A Tour of the North Pentlands

Sub 2000s: Allermuir Hill

Date walked: 26/09/2021

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 12.6km

Ascent: 701m

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.
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.
Lower section of the Tee wood
Upper section
From the exit looking up to Caerketton crags's main peak (above) and looking back down (below)
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
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
Looking back down the diagonal path - a bit bizarre seeing skiers setting off down the slope at this time of year
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 :(
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
Caerketton main peak looking on towards Allermuir
The Tee wood from Caerketton
Allermuir is about 1km away: the path traverses a third top and jinks about a quite a bit
The aptly named windy door nick :lol:
Allermuir summit looking back to Caerketton
And looking South to Castlelaw
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
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:
I followed the drab road past Fala Knowe, but soon forked right on a grassy track
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
Capelaw is a long flat-topped hill - but there isn't a lot of hight to gain
Back at the gate - this time I kept Left
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
Back on Capelaw looking back to Allermuir
And further R to Fala Knowe and Castlelaw
Further R still to the Southern Pentlands - they always seem to be in the shade :( :lol:
Bonaly reservoir surrounded by pinewoods
On to Harbour hill with Black Hill behind just L of centre
Descending from Capelaw the route up Harbour hill
Harbour hill - looking back to Capelaw
And to Castlelaw
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
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
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
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.
The route now follows a short road section through forest
To Torduff reservoir which by contrast has quite steep rocky sides
A solitary swan
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

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Comments: 6

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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Ben Shieldaig
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Attachment(s) Corbetts: Fuar Tholl
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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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Ascent: 400m
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Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More
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Attachment(s) Grahams: Beinn Dearg
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past my sell by date

Activity: Mountaineer
Mountain: Weisshorn
Place: Torridon
Member: FRCC, John Muir Trust, Woodland Trust, Border Forest Trust
Camera: Lumix G6
Ideal day out: remote mountain where i'm unlikely to meet many people

Munros: 282
Corbetts: 85
Grahams: 27
Donalds: 6
Wainwrights: 159
Hewitts: 146
Sub 2000: 6

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Joined: Apr 24, 2013
Last visited: Jan 19, 2022
Total posts: 924 | Search posts