The Pentland Hills

South of the Braid Hills, beyond the City Bypass, are Edinburgh's Pentland Hills, a serious range of hills, remote in parts, rising to almost 2,000 ft and which stretch around 16 miles from the outskirts of Edinburgh to Lanarkshire. The hills offer relatively painless climbs and you'll be rewarded with magnificent views once you reach the top.

On the northern slopes of the Pentlands is the village of Swanston, a huddle of 18th-century thatched, whitewashed cottages. The largest of these, Swanston Cottage, was the holiday home of the Stevenson family, where the sickly young Robert Louis spent his summers. There are many paths up to the various Pentland summits and round the lochs and reservoirs. One of the many walks is described above, but if you want to explore more fully there are many books about the Pentlands, including 25 Walks in Edinburgh and Lothian (HMSO, 1995). Ordnance Survey Landranger Map no 66 covers the area.

The main access is by the A702, which passes the Midlothian Ski Centre at Hillend. There's a marked walking trail up to the ski slope, or you can take the chair lift. At the top of the slope it's a short walk to Caerketton Hill for fantastic panormaic views of Edinburgh, the Firth of Forth and the hills of Fife and Stirlingshire.