General descriptionThis is an excellent walk, with good views not only of the surrounding hills, both to Edinburgh, where the Castle and Arthurs Seat can be seen, and off to the east where Traprain Law and North Berwick Law stick out above the flatter coastal area.
Getting there and Parking
Gladhouse Reseroir is easily reached from Edinburgh. If travelling from the City By-pass, take either the Dechmont or Straiton cut off's, and head for Penicuick, then from the A701 take the B7026 almost to Howgate, before taking the B6372 to Upper Side, and thence to the reservoir.
There are parking areas marked on the map at the north of Gladhouse Reservoir, and any of these can be used. There is an additional unmarked area north of the boathouse, at NT 308 542, which is the one I used. Be careful when putting your boots on here, as it seems to be a haven for dog walkers who like to leave their 'doings' everywhere!
Set off south, on the singletrack road to Mauldslie Farm, and where the road ends at the two farms, you continue south west, following the signpost and the newly scarred track, through some strip woodland to a prominent re-entrant on the hillside which faces you, and takes you up on the opposite side of the burn from a distinctive C shaped plantation.
At the top of the re-entrant, roughly grid NT 316 515, you will come across the signs of grouse shooting, with shooting butts sticking out of the rather bleak moorland. Head south or south east from here across the moorland for around 300 or 400 metres, where you will come across a fence, and from here the top of Blackhope Scar becomes visible. This fence follows the line marked on the map as a county boundary all the way to the top. Cross over the fence and head south west. Keep the fence on your right hand side and you have an unmissable handrail feature right to the top, and with the more difficuly map reading out of the way you can enjoy the views, to the Pentlands, the Lammermuirs or the nearby windfarm on Emly Hill. A short ascent will bring you to the top, which is marked by a triangulation pillar, and this area can be boggy when wet.
Descend following the fence again, for about 1.8km, then cross the fence and head west and pick up the track which runs down a steep glen, below "The Kipps", and follow this down the glen to a fork in the track, where there is a hut. Here you head north, following the River South Esk, past the striking remains of Hirendean Castle, which are worth visiting, to Moorfoot. Before arriving at Moorfoot, it's worth taking a glance back to Gladhouse Cottage, and the hills behind it, which are now at their most impressive.
Care should be taken at Moorfoot Farm, as the path could be easily lost, and you should be on the lookout for a sign directing you to Huntly Cot. Heading north along a tree lined track, it then swings around to the west across the river, and through a gate to Huntly Cot Lodge. There are helpful signs which should keep you on the track which goes south east from Huntly Cot Lodge, before heading north along the edge of a small plantation, to a gate at NT 306 526. From here it a short 500m to return to Mauldslie Farm, and a northward journey back to the car, a round trip of around 16 Km (10 miles).
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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.