Edinburgh is a special city, not least because of its proximity to nature. I’m not talking parks and gardens here (although it has some lovely ones), but actual countryside: cow and sheep fields, wild forests, dramatic mountains. The city has seven hills within its borders and just beyond them lies a full 20 miles of beautiful, undulating, rural landscape called the Pentland Hills.
These are just half an hour’s drive from our home in South Queensferry so make the perfect spot for some impromptu hillwalking and fresh air. This weekend we had just a few hours spare so chose to do the short but sweet Glencorse View walk, which takes you on a circular route from the car park of Flotterstone Visitor Centre, along Glencorse Reservoir and up along the ridge of Castleview Hill.
From the car park you begin by walking through young woodland that emerges onto wide grassy fields. The path next takes you past some kind of bovine paradise glen, where fluffy cows weave between dense trees and bushes on a hillside above a stream. You pass a cute brick cottage and climb uphill through trees before emerging onto a wide flat path.
Before long you come across the beautiful, mirror-surfaced reservoir, disturbed only by a few anglers and simple wooden rowboats. Behind it sit a cluster of tall sloping hills, patch-worked with dark patches of forest and different shades of green.
After a while the path diverts up Castlelaw Hill, climbing up alongside a dense forest. The path continues along the ridge of the hill, offering lovely views over the glen throughout. After passing by several free-roaming sheep you’re eventually directed back down the hill via a muddy path beside a low, crumbling stone wall.
Continue along the mostly empty road and you soon recognise the fields you started at, signalling the end of the walk and an hour well-spent.
All text and photos (c) Juliet Langton, 2016. All rights reserved.