquarters of the Scottish National Assembly.

Arthur’s Seat is entirely surrounded by the City of Edinburgh.

Mary, Queen of Scots lived in Craigmillar Castle in the sixteenth century.

Other places of interest mentioned on the panorama:

Hillend Dry Ski Slope

Blackford Hill (crag and tail, ice flowing to the left)

Royal Observatory

Forth Road Bridge

Forth Bridge

Scott Monument (200 feet high)

Nelson Monument

Temple of the Winds (City Observatory)

National Monument

Burns Monument

Palace of Holyroodhouse (a residence of H.M. the Queen)

Holyrood Abbey (fourteenth century)


The panoramas that I produced for Arthurs Seat can be viewed here.