The Pentland Hills & Edinburgh
The Pentlands are a range of hills that run south-west from just below Edinburgh for approx 20 miles through Midlothian towards Biggar in South Lanarkshire. The range is bounded by the A70 to the north and west and by the A702 to the south and east. In 1984 the Pentland Hills Regional Park was created to cover 90 km² of the northern end of the hills.
The Pentlands close proximity to Edinburgh makes it a popular location for a variety of outdoor pursuits. Apart from walking, mountain biking, fishing and horse riding there is also the Midlothian Snowsports Centre with an artificial ski slope, the longest of its type in Europe, situated on the northern flanks of Caerketton Hill.
Compared to other ranges in the Southern Uplands the Pentlands are fairly modest in altitude, the highest point being 579m (1900ft) on Scald Law. In addition to Scald Law there are a number of other summits that rise above the 500m mark including Carnethy Hill, East Cairn Hill, West Cairn Hill, Byrehope Mount and the shapely pairing of East and West Kip. At the northern end of the range, closest to Edinburgh, is also the popular Allermuir Hill which is supposed to feature stunning views of the capital.
Just over 5 miles north-west of Allermuir Hill, almost in the heart of Edinburgh stands Arthur's Seat, the highest of a small range of hills, that includes the dramatic Salisbury Crags, that were formed by an extinct volcano over 350 million years ago. Although only 251m (823ft) in height Arthur's Seat really is a mountain in miniature as it rears high above Holyrood Park. The views of the city from the summit are superb.
My one and only walk so far in the Pentlands was on a beautiful April day in 2009. After a pleasant initial walk up past Loganlea Reservoir I then enjoyed a tremendous ridge walk over the Kips, Scald Law, Carnethy Hill and Turnhouse Hill. It was a memorable day with stunning views and is still probably one of my favourite walks. Given the chance I would like to explore some more of the Pentlands. I've also been lucky enough to do the smashing little walk on to Arthur's Seat. The people of Edinburgh really are lucky to have such a great little hill in the city and the Pentlands so close to hand as well.