Friday, March 10, 2023

Salisbury Palisades and Good-bye to Scotland

Our second day in Edinburgh we planned to visit some geological features.  You may have heard of  Arthur's Seat, a major landmark in Edinburgh, but you probably haven't heard of the Salisbury Crags just a little lower down the ancient  volcano.  Here we headed for a walk up the hill, practically out the back door of our B$B.

Arthur's Seat is one of the most noticeable landmarks in Edinburgh, and easy to walk up.  Not for us though, we contented ourselves with hiking up to the top of Salisbury Crags, the line of cliffs in the foreground.

In fact this was the view just a block behind our B&B, so it wasn't far to go.  but it was certainly uphill!

Before we got there, we stopped to see this geological feature at the base of the hill.  Looking quite simple, this is one of the most famous sites in the world in the early history of the science of geology.  Known as Hutton's Section, it features an observation made by the famous geologist James Hutton,  (1726-1797) father of modern geology. 

You can see that the lower part of the rock here is sedimentary, composed of thin layers of ancient sediments.  The upper rock is a uniform slightly pinkish volcanic flow.  Hutton used this and other evidence to support the theory of uniformitarianism, the idea that land was created slowly over a long time through erosion, deposition and volcanism, rather than in one ancient event.  This underlies Darwin's theory of evolution among other scientific ideas. and contradicted the Christian belief that the world was created in 4004 B.C.

Part of this other geological evidence comes from sites like this, just nearby, vertical hexagonal columns known as Samson's Ribs, formed by a lava flow.

In any case we had a great time hiking up the cliffs where you get a magnificent view over Edinburgh.

Here you're looking along Edinburgh's High Street, from the castle on the left downslope past the rounded steeple of St' Giles' Cathedral almost to the end of the street.

And right below you you're looking down over Holyrood Palace, the grey building on the right at the bottom of the street.  The new Scottish Parliament buildings (in white) are right below us.

We did take time to walk up the high street later, passing St. Giles' Cathedral.  This is where the Queen lay in state before being taken to London for her recent funeral.
The entrance to Edinburgh Castle itself, and the view back to Arthurs Seat.

Of course we had to walk down Candlemaker Row to see Greyfriars Bobby, the memorial to a loyal dog in the mid-1800s  who guarded his master's grave for 14 years.  And with that we said good-bye to Scotland and headed home.  Thanks for coming along!


  1. My Gran who was born in Scotland and lived there until 1909, said " Glasgow was the dirty town, and Edinburgh the pretty City" She also told me about playing " Chucky Stones " in the Clyde. After her marriage, they lived in a little street that was called a miner's row in Cambuslang.Then in 1907 my Grandad came to New Zealand and set up a tailoring business in the Hawkes Bay.Such old beautiful stone buildings and Churches, not to mention the castles.What a wonderful trip you both enjoyed.

  2. This has been a great geological study for you. I like your city views and the places you visit are great. I like the dog sculpture of a loyal friend.

  3. Thanks so much for this ! Sorry to see it end. C

  4. Just amazing and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  5. And thank you for taking us on your trip -- thoroughly enjoyable.

  6. That looks like strenuous hiking, but lovely views. Very interesting geology!

  7. Thanks for the tour. I appreciated the geology. I thought Authur’s Seat had a monument at the top. I must be thinking of some other spot.

  8. Love that city. Stayed just off the Royal Mile and explored the area. Such a beautiful and interesting place.

  9. I have enjoyed this trip so very much. Thank you for taking me (us) along!

  10. I've not visited Scotland.
    I have enjoyed your recent posts and seeing your photographs.

    All the best Jan

  11. It was a wonderful and informative excursion, and I am so glad you decided to revisit it all and share it with me and your other admirers. A fabulous trip. :-)

  12. i would love to see scotland myself but i would never be able to walk these areas. i am filled with joy to see this and read about the history!! i too, am glad you took these trips when you were able!!