Holyrood park - a wild hilly place on the outskirts of Edinburgh


noun /ˈwildərnəs/

1. an uncultivated and uninhabited area

2. from the old English wildēornes -
land inhabited by wild animals | wild dēor - wild deer.

I have never learnt to be tame. Even when the city of Lyon tried to break me, and domesticate me with all of its concrete enclosures, I looked to the horizon - searching for space. I grew up in space, you see... Large expanses of meadows, creeks, gardens and those wild bits in between. My first school was more field than school, and we were allowed a rarity: permission to climb all the trees on the property, as high as we might like. Many of my classmates spent their time in a small fort, built right into the evergreen hedge that bordered on the caretaker's property, and I remember there were a few times where somebody's eye got poked by a stick. However, my friends and I favoured one poplar tree whose leaves waved silver in the wind. I could climb till the branches became too whip-thin to hold my weight. 

Wherever I go, I will find the most wild and unruly habitat, and call that my own. In Edinburgh it was Holyrood Park. That park is just my kinda place: a cluster of cliffs, formed into hexagonal columns, and smoothed at the top by the wind till the whole landscape looks more like to a moonscape. The park is dotted with black crows, pockets of blasting wind, and strung about with small paths of red earth.

I would run to Holyrood, legs at full stretch, then blast to the top, lungs bursting with oxygen, so that I could see my surroundings more clearly. And when I reached even halfway, I felt I could breath more clearly, freely...

Uninhibited and uninhabited sound very alike. 

Path leading up to Arthur's Seat through Holyrood Park.
Blackberries and flowers growing in Holyrood Park.


Tussock grasses intermingled with flowering purple clumps of heather.
Sour apples from wild trees.
Complete silence. All my words and songs are pushed back down my throat by the winds, and I am forced to eat my words. Up there, I can bellow with happiness, and no person will hear me.
Brambles of blackberry.
The maze of pathways - one could explore Holyrood a little each day, and still find some new path by the end of a week.
Playing that thrilling game of trust with the wind, where I stand, arms spread eagled, leaning into the gale; and the gale in turn supports me, if only for a moment.
The red dust that collects on my shoes.
This one ledge, off to the side, where In can sit for an hour undisturbed.
That other ledge, where the cliffs jut out over the city like an obstinate chin.
The view of the ocean.
Holyrood's paths looking over Edinburgh.
Arthur's Seat and the flat hilltop on Holyrood Park.
Heather flowers on the hills of Holyrood.
Crows dancing in the wind - Holyrood Park.
Looking out over Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat.
Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat.
Geological formations - basalt columns in Holyrood Park.
We need the tonic of wildness... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because they are unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.