Castlelaw Hill Fort

Midlothian | Penicuik | Hill fort & earth house | ★★★

[Castlelaw Hill Fort and the entrance to the souterrain]

Castlelaw Hill Fort is a large, iron age fort at the summit of one of the Pentlands' eastern foothills. What sets it apart from most other hill forts is a 1,500 or 2,000 year-old earth house or souterrain (essentially an underground passageway possible once used for storage) incorporated into one of the defensive ditches. You can still explore inside if you're prepared to stoop a little - the ceiling has been artificially raised so you don't need to crawl! A very short side branch accesses a large chamber in addition to the 20-metre long main passageway. Back outside, it's easy to see why the fort was constructed here: views from here over rural Midlothian and into the heart of the hill range around Carnethy Hill and Glencorse Reservoir are both excellent. Tracing the actual earthworks is a little difficult: the best views are from the elevated ground immediately to the north. A short distance to the west is the boundary of a military firing range: although the fort is safe to visit, venturing inside the danger zone is forbidden on firing days (look out for red flags).

[Inside the souterrain]

Location & info

📌 Castlelaw Hill Fort ★★★
Off minor road end 3 mi north of Penicuik, G.R.: NT 229639 ///chambers.chugging.seasons
Open daily | Free

💬 There's space to park near Castlelaw Farm (don't block access) at G.R.: NT 230638 ///dried.table.graphic it's a few-minute uphill walk on either a wide track or a grassy path to the fort.

[View into the Pentland Hills from the fort]

[Side chamber]

[Main passage]

[Military firing range below Castlelaw Hill]

[A greener view (24/1/12)]


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