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Stay safe

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There are various restrictions currently in place across Scotland to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Full advice can be found on the Scottish Government official website.

The main guidance relating to visiting places on Scotland Off the Beaten Track includes...

ensuring you are at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your householdcarrying out outdoor activities either alone or with members of up to 2 other households at a time, while socially distancing
Many staffed sites and most accommodation is currently closed in line with official guidance. Different restrictions may apply in other countries, including other parts of the UK, so please follow the official advice where you are.


Please help us all stay safe while exploring Scotland. If your holidays or days out have been disrupted, we hope the thousands of attractions we feature online are useful for planning future trips.

Figgate Park

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City of Edinburgh | Portobello | Park | ★★

Figgate Park is one of those spots that doesn't look like much on a map, but turns out to be a really rewarding spot for a stroll. At its heart is a large pond converted from a clay pit, traversed by photogenically curvaceous boardwalks with views of the swan and goose hideout of Heron Island, backed by glimpses of a distant Arthur's Seat. A wildflower meadow, playground and tarmac footpaths along the Figgate Burn - with its own Badger Island - complete the package. Badgers seem unlikely (the island's tiny!), but otters are reportedly sighted in the pond at quiet times of day. On our visit, we were more than content with watching several treecreepers, swans, cygnets and herons amongst other birdlife.


Location & info

📌 Figgate Park★★
Off Hamilton Terrace (street parking), half a mile west of Portobello town centre, 3 mi east of Edinburgh Waverley staion, G.R.: NT 299736 ///apron.swan.pans
Always open | Free












Walk: Carnethy Hill - Pentlands ridge & reservoirs

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Midlothian | Pentland Hills | Half day walk | ★★★

Between the summits of Turnhouse Hill and West Kip, the southern edge of the Pentland Hills takes the form of a shapely ridge. On the sunny side, the Midlothian plains stretch towards the Lammermuir and Moorfoot Hills; on the northern side, grassy slopes fall away to an intimate cleft carved by the Logan Burn. Boasting two reservoirs and just a handful of farms and cottages, this fertile valley is perhaps the most charming part of the hill range - with rolling hills blocking any hint of Edinburgh, 10 miles distant - though the tarmac surface of the route along the burn is a little tedious for walkers feet. The route below only traverses the eastern half of the ridge - but an extension using part of our Scald Law and the Kips route could be incorporated into a lengthier round.


📌 Walk: Carnethy Hill - Pentlands ridge & reservoirs ★★★
Car park at Crawley Cottages, just off A702, 2 mi north of Penicuik, G.R.: NT 233631 ///shuttle.modes…

Penicuik

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Midlothian | Town | ★

Penicuik (Hill of the Cuckoo in Old Brythonic / southern Celtic - ahhh!) is today a sizeable commuter town for Edinburgh, sprawling along the foot of the Pentland Hills about 10 miles south of the capital. But it's original growth came thanks to paper making, with mills established along the River North Esk by the early 18th century; there's a small heritage museum on this subject, and conspicuously ornate cottages near the main bridge over the river are some of the original workers' accommodation. The centre is architecturally a bit patchy - with some fine old buildings but also a particularly uninspiring pedestrianised area - but the walk from here to Penicuik House is worthwhile, as are many nearby routes in the Pentlands.


Location

📌 Penicuik ★
Midlothian, G.R.: NT 236599 ///input.breed.nicely

🚶 The paper making museum is in the town centre. It's a 1.5 mi walk to Penicuik House, using our walking route linked below.
🚌 Penicuik is served by bus…

Walk: Penicuik paper trail

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Midlothian | Penicuik | Short walk | ★★★

This easygoing circuit links the paper making town of Penicuik with the ruined shell of Penicuik House (with cafe) and its beautiful estate. The sedate River North Esk is a pleasant companion on the outward leg, while woodland footpaths keep a respectful distance from the main road for the return route. Don't miss the short detour to a characterful, circular flag tower on a small hill above the road out of the estate, with glimpses of the Pentland Hills chain from its base.


📌 Walk: Penicuik paper trail ★★★
Start / finish at Junction of Bridge Street (A701) & Cairnbank Road (street parking), Penicuik town centre, G.R.: NT 236597 ///valued.jazzy.glory

▶ 6 km / 4 mi | ▲ 90 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy
Features: River North Esk; Penicuik House; Knight's Law tower; Penicuik & town sights
Terrain: Paths, tracks, quiet tarmac roads and pavements. Some mud and one shortish ascent from Low Pond to Penicuik House.

Route & map

Start - Low Pond via…