Friday 9 April 2010

Walk in the Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh

For an easy day trip from the Scottish capital, catch a bus from Charlotte Square in the heart of Edinburgh, through the genteel Victorian suburb of Morningside, south to the edge of the Pentland Hills. Tickets are cheap - four adults and five kids can make the return journey for just £11.You should get out opposite the Flotterstone Inn, which is less than 30 minutes ride from Charlotte Square. A path winds its way past the pub up into the inviting foothills. On route, you can take a short detour down into a forest glade to see a lively man-made waterfall. After a mile or so, you will come upon a picturesque resevoir complete with a small wooded island that is straight out of Swallows & Amazons. Here, you are encircled by the modest Pentland peaks.  At times, the landscape feels like a miniature Lake District, while at others you'll be reminded of the Yorkshire Dales.

Heart-warming views
You can have a picnic, sheltered by the trees and the stone wall that surround the resevoir, watching the small fishing boats out on the water. Around you, the green slopes, laced with streams, are just steep enough to make them feel a little wild. Be sure to climb up one of the peaks, avoiding the poorly-fenced off military practice area, and take in the heart-warming views. The bus only runs a few times a day, so be careful to leave enough time to catch it back to Edinburgh. If you are early, you can have a drink in the disappointing Flotterstone Inn, which doesn't have enough seats to accomodate all the weekend walkers and the decor is dated. You may end up shivering in the beer garden. 8/10