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Recently I wrote about hiking Arthur’s Seat, which I though was great. But Holyrood has nothing on the Pentlands. I already consider Scotland as the most beautiful place in the world I’ve been to (still have Iceland and New Zealand on the bucket list), and some parts are simply exquisite.
The northern edge of these rolling hills are located a mere 7 km south from the city center of Edinburgh. Covering 90 km², the terrain provides the perfect setting for a scene in a fantasy novel. There are over 100 km of trails throughout the park (click for map), and camping is allowed.
There are many parking spots and trails into the park. My friend and I parked at the Flotterstone Information Center on the eastern border of the park, and hiked 6 km around Glencorse Reservoir. Parking is free, but I can only imagine the spots fill up on warm days. To get there, drive straight down A702. There is also bus 47, which you can take to Mauricewood Road, but then you’ll have to walk 2 km to the park entrance.
We covered only a tiny portion of the trails, but every moment was magical. Near the beginning the trail, if you go off the beaten path a little ways, you find an idyllic waterfall cascading into a secluded glen. Just think of the Woodland Realm from Lord of the Rings to get an idea. The best part is it’s in a portion of the Pentlands not exactly accessible, so chances are you’ll be alone.
After the waterfall you’ll arrive at the reservoir, where you can find angle fishing throughout the year – when the lake isn’t frozen over. And when the wind is calm, you’ll see some of the most spectacular reflections on the water. To be honest, there just enough adjectives in the language to describe the beauty here.
I highly recommend visiting the Pentlands in April, which is lambing season. The hills, which are primary used for sheep grazing, were covered with cute little lambs chasing after their mommies. Just keep your dog on a short leash at this time, or in the seasons for bird nesting, grouse shooting and sheep tupping. Basically most of the year.
As to the rest of the Pentlands, I have yet to explore myself. Maybe you’ll beat me to it, and I’ll get to see your photos first. Feel free to share your story below.