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A Tour of the North Pentlands

A Tour of the North Pentlands


Postby past my sell by date » Sat Oct 02, 2021 10:07 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Allermuir Hill

Date walked: 26/09/2021

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12.6 km

Ascent: 701m

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Having been uprooted from Perthshire to Edinburgh as a result of my landlord's sale of my house, The Pentlands are now my local walking domain, and although they are far less wild than the hills round Strathearn, they do have enough gradient to keep me relatively fit.
Having discovered where most of the countless paths lead I decided to do a traverse of all the North summits starting at Swanston and finishing at Torduff reservoir

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Donna dropped me at the parking area and I made my way through the village and up the path across the golfcourse.
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Refurbished old cottages in the village
Although you can walk up the main path and take a Left, I much prefer to wander up through the Tee wood - planted by the Trotter family in memory of a member killed in WWI. - it is actually in the form of a cross but due to the slope of the hill it looks Tee shaped both from Edinburgh and from above.
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Lower section of the Tee wood
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Upper section
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From the exit looking up to Caerketton crags's main peak (above) and looking back down (below)
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Zoomed - the sun shines on the cables of the Queensferry crossing
The path takes you up to a point on the East ridge of the hill near the top of the Hillside skilift
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A nice little seat to sit on and admire the view: you can go straight up from here but it's quite steep and you can also take this "cheaty" path (upper picture) which omits the first summit. However, just around the corner an easier angled path heads diagonally up - there is still a steep section but it's quite short
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Looking back down the diagonal path - a bit bizarre seeing skiers setting off down the slope at this time of year
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The first summit looking towards the main one - The stones on these hills are all rather small and angular so don't provide much in the way of seats :(
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Looking SW towards Castlelaw and the Southern Pentlands beyond. The wind was blowing strongly from this direction and slowed me down a lot: holding the camera steady was quite a problem
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Caerketton main peak looking on towards Allermuir
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The Tee wood from Caerketton
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Allermuir is about 1km away: the path traverses a third top and jinks about a quite a bit
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The aptly named windy door nick :lol:
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Allermuir summit looking back to Caerketton
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And looking South to Castlelaw
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My natural continuation would be over Capelaw and Harbour hill (just peeping up behind), but to complete all the Northern tops Castlelaw was a must
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I descended to the gate where you enter "army" territory - there was no red flag flying :D : Last time I was on Allermuir I could hear what sounded like machinegun fire :lol: :lol:
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I followed the drab road past Fala Knowe, but soon forked right on a grassy track
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A short climb took me to Castlelaw summit - but the weather was deteriorating fast and the there seem to be rain showers on the way
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Capelaw is a long flat-topped hill - but there isn't a lot of hight to gain
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Back at the gate - this time I kept Left
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The route up Capelaw - but by the time I reached the top it was drizzling so I descended to Bonaly and returned a couple of days later to complete the route. It was nice and sunny and much less windy :D :D
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Back on Capelaw looking back to Allermuir
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And further R to Fala Knowe and Castlelaw
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Further R still to the Southern Pentlands - they always seem to be in the shade :( :lol:
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Bonaly reservoir surrounded by pinewoods
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On to Harbour hill with Black Hill behind just L of centre
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Descending from Capelaw the route up Harbour hill
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Harbour hill - looking back to Capelaw
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And to Castlelaw
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To the East , Harlaw and Threipmuir reservoirs (above)and (below) Bonaly reservoir again
There is a fence with two layers of barbed wire running North South down this hill and the only place to cross is at the Northern end :( . The Pentlands seem stuffed with barbed wire - maybe the sheep are particularly athletic - some crossings have been created using rubber hose but more are needed
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With the ubiquitous paths, it is quite difficult to find any "off piste" in the area but this section is one: I headed down towards the gap in the trees and Clubbiedean reservoir. It's only just over a Km, but at this time of year the grass is at its deepest and I took my time
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Getting nearer - you can see the water through the trees and behind is Warklaw hill - with the mast - above Torphin - but there's another wire topped wall to surmount :( . previously I had gone through a gate down to the Right - but this little bit of fence at the edge of the pine trees bore obvious signs of "traffic": I climbed over and descended the field
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Clubbiedean is a nice little reservoir in a gently sloping valley - and surrounded by Scots pine woods. There is a cafe open at weekends at the bottom end , but I walked across the dam to get a view back up.
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The route now follows a short road section through forest
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To Torduff reservoir which by contrast has quite steep rocky sides
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A solitary swan
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At the far end the light had gone and I couldn't get a view back up - but Arthurs Seat looked resplendant in the evening sun
As I did the route in two parts and the wind was a major hindrance on the first day , the time I have given is only approximate - a throughly varied and enjoyable walk though
Last edited by past my sell by date on Mon Oct 18, 2021 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
past my sell by date
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby dav2930 » Sun Oct 03, 2021 11:20 am

