It's difficult to put a date as to when this began. It must be five, six maybe seven years ago I started walking in the Pentland Hills, just outside Edinburgh. Someone lent me a copy of the Cicerone Giude to the Pentlands which sparked my interest. I had dabbled with such things as the West Highland Way before, but at the time that was a one off. I suppose the attraction, full time, came after those first few visits to the Pentlands. Only ten minutes or less from the city, yet after only half an hours walking you could be isolated by the hills with not a sign of Edinburgh anywhere! Although certainly not the highest mountains in the world, they do have a couple of cheeky wee climbs, and a full circuit is about fifteen miles covering fourteen tops, which easily makes it a good 7-8 hour day out! Scald law at 579 metres above sea level is the highest of the Pentland Hills and I still "touch" the trig point when I pass it, even though I've been there many times. Although my favourite place are The Kips, East and West, especially West Kip at the dizzy height of 551 metres, with it's little ridge and steep (ish!) sides; a mountain in miniature made even more beautiful with a sprinkling of snow.
Or looking down over The Howe onto Loganlea reservoir (as above), with CastleLaw (centre) and Caerketton way over to the left, you would have no idea Edinburgh was just a stones throw away. I always find it amazing the number of people I speak to who live in Edinburgh and have never set foot in the Pentands, or even know how to get there! Maybe that's their loss, but should you ever need to find peace, solitude and great scenery ten minutes from Edinburgh then take a trip to the Pentland Hills. And hey, it's free and it might just get rid of that beer belly you've been meaning to do something about for years! For more information, check out the Cicerone guide to the Pentlands.