Now that Christmas dinner has settled, it’s time to get the Hogmanay party started. Fireworks from Edinburgh’s seven hills will very soon welcome in the New Year. There has been some discussion over the years as to which the seven hills are, but the seven traditional hills are Arthur’s Seat, Blackford Hill, Braid Hills, Calton Hill, Castle Rock, Corstorphine Hill and Craiglockart Hill.
Castle Rock, Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat are right in the heart of Edinburgh, while the others are a short distance away from the city centre.
Edinburgh Castle sits on top of Castle Rock, a volcanic rock formation, offering amazing views of Edinburgh, Fife and the Firth of Forth. It is believed that the first man may have even stood on Castle Rock more than 8000 years ago.
Not surprisingly, these seven hills are popular with walkers and cyclists and are also the location for a very unique competition. A running race takes place in these hills and has been held every June since 1980. The Seven Hills of Edinburgh Race starts and finishes at Calton Hill and is certainly not for the faint hearted. The race is a combination of road-running, cross-country, hill-running and urban orienteering, covering over 22km. Competitors taking part have to find their own route around the course, but they have to pass through seven checkpoints around the course in a specific order.
Arthur’s Seat is the highest of the seven hills, and along with Salisbury Crags, form a prominent part of the Edinburgh skyline that can be seen from most parts of the city. Arthur’s Seat was formed by an extinct volcano which erupted there over 350 million years ago. The top of Arthur’s Seat can be accessed by paths and steps and offers amazing panoramic views for miles of the city, including Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and Calton Hill and the surrounding countryside.
These seven special hills are also home to Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay celebrations which welcome in the New Year. As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, all seven hills are alight with fireworks from the Castle, which acts as the centre piece of the display. One place to get a fantastic view of the Hogmanay fireworks is Calton Hill, as it offers a view of the fireworks from five of the seven hills – Arthurs Seat, Blackford Hill, Castle Rock, Corstorphine and also Calton Hill itself.
The traditional seven:
Arthur’s Seat (height 251m) at 55°56′39.76″N 3°9′41.08″W incorporating Salisbury Crags and other smaller hills.
Castle Rock (128m) at 55°56′57.80″N 3°12′1.62″W
Calton Hill (103m) at 55°57′20.23″N 3°10′58.10″W
Corstorphine Hill (162m) at 55°57′7.33″N 3°16′21.58″W
Braid Hills (213m) at 55°54′44.84″N 3°12′14.0″W
Blackford Hill (164m) at 55°55′25.83″N 3°11′39.16″W
Craiglockhart Hill (176m) at 55°55′6.27″N 3°14′9.59″W