Walking in The Pentland Hills

With exams and deadlines drawing ever nearer I decided to take one last day of freedom and head out to the Pentland Hills just south of Edinburgh. Two buses and a train later I arrived at the Flotterstone Inn to horizontal snow, not exactly in the weather forecast but it all adds to the fun. Spotting a tiny bit of sunshine coming over the horizon I headed along the bottom of the valley along a river towards Turnhouse Hill that marked the start of the southern chain of hills that make up the Pentlands.

DCIM100GOPROMy original aim was to walk from Turnhouse over Carnethy, Scald Law and East and West Kip and down to Bavelaw Castle, however having accidentally set my alarm an hour later than planned, missing the first train, and the unforecast snow, I decided to walk to Scald Law and then down into the valley and back round Loganlea and Glencorse reservoirs and maybe even get back in time to have a pint in the aforementioned Flotterstone Inn. The walk up towards Turnhouse was pleasant and mostly sunny with only a five minute sideways hail storm, during which I sheltered under a usefully placed tree, blown over by the recent storms. Just as I was contemplating heading onwards two friendly but very windswept walkers appeared, warning me that they’d decided to come back down as they almost got blown sideways off the top of Scald Law. DCIM100GOPROSo, preparing myself for being hit by what one of the walkers described as ‘wind that’ll make ya fly’, I continued onwards and upwards stopping to look at the view of the whole of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth that  now lay behind me.

The top of Turnhouse Hill approached and I was still managing to walk without flying. However, as soon and I got to the top of the hill the wind increased tenfold to the extent that I was being blown quite rapidly leftwards with every step I took, directly towards a slightly questionable looking ‘cliff of death’. Quickly realising that I needed to undergo a dramatic weight gain in order to avoid falling off the top of the law I contemplated filling my bag with rocks but decided that DCIM100GOPROmaybe, just for one day, I should have a walk where I’m not carrying some sort of geological specimen. And besides I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have made that much difference. Surely heading down the other side of Turnhouse towards Carnethy Hill the wind would decrease what with the drop in height? Sadly not, and after amusing myself by seeing how far I could lean into the wind without falling off the ‘cliff of death’ I decided that my mother would be thoroughly unimpressed if I gained some sort of injury right before exams as a result of walking when I should be revising. Therefore I headed back the way I came down Turnhouse Hill and then onto a path that took me round to Glencorse Reservoir.

DCIM100GOPROThe reservoir was small and seemed to only be inhabited by the native fisherman or two hiding from the wind in slightly unstable looking rowing boats. A wall surrounded most of the edge of the reservoir that was built by the local fishing club to prevent trespassing, unfortunately this also kept out any meddling walkers that wished to walk along their shores. I did scale the wall at one point but it randomly dived into the water leaving me trapped and having to scramble back over the wall in a slightly undignified fashion. The fishermen on the reservoir clearly were not adjusting well to the ‘flying wind’ that had appeared. One boat was rowing and motoring right into the wind and still being blown backwards with another about to crash into a nearby rock whilst the driver was shouting many profanities and attempting to unhook his line from someone else’s.

IDCIM100GOPRO quickly entered wall-less territory and was able to take a leisurely stroll up towards Logan Burn admiring on my right the view of the hills that earlier on I had been foiled from climbing. My time was limited by the fact I was relying on multiple forms of public transport to get home again and not wanting to miss the last bus for over two hours I headed back towards the road resisting the urge to go and check out the ‘danger zone’ marked on my map which turned out to be rifle ranges. A short bus ride later I returned to the hustle and bustle of Saturday shopping in Edinburgh and re-enacted my earlier platform run so as to catch the high speed train headed to Inverurie and head home to a warm drink and, as it transpires some very tasty fajitas made by my lovely housemates.

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