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West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

West Cairn Hill, Pentlands


Postby denfinella » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:31 pm

One of the remaining hills on my list to do before travel restrictions end is West Cairn Hill in the Pentlands (as opposed to better known East Cairn Hill).

I reckon the best circuit would be starting from West Linton. Then use the Cross Borders Drove Road via Baddinsgill Reservoir to Cauldstane Slap, then West Cairn Hill - Craigengar - Fadden - Catstone - North Slipperfield - West Linton.

There appears to be a track from Craigengar onwards, though I'm not sure of the quality. And I think there's probably a path up West Cairn Hill too. That leaves a pathless section between West Cairn Hill and Craigengar - has anyone here walked between these two summits, and how was it?

Or can anyone recommend a better route? I'm not massively keen on approaching from the north - it's quite a dull path and there's no obvious circular route.
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby nigheandonn » Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:00 pm

I haven't done that bit, but the Cicerone Pentlands guide includes a similar walk (back from Craigengar over Byrehope Mount to Baddinsgill), and just says that it's a bit boggy - but so is a lot of the rest.

I did it years ago as a detour from a full crossing of the Cauldstane Slap, finishing at Kirknewton station, which was an interesting trip but not at all circular - popular wiith Victorian walkers, apparently!
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby jmarkb » Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:24 am

There is a well worn path from Caulstane Slap to the summit of WCH on the S side of the wall: initially pretty boggy but improving higher up. There is then a reasonable path along the ridge heading SW, which is a very enjoyable section. At the end of the ridge it is best not to take a very direct line towards the summit of Craigengar - the col contains a lot of deep pathless heather. Instead, stay on the E side of the fence, past Wolf Craigs, making the best of sketchy bits of path and buggy tracks to reach the col between Craigengar and Byrehope Mount. There is then a rough path from here up to the cairns at the east end of Craigengar and on to the summit.

The track over Catstone marked on the map extends in reality a bit further over the top of Fadden, but from Craigengar to there is rough pathless terrain - the dotted line on the 1:25k map does not seem to correspond to anything on the ground. Thankfully it doesn't last too long! The rest of the circuit is easy walking on good tracks/minor roads.

Another option from Wolf Craigs is to go over Byrehope Mount and King's Seat, dropping down to meet the track by West Water Reservoir.
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby denfinella » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:46 pm

Thank you both, that's really useful info.

It sounds like descending via Wolf Craigs - Byrehope Mount - track along West Water Reservoir might be more pleasant then, especially as Google satellite view suggests the track above the reservoir now extends all the way to the burn flowing southwest from the col between Byrehope Mount and King Seat.

I've walked bits and pieces of the route before, such as up to West Water Reservoir and also the Thieves Road to Cauldstane Slap, so it will be nice to put it all together as a circular walk (I hope!). The ground was notably dry when I was out walking at the weekend, so another week of settled weather and it might be a good time to visit this boggy corner of the Pentlands...
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby weedavie » Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:20 pm

I've done it by bus from Edinburgh. West Linton King Seat, Byrehope, Wolf Craigs, West Cairn, East Cairn, Bore Stane, Kitchen Moss, Balerno and the 44 back into town. I'd not get overenthused by the last few miles.
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby denfinella » Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:16 am

weedavie wrote:I've done it by bus from Edinburgh. West Linton King Seat, Byrehope, Wolf Craigs, West Cairn, East Cairn, Bore Stane, Kitchen Moss, Balerno and the 44 back into town. I'd not get overenthused by the last few miles.


Hopefully better in descent!
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby jmarkb » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:07 pm

denfinella wrote:Thank you both, that's really useful info.

It sounds like descending via Wolf Craigs - Byrehope Mount - track along West Water Reservoir might be more pleasant then, especially as Google satellite view suggests the track above the reservoir now extends all the way to the burn flowing southwest from the col between Byrehope Mount and King Seat.


You are very welcome!

The buggy track that passes just W of Wolf Craigs does actually lead to the fence corner at NT103556 on Byrehope Mount: it's not obvious from below.
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Re: West Cairn Hill, Pentlands

Postby denfinella » Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:37 pm

Good to know - thanks.

I'd pencilled this route in for Saturday but may save it for the future now that travel restrictions are being lifted on Friday.
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