Sorry to hear you've been uprooted from Perthshire. The Pentlands do look very nice, though, going by your rather fine photos. Must have a look at them myself one of these days, not being so far distant. Not bad to have as your local walking domain! :)
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dav2930
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby RiverSong » Sun Oct 03, 2021 3:56 pm

That’s a great walk you did and I absolutely love your photos of a place that is very special to me. Well done, hope you post more of your walks in that area 👍
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby past my sell by date » Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:07 pm

dav2930 wrote:Sorry to hear you've been uprooted from Perthshire. The Pentlands do look very nice, though, going by your rather fine photos. Must have a look at them myself one of these days, not being so far distant. Not bad to have as your local walking domain! :)



Hi Dave - the Pentlands are nice - and apart from the occasional barbed wire fence***, very "well mannered" - ideal for a hill walker in his dotage. However in Perthshire I had maybe a couple of thousand Sq Km in which to roam. Here it's much near one hundred. Still on most days you can see the silhouettes of the Loch Earn and Crianlarich hills quite clearly :D and something to the North that I think maybe Ben -a -Ghlo: I need to take my binoculars

*** I guess the barbed wire helps prevent sheep worrying - I'm sure there are a lot of dogs about, but i really don't think it's needed around woods :(
Riversong
Thanks for the Reply - glad you enjoyed it :)
Last edited by past my sell by date on Sun Oct 10, 2021 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
past my sell by date
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Posts: 909
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby jmarkb » Sat Oct 09, 2021 7:08 pm

Thanks for posting - despite being a local, and having done a lot of walking in the Pentlands during lockdowns, I didn't know there was a feasible route directly between Harbour Hill and Clubbiedean Reservoir, despite the barbed wire obstacles.

past my sell by date wrote:and something to the North that I think maybe Ben -a -Ghlo: I need to take my binoculars


Yes, Beinn a' Ghlo is quite prominent in the view to the north - it is even visible from Blackford and Braids Hills in Edinburgh. On a really clear day you can see Braeriach and Cairn Toul from the northern Pentlands, just to the right of Beinn a' Ghlo - easiest to pick out in Spring time when they still have some snow cover.
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby rockhopper » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:42 pm

Enjoyed your report 👍 Was through in Edinburgh many times when our elder son was at the university for 8 years and kept thinking I should stop off in the Pentlands but never did. Really must make the effort - looks a great area for a wander - cheers :)
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Re: A Tour of the North Pentlands

Postby past my sell by date » Mon Oct 11, 2021 10:59 pm

jmarkb wrote:Thanks for posting - despite being a local, and having done a lot of walking in the Pentlands during lockdowns, I didn't know there was a feasible route directly between Harbour Hill and Clubbiedean Reservoir, despite the barbed wire obstacles.

past my sell by date wrote:and something to the North that I think maybe Ben -a -Ghlo: I need to take my binoculars


Yes, Beinn a' Ghlo is quite prominent in the view to the north - it is even visible from Blackford and Braids Hills in Edinburgh. On a really clear day you can see Braeriach and Cairn Toul from the northern Pentlands, just to the right of Beinn a' Ghlo - easiest to pick out in Spring time when they still have some snow cover.

Mark
where there's a will there's a way: and you know that following a standard route is anathema to me :lol: :lol:
I've done it several times - flushed up a pair of short eared owls on one occasion - but I' ve found that the further North the easier the terrain - so it's best to descend to the edge of the woods around Bonaly reservoir before heading Left.
And yes - it's amazing how far you can see - especially in winter when the air is clear
RH
Yes now that you've done the Corbetts you can afford the time to mosie round the Pentlands - it's pleasantly untroubled walking :D :D
past my sell by date
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