By Elizabeth White
Wroxton Correspondent & Senior Reporter
My favorite trip so far was to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was so pumped to go on this trip because I had heard so many wonderful things about Scotland. Also, my mother’s side of the family is from Scotland, so I was excited to see where some of my family is from.
On the second day of our trip, my group of friends and I made one of the best and worse decisions of our trip: we decided to climb Arthur’s seat, an extinct volcano located in the heart of Edinburgh.
I interpreted “climbing” Arthur’s seat to be a somewhat gentle walk up a mountain, a short hike that was within my out of shape, asthmatic limits. What occurred was far from it.
My experience can be summed up easily: it was the most typical American tourist experience I’ve had up until this point. This was because of a few crucial points that made the hike both memorable and horrible.
First of all, I was not prepared, clothing wise or physically as far as athleticism goes, to go on this hike. It was a literal mountain hike. We were essentially mountain goats climbing up the face of the mountain.
I was also not prepared for the sudden change in weather. I’ve been learning the hard way about the unpredictable and quickly changing weather of the United Kingdom, and this experience confirmed my beliefs that one must be prepared for literally any type of weather at any time.
Also, it is important to add that I was just getting over being sick at this time, in addition to being asthmatic. It was tough for me, breathing wise, to even climb two flights of stairs and not be out of breath. I was not in top physical health in any way.
The first crucial American mistake we made was taking the wrong path.
When we got to the base of the mountain, there were two paths: a more gently sloping, seemingly longer path (this is an important distinction which will come into play later) to the left, and a seemingly shorter but steeper path to the right. We decided to go right. It wasn’t until we started the journey down the mountain that we realized we took the dangerous path.
The hike was okay from the start. I would not say great, or easy, because it was rocky and very steep. I had to keep stopping because I couldn’t breathe, but other than that, it was fine.
It wasn’t until we veered off the path we were on that things turned ugly. This was our second mistake. Now we were climbing over, around and through rocks, and it was dangerous. In hindsight, I think it’s a miracle no one got hurt.
It is at about this time that we realize that it is getting cloudy. The day started out beautiful and sunny, but the clouds were rolling in. I am still so amazed at how quickly the weather can change here. I have been caught in this predicament time and time again but somehow I never learn how to be properly prepared.
It started to pour. Luckily, I did have an umbrella, but it is so fiercely windy that it is useless. Within about three seconds it flips inside out and I am soaked.
At this point I am exhausted from the steep climb, soaking wet from the rain, cold, and unable to properly breathe. But let’s continue on anyway! My friends push me on. I am now a miserable mountain goat, scaling an extinct volcano in the pouring rain.
The rocks are slippery, I still can’t breathe, and I am soaked to the core, but we push on.
We finally reach the top of the mountain, and by this time, the rain has mostly stopped.
I was overtaken by the beautiful view that surrounded, breathless from the hike and astonishment.
Although the hike was painful, it was so worth it. We could see out to the ocean one direction, while the whole city of Edinburgh lay to the opposite side.
It was a painful journey and I almost gave up, but it was worth it. It was an experience that I’ll always treasure and have a good laugh about.