Pentland Hills (© 2010 Gyula Péter)
© 2010 Gyula Péter

The Pentland Hills

The Pentland Hills Regional Park, located in the south-west of Edinburgh, is a great place to visit and explore. It’s an impressive landscape with a range of hills that was shaped over time by glaciers and water. The park covers an area of 90 sq. km. Its highest peak, Scald Law, is 579m high.

The park is a protected area home to farms and forestry developments; it’s also open to the public for recreational activities such as hiking, cycling, horse riding, fishing and golfing.

There you will find easy walking and cycling routes suitable for families as well as challenging hiking routes and steep and rough cycle paths.

It doesn’t matter if you are coming for a family picnic or for hiking all hills, remind yourself this is a huge park and it’s easier to get lost than you can imagine. You should take the necessary steps to ensure a memorable and safe visit.

If you want to enjoy the most of your visit, we recommend you to follow these steps:

Check the Weather Forecast

You could head to the hills on a nice sunny morning just to find out that the weather changes all of a sudden and it starts raining. The best is to check a detailed forecast where it specifies what to expect at different times of the day. Avoid times where gusts are expected.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Wind and waterproof clothing is essential. Walking in the valleys is not the same as strolling on the hills, so be prepared. Dress in thinner layers is the best way to go. Fleece, hat and gloves are important as well.

Don’t underestimate the importance of good footwear!

Know Where to Go

The best way to start is by visiting one of the 2 visitor centres in the park, where you will find maps, cycling routes and other important information about the area. Always carry a map with you. Although you will find signs in parts of the routes, it’s important to know exactly where you are.

If you don’t have good map reading skills choose shorter routes and/or just choose a destination and when you reach it return through the same route. 

Time it

If you are going uphill, your hike may take longer than you expect. Always be aware of the time, especially the hour of sunset.

Be Prepared

A small backpack with food and water is of course important, but you should also consider bringing a first aid kit, a torch and a whistle.

In emergency, the distress signal is six whistle blasts (or torch flashes), at one minute intervals.


We all rely so much on our mobile phones either to contact people or to simply check online Maps and use as a GPS.

The only problem is that there are many areas where mobile reception is low or zero. Don’t take the risk. Let your family or friends know exactly what time you expect to return and your planned route.

Respect the Nature

Be careful not to alarm farm animals, horses or wildlife. Additional care should be taken during lambing season (April to June), bird nesting season (April to July) and tupping (November to December).

We don’t need to mention that whatever you bring, please take back with you.

How to get there: 

Take the bus 44 Balerno at Haymarket Train Station OR take the bus 101 or 102 Dumfries on Home St (Tollcross)

Descending to The Howe, Pentland Hills (© Jim Barton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.)
© Jim Barton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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