Friday, August 24, 2012

Up, Up, UP!

Yesterday afternoon Tenie, Carmen, Roscoe and I climbed Arthur's Seat. Hermione was not invited as there is no way her little puppy legs would have gotten her to our destination. Arthur's Seat is a gigantic dormant volcano that can be seen for miles around Edinburgh. We can actually see it from my flat window, despite us being kilometres away. Since arriving in Edinburgh, I have wanted to climb the summit, but we've just never had the chance yet. So, when Tenie said it was on her bucket list of things to do before leaving Edinburgh, I was very excited.
We had a tasty lunch at The Haven, a little cafe that has the most amazing food, and then hopped a bus downtown. Roscoe came along as a non-working dog and I think he thoroughly enjoyed his time. The only unpleasant part of the whole excursion was this crazy, little yappy dog on the bus to Arthur's Seat who was snarling and snapping at people, babies and Roscoe. Of course the owner wasn't interested in doing anything about it and just kept saying, "oh, he's harmless. He's just a puppy. He's just noisy."
That dog was not a puppy and there is a difference between being noisy and lunging for babies' faces. I'm surprised the bus driver didn't ask the woman to get off the bus. I would have been mortified if any of my dogs behaved in that manner.
Tenie took Roscoe and walked him so that Carmen could guide me. The 255 metre above sea level climb took us just under an hour and it was quite enjoyable. The sun was out for the most part, which is a rarity in Scotland, and there was a light breeze. There were a lot of other people climbing the peak, including a tour group from Italy who cheered when each of their members reached the top.
The climb itself had various parts that proved challenging in their own right. The first part wasn't bad, just a gentle slope with stairs cut into the side. We then walked along a road that gradually climbed upwards. It was after this road that the part that demanded a bit of fitness came along. It was a fairly steep incline up a grass covered hill. It was here that Tenie unleashed Roscoe and he took off like a shot, running as fast and as hard as he could. He charged right over to some Australian tourists and introduced himself enthusiastically. They loved him and rough housed with him a bit. He then found his next victims; some people having a picnic. He tried to take a sandwich and so he went back on leash for the rest of the climb up, which was fine because after the grassy slope, the terrain turned quite rocky and we didn't want him to injure himself running about like a maniac.
We picked our way over rocks and used man made foot holes to propel ourselves up. In places the rock was quite smooth and finding the correct place for a foot became tricky. We just went slowly and I felt with each foot before planting it. Tenie and carmen were also good at watching where my feet were going and would often help by saying, "move left" or "right and up a bit."
As we got closer to the top, the rocks became even smoother and I found myself doubled over feeling with my hands before stepping forward. There were sheer drop offs on one side and so I thought this style of climbing was safer.
Once at the top, we stopped for more photos and then found some weather smoothed stones to sit on and have the oatmeal cookies Tenie had brought along from The Haven. It was amazing being up so high. Of course I didn't get the benefit of the view, but you could hear noises from down below that you otherwise wouldn't have heard due to noise pollution. For instance, there was a marching band playing lively tunes that kept floating up to us. At one point, it began to sprinkle, but the sun was still out and going down would have taken another hour, so we weren't in a hurry to go anywhere.
After hanging out at the top for a while, we slowly made our way back down, carefully picking our path. The climb down included a lot of me squatting and sliding from one rocky out cropping to another, but once we made it back to the grassy slope, it was smooth sailing. We let Roscoe run again and he bolted straight for another tourist, but thankfully she was excited to see him. She took a lot of action shots of him bounding through the tall grass and running on the straight stretches. We were all very impressed by his athleticism. He definitely had to be brushed free of the grass seeds that attached themselves to him during his mad galloping.
The bus ride home was not nearly as eventful as the one to Arthur's Seat and when we got home, we all pretty much flopped on to the couch and didn't move. Roscoe was still tired today, sleeping in late and napping for most of the day. If only Hermione could have come and been that sleepy.

1 comment:

Mango said...

Quite an adventure with rock scrambling. Sorry about that yappy dog. Sometimes small dog people just don't get it.

Mango Momma