Misc. – Rachel Kesseler


Day 25: Feeling Nature-y

This morning, or last night (depending on your definition of 2:30 am), six of us braved the dark, chilly Scotland “morning” to hike back to the top of Arthur’s seat, a dormant volcano in Edinburgh just behind our residence hall.  For most of us, 2:30 is more commonly the time to end a day than to start one, but after our experience this morning, I would have no problem changing that.

When My woke us (and the entire hallway) up, there was no turning back.  We met in the lobby and at 3:00 made our way to the base of the trail with flashlights, backpacks, and headphones (it was too early for any of us to be social).  We all had several layers on, but they were quickly shed when we reached the steepest part of the climb.  It took a little over 45 minutes to get to the top, but it was the prettiest sky I have ever seen, and the city lights added to the whole atmosphere.  It was kind of surreal to be up so early and take in the start of a new day.


About an hour and a half later we all made our way back down because the wind had frozen us, and we had a couple hours to sleep before our first meeting with Sue at 10:00.

WhenI  woke up the second time, the hike just three hours earlier seemed like it had happened forever ago.  It really threw me off, but I got ready and headed down to breakfast.  When we found Sue at 10:00, we sat outside (today was finally a nice, warm day in Scotland!) and discussed JK Rowling in great detail. Each of us was assigned a question to investigate, and we learned some pretty interesting things.  She lives in Edinburgh and owns a flat in London.  Currently, she is working on her first screenplays and has recently announced that there is not a new Harry Potter book coming in the foreseeable future.

We knew Sue had a surprise for us, but we weren’t sure what is was until we had finished our discussion.  She took us to the three public coffee houses JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books in and the cemetery that provided her with many of the ideas portrayed in the stories.  She used to walk through the cemetery looking for inspiration.  Many of the characters names in the books are taken directly off of these tombstones: Tom Riddle, Anne Potter, and a few others.  After we toured the graveyard, she took us to Spoon, one of the coffee houses, for coffee and tea.  It was one of the cutest, most eclectic restaurants I have ever been to.


We left the restaurant with two major take-aways from the day’s session:

  • Inspiration is everywhere
    • JK Rowling sat on the third floor of The Elephant House cafe writing her novels.  Whenever she needed a little inspiration she could look out the windows to see the graveyard, or out another window to see a prestigious school that gave her the inspiration for the making of Hogwarts.
  • Create time to stop and think
    • Today’s society is very quick paced, and we often get lost in the motions.  JK Rowling got her first idea for the Harry Potter novels when her train from Manchester to Edinburgh was delayed four hours.  There was nothing else she could do but sit and think.  By removing herself from the every day stresses of life, she entered a new world, created a new story, and changed not only her own life, but the lives of people all around the world forever.


Then, it was on to major adventure number three of the day: horseback riding.  We took the bus to the stables and fourteen of us rode horses along the trails over looking several creeks, rivers, and mountains.  It was such a fun way to end a great day.


From hiking a volcano and experiencing the most incredible sunrise to seeing where Harry Potter was written and horseback riding, today was a day unlike any other, and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

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