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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:33 pm
by nigheandonn
I'll have to get out of the habit of writing up local wanderings at some point, but the problem is that if it's somewhere I haven't been before, it's interesting to me - this one was mostly a wander through the back roads, but took in a little viewpoint summit that caught my eye from somewhere or other long ago, and again on the map more recently.

I headed west by way of the canal and through the grounds of Heriot Watt, where I took a very inefficient route, but stumbled over what remains of the gardens of the old Riccarton House.


On the other side the road went from farm to farm, all straight lines and sharp corners, and my hill objective was in view.

At the end of the road

This was a pleasant wander, beside an old wall that was presumably the back of the Dalmahoy estate and past occasional buildings - there were some pretty things to be seen in the verges, but this posing butterfly was one of the most eyecatching.

Peacock butterfly

I turned off the road at Dalmahoy Mains, crossing a little bridge over the railway line. From here the hill looks pretty unassailable, but on the map it looked as if a path led up through the woods and onto the hillside on the ridgeline.

The steep side

This was not exactly the case, and although the woods were a nice sunshiny place at first I ended up climbing through a lot of nettles to end up at the fence of the quarry workings (which told me that they were not a playground, but since I didn't want to play and they had a nice solid track I climbed in anyway).

In the woods

The quarry workings seem to wind right round this side of the hill, and there was a strange kind of rails as well as a lot of steep overgrown slope between me and the top of the hill, so I just followed the track down instead - fortunately through the Sunday quiet. I was expected to get out the other side, but just before the gate a little path led up on the quarry's side of the fence.

The first top

Both on the map and on the ground the path seemed to lead on between the two hills, so I headed up onto the little top nearest to me, only to meet a path again further up. From here it suddenly became a real hill in miniature - a rocky top which wouldn't disgrace a hill three times the size.

A real rocky summit

Although it's a small hill it's the highest point for quite a distance around, although a lot of the distant view was hiding in the haze.

The three little rocky tops seemed oddly lined up to point straight at Arthur's Seat in the distance.

Dalmahoy Hill summit

From here the Siamese twin Kaimes Hill hardly looked like a hill at all, although the map shows it not much lower.

Over Kaimes Hill

The most impressive part of the view, somehow, was the great bowl of lower land ringed by the two Cairn Hills and Auchinoon Hill - a real feeling of space stretching out.


From the path between the two hills I passed into a sheep field through a gap in the wall, and then over the fence in the top corner where a gate had been fastened shut. Kaimes Hill turned out to be really quite odd - more obviously the remains of a hill fort at first than Dalmahoy Hill, but then an odd strip of higher ground towards and even odder rocky outcrop.

Odd shapes

A steep little path leads onto the narrow top, which is odder still and quite obviously the result of quarrying, with the north side all loose rock - one particularly narrow place felt quite precarious. It's not very like what is shown on the map, and the highest point wasn't obvious - probably perched right on the edge, where I didn't quite dare to go.

Kaimes Hill summit

There didn't seem to be any way down the far side to meet the lane which ran from there, whatever the map might show, so I retraced my steps, turning down towards the track before the path in the col, but after the slope had eased off quite a bit - along the way I met another butterfly which took my fancy, much smaller than the peacocks and tortoiseshells that mostly seem to be around.

Small Copper butterfly

Instead of retracing my route through the minor roads on the way back I turned right down to the A71, and made the very small detour to stand in West Lothian just for the sake of it.

Although it was a very warm summer's day the colours were definitely turning towards autumn.

Hay in the sunshine

My main objective on this road was the cross slab in the grounds of the little church at Dalmahoy.

Cross slab

It looks quite at home there, but it predates the Victorian church by several centuries, having been dug up in a field nearby, and apparently has features in common with similar crosses on Iona.

A bit further along the road was the odd doocot near the gates of Addistoun House.

Addistoun doocot

To get back to the canal I turned down onto a track from Addiston Mains to a little bridge, passing another harvest scene - I'd worried a bit that the bridge would be blocked off, but it was fine, although I had to wriggle through a hole in the fence to get down to the towpath.

Red, gold and green

(I thought I'd found a clever way to get from the canal to South Gyle without going right round by Sighthill, via the underpass at Gogarbank, but although it did work out it wasn't very pleasant, and there was a lot of building work going on at the South Gyle side - not really any better...)

It turns out that older maps show Kaimes Hill as the higher of the two, 259m to Dalmahoy's 246m, so presumably something odd really has been going on to explain the map's confusion.