Scenic Strolls in Edinbrugh's Pentland Hills

A selection of wonderful and - at times - wild-feeling hikes within easy reach of Scotland's capital city.

Red Evans


Looking up towards Caerketton Hill

Nothing too strenuous on the ascent

Great views of Edinburgh

A gentle ridge but boggy in places

The weather turns quickly up here

A really detailed map pointing out all the prominent features in the area

Follow the path down Swanston Burn

Car parking just off from the cattle grid

Follow the farm tracks up into the hills

The fence leading up to East Cairn Hill summit

Views just coming off the eastern trail of East Cairn Hill

Views looking across to Edinburgh and Scald Law

Descending Mount Maw

View from the bridge crossing the stream and back up to the cars

The Ranger centre with a small cafe

Looking up towards Turnhouse Hill (506m)

The view halfway up Turnhouse Hill (506m)

Gorgeous views of the flatlands below

The summit at Scald Law (579m)

Cross this stile when descending down to the reservoir

Views from the reservoir looking up towards Scald Law (579m)

Meander your way back to the car park


A major tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors from all over the globe, the City of Edinburgh is like no other. The Scottish capital boasts some incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site listed architecture as well as the famous Edinburgh Fringe festival that provides art and entertainment for thousands. To the southwest of this ancient city lies the Pentland Hills. Although not as famous as the Cairngorms or Loch Lomond within the Scottish Highlands, the Pentlands offer around thirty kilometres of rolling hills and excellent views overlooking the City of Edinburgh itself and further afield. For Dunediners (the term for Edinburgh locals) or passing tourists, the Pentland Hills offer a short drive away from the busy city centre and chance to explore one of Scotland’s lesser-known regional parks.

To best access the park, the A702 road that splits off due south from the A720 (City of Edinurgh bypass) leads along the south-eastern border of the Pentlands. From here, car parking is scattered along this stretch of road and due to the popularity of this area, trails can be found easily with good signage.

This FATMAP guidebook has selected three local hikes for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the local area. If the weather is on your side, then some excellent views of Scotland are to be found. Remember you are in Scotland and trying to predict the weather here is like trying to eat soup with a fork – a challenge. Furthermore, although these hikes are close to the city and within easy access; adidas trainers, tracksuit bottoms and a plastic carrier bag containing fizzy pop and Haribo will only get you cold, wet and infuriate the local mountain rescue team so don’t be one of those people. Here’s a quick lowdown of the three chosen routes: Allermuir Hill (493m) – close to the city and excellent views of Edinburgh and beyond, mildly boggy. Scald Law (579m) – highest hill in the Pentlands with some beautiful Lochs, moderately boggy. East Cairn Hill (567m) – a longer day out for those looking to cover some mileage, practically swimming in bogs.