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East Cairn Hill is situated on the western flank of the Pentland Hills and is officially the highest hill in Edinburgh.
It may seem strange to say ‘the highest hill in Edinburgh’ as it’s a good distance away from the ancient city, but the summit is a meeting point for the borders of three council areas within the region – Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Lothian.
Only a 50-minute drive from the city centre, this three-to-four-hour circular walk encompasses some fantastic views of the three local areas as well mountains further afield.
If you can handle some boggy terrain and vague sheep trails for paths, then read on! The walk starts just outside Baddinsgill Farm, where parking is limited but due to the remoteness of the area it shouldn’t be a problem.
Just don’t block gates or farm tracks.
Follow the road north-west before turning northerly into the trees and through the farm.
Continue up the road following the GPS file passed the farmhouse and onto more open terrain.
The paved road starts to end, and you’ll enter onto a rough farm track up into the hills.
You’ll be following this direction mostly to get to East Cairn Hill, crossing some small boggy areas and streams.
There are many trails and paths that deviate off from your trail so continually check the map.
After a coming to a fence, you’ll make a sharp right turn to start ascending towards East Cairn Hill summit.
Yes, you are in Scotland and Scotland is the only country in the world to have near vertical bogs.
Plod your way through the bog to the summit and admire the views.
Head east, going up and down saddles and minor summits.
Traverse the south-eastern face of Weather Law (519m), cross a big bog (some ninja moves are required to get through this one with dry feet) and ascend The Mount (537m).
Enjoy more views before treading south along the ridge leading up to the final summit of the day, Mount Maw (534m).
Enjoy a selfie and sandwich at the summit before descending the southern ridge down passed Faw Mount (416m) and drop down to the road.
Here, swing a left to follow the trail south before taking a sharp right to follow the path to a wooden bridge in the corner of the field and make your way back to the car.
This hike and guide were completed during autumn weather conditions.
This is just one opinion of this route.
Make sure to do your own research by consulting local internet resources, mountain guides or guidebooks to evaluate other opinions so you can be best prepared for the terrain. A Guide by Red