A late start from Edinburgh on a beautiful clear sunny day - I expected to find the carpark (at GR 294527) full - but only one other car. I followed the tarmac road through the farm and then the rough track towards South Esk valley, relieved I had no dog with me (grazing cattle watched me curiously but didn't stir). The track leads on past a cottage on the right then, on the left, the ruins of the peel tower of Hirendean Castle above an unusual 20th century sheep stell.
The track continues south along the River South Esk, climbing very gradually until a left hand fork (just before a brick-built shepherds hut) leads up The Kipps. Where the track began a series of zig-zags, I struck off east at the first 'zig' across rough heather and sphagnum to the boundary fence. Over the next 1.8 km I understood why Pentlands carparks may be full - and mine at Gladhouse Reservoir had been empty! The going was now slow - very wet underfoot, a mixture of sphagnum, peat and heather. Following ATV tracks parallel to the fence, passing a line of well-maintained (and well used) grouse butts, then crossing to the north side of the boundary fence in search of easier ground, I finally gained the trig point.
A great viewpoint - north-west to the Pentlands, Edinburgh, across the Forth to Fife and east to North Berwick Law. To the south, the plateau of the Moorfoots is dotted with wind turbines, with the Cheviot and Tinto Hill in the distance.
Not wishing to face the peat bogs again, instead following sheep tracks and the occasional ATV track, I walked down to rejoin the main track just north of a second shepherds hut at GR 297486. The final walk down the valley was most enjoyable in the autumn sunshine. Back to the carpark beside the still waters of Glencorse Reservoir, and a final glance at the sheep pastures on the plateau of the Moorfoots.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.