Pentland Hills

Helen Rose Hill Diary January 2004

Photo: Pentlands 1. In the past I have written on the Campsie Fells which are close to Glasgow. Edinburgh also has a group of hills close by known as the Pentlands and are a Regional Park covering an area of around 9158 hectares. They lie to the south west of the city mainly in Midlothian and attract around half a million visitors per annum as they offer excellent walks and have historical interest.

The hills were shaped by ancient glaciers and water is very much a feature of the area with many natural burns and rivers and eleven man made reservoirs which prevent flooding in the city as there are manually operated sluices. The area at Flotterstone is famous for the Battle of Rullion Green which took place in 1666. Hundreds of Scots were crushed by the notorious Tam Dalyell. These were heroes of the Covenanters Movement. The area is also famous for the battle of Rosslyn in 1303.

Photo: Pentlands 2. The Glasgow HF Walking club included a Sunday walk in their programme this winter in the Pentland Hills. It was during the pre Christmas period when the daylight hours are short and the weather usually damp so a shortish walk is just the thing for this time of year. Two excellent club members organised and led the walk which started at the Visitors Centre at Flotterstone. on a cold clear December day. We walked through a pleasant woodland before ascending a bulldozed track for some way and then going onto a good path leading to the first top of Castlelaw Hill. It was very cold but a fairly clear day giving views over to the Firth of Forth and the Forth Road and Rail bridges. There were excellent views over Edinburgh to the Castle and Arthur’s Seat beyond. Arthur’s Seat is a volcanic formed outcrop in Holyrood Park close to the new Scottish Parliament Building.

Photo: Pentlands group. The paths in the Pentlands are very good and give the opportunity to make the walk as long or as short as you please. The conditions underfoot are also good and the ground is drier and does not have the bogginess common in the Campsie Fells. We walked downhill and came to the Castlemuir Hill Fort which has well preserved ramparts and also a Souterraine (an underground chamber for military use) maintained by Historic Scotland. We continued walking towards Allermuir Hill and ascended it on good paths. The reservoirs could be seen in the distance. Allermuir Hill is 493 metres high so there was not a great deal of ascent. I have previously walked along the ridge from Nine Mile Burn to the artificial ski slope at Hillend which is a much longer day and covers most of the Pentland Ridge but transport is needed at both ends as this is a linear walk.

We walked back to Flotterstone for our usual refreshments at the Flotterstone Inn and only an hour by car back to Glasgow with still some time for Christmas shopping!

Coming attractions; Weekends at Braemar and Glencoe

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Thanks to Tom Addie for the photographs

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