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Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill


Postby jmarkb » Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:52 pm

Date walked: 11/04/2020

Distance: 10.5 km

Ascent: 300m

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We are fortunate, as city dwellers, to have access to a decent slice of countryside on the south side of town. This area is criss-crossed by a dense network of paths, which makes for a lot of possible variations on a theme, especially while the golf courses are not in use.

To begin, we head south along Mayfield Road and the start of Liberton Brae, then turn off past the Montessori School to get into the fields, where a path leads up to the 15th-century Liberton Tower.

Blackford Hill and the Royal Observatory
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Across the fields to Liberton Tower
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A closer view of Liberton Tower
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The views really open out here:

Craigmillar Castle, East Lothian coast and North Berwick Law
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King's Buildings campus, Salisbury Crags and Arthur's seat
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Edinburgh Castle, Bishop Hill and West Lomond
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Next the Tower there is a field with an interesting collection of animals, including some inquisitive goats:

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and some more aloof llamas:

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Now we cross Braid Hills Drive and take the track alongside the Golf Course, heading for Mortonhall Caravan site.

Meadowhead Farm
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East Lothian
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Few-flowered garlic (or Few-flowered Leek) - a pretty but invasive species that carpets a lot of the woodland hereabouts
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Tuberous comfrey (I think)
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The caravan site is in the former grounds of the very grand Mortonhall House. We follow the drive and then turn right onto a path across the fields, and then path and tracks through the woods on the edge of Fairmilehead and Buckstone.

Mortonhall House
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Next we cross Mortonhall golf course, where a heron is making short work of the frog population in the Elf Loch.

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Superb display of gorse on the south side of Braid Hills
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A short climb leads to the trig point on Braid Hills, the best viewpoint on the walk.

Caerketton and Allermuir Hills
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Across the city and the forth to the Lomond Hills. If you look very closely, you can pick out Beinn a' Ghlo on the far left horizon, behind the wind turbines.
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Arthur's Seat
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Ochils, Forth Bridges and Corstorphine Hill
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Now we cross Braid Hills golf course, and the derelict Hermitage course, before dropping down into Blackford Glen.

Braid Burn in Blackford Glen
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A short steep climb takes us up through the woods and out onto Blackford Hill.

A Peacock butterfly on the path
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Blackford Hill view:
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And finally we head down past the Observatory, under the riduculous archway and through the back streets to home.

Nearly home:
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jmarkb
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Re: Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Postby nigheandonn » Mon Apr 13, 2020 4:26 pm

I used to look at Liberton Tower every day, because it was in the view from my office window, but I never quite got round to finding out if you could go to see it close up, so thank you for that.

The few-flowered leek is also everywhere at Cammo - and seems to have a *lot* of flowers. Maybe there's another leek with even more?

I could wave to you from Corstorphine Hill some day! But I think quite a lot of Edinburgh is lucky enough to have some kind of access to green spaces and even small hills - it's a good city for that.
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Re: Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Postby jmarkb » Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:50 am

nigheandonn wrote:I used to look at Liberton Tower every day, because it was in the view from my office window, but I never quite got round to finding out if you could go to see it close up, so thank you for that.


You're very welcome!

nigheandonn wrote:The few-flowered leek is also everywhere at Cammo - and seems to have a *lot* of flowers. Maybe there's another leek with even more?


I think the name comes from the fact that each stem mostly only has one flower. The closely related Three-cornered Leek/Garlic has more, and looks a bit like a white bluebell: https://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/Flowers/G/Garlic(ThreeCornered)/Garlic(ThreeCornered).htm

nigheandonn wrote: But I think quite a lot of Edinburgh is lucky enough to have some kind of access to green spaces and even small hills - it's a good city for that.


Yes, indeed. Might go to Holyrood Park for a change today!
jmarkb
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Re: Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:16 am

My leek it has three corners, three corners has my leek...
That does make sense, thanks!

I'm thinking of wandering through the parks up Drumbrae - not as wild, but a change of scene :)
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Re: Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Postby RiverSong » Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:34 pm

I enjoyed your photos but missed out on seeing the Pentlands from Braid Hill, it's a fantastic viewpoint for them. Blackford Glen is just a magical place to go for a walk.
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Re: Lockdown wanderings - Braid Hills and Blackford Hill

Postby denfinella » Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:47 pm

We've pretty much done all of your route, in bits, over our last few lockdown walks! :lol:
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