Walking in the Pentland Hills

30 walks in Edinburgh's local hills

By Susan Falconer

Guidebook featuring 30 circular walks on Scotland's Pentland Hills, easily accessible from Edinburgh and home to peaks such as Scald Law and Carnethy Hill. Ranging from 2 to 17 miles, the routes are suitable for all abilities. Written by a local Countryside Ranger, the routes offer interesting and varied walking through diverse landscapes.



All seasons - a mild climate with little snow


Edinburgh, Penicuik, West Linton, Lanark


A basic level of navigational skills is required, but the routes should not cause any wayfinding difficulties. Height mainly 400-550m.
Must See

Must See

Archaeological remains, historical and folkloric associations, castles, literary connections (Scott and RL Stevenson), views from the tops, wildlife
7 Oct 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.1cm
  • Overview

    This guidebook details 30 circular walks in Scotland's Pentland Hills, a range of low summits which extends between Edinburgh and Biggar in South Lanarkshire. Ranging from 3 to 27km (2-17 miles), there is something to suit all abilities from the novice to the experienced hill-walker, with each route showcasing a different aspect of the area's unique character.

    Step-by-step route description is accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping and a wealth of interesting information on the region's rich natural and cultural heritage: its geology, history, wildlife and connections with literary greats such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. Local place names are explained, local folklore explored and there is a helpful glossary of dialect terms.

    The Pentland Hills can be enjoyed in all seasons. Although the highest summit, Scald Law, stands at 579m, stunning vistas belie their modest elevation: this is a region of grass and heather-clad slopes which rise above picturesque valleys hiding streams and reservoirs. Walking in the Pentland Hills is an ideal companion to discovering great walking on Scotland's most accessible hills.

  • Contents

    Approaches and accommodation
    Choosing a walk
    Access rights and responsibilities
    Following a route
    Geology and landscape
    Cultural heritage
    Place names and dialect Words
    Old maps
    Previous Pentlands guidebooks
    Literary Connections with the Pentland Hills
    Protecting and enjoying the hills
    The Walks
    Walk 1 A capital view
    Walk 2 In Stevenson’s footsteps
    Walk 3 Hill, moor and wood
    Walk 4 Three reservoirs
    Walk 5 A phantom walk
    Walk 6 Harlaw Reservoir circuit
    Walk 7 Black Hill, Green Cleuch and Red Moss
    Walk 8 Carnethy and Turnhouse
    Walk 9 Three peaks
    Walk 10 Pentland classic
    Walk 11 Thieves’ Road
    Walk 12 West Linton and Siller Holes
    Walk 13 Roman road
    Walk 14 Covenanters and cairns
    Walk 15 Walking with wolves
    Walk 16 Poets and witches
    Walk 17 North Esk Valley
    Walk 18 The Monks’ Road
    Walk 19 The four tops
    Walk 20 The Carnethy 5
    Walk 21 Carnethy canter
    Walk 22 History in the hills
    Walk 23 Flotterstone and Fala Knowe
    Walk 24 Two cleuchs
    Walk 25 Pentland tops
    Walk 26 Historical hike
    Walk 27 Exploring Caerketton
    Walk 28 Find your way
    Walk 29 Reservoir round
    Walk 30 Robin’s round

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Bibliography
    Appendix C Glossary

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Susan Falconer

Susan Falconer began walking in the Pentlands in her early teens. After graduating with a degree in geography from St Andrews University she began a management career in the Health Service in London. Despite being far from her native country she returned regularly to walk and cycle in Scotland. She trained as a teacher and became Senior Tutor in ecology and geography for the Field Studies Council in Epping Forest. Susan returned to Scotland to take up the post of Countryside Education Officer for the Scottish Agricultural College before becoming a Countryside Ranger with the Pentland Hills Ranger Service in 1995. She enjoys hill walking, cycling and wildlife and contributes articles to the Pentland Beacon and other publications.

View Articles and Books by Susan Falconer