Walk: Capelaw & Castlelaw - Kirk Burn round

Midlothian / City of Edinburgh | Pentland Hills | Half day walk | ★★★

[Midlothian from Castlelaw Hill]

Situated either side of the cleft of the Kirk Burn, Capelaw Hill and Castlelaw Hill are outlying tops of the slightly higher and more prominent Allermuir Hill. The former's summit panorama lacks depth due to its flat surroundings, while much of the latter's southern side is a military firing range! These unfashionable features have an advantage on busy days however: they are usually relatively crowd-free while still offering great views into the heart of the Pentlands - and this circuit keeps out of the MoD estate, so can be used even when the red "Keep Out!" flags are flying. Our route starts by tracing the pretty shores of Glencorse Reservoir, while the return leg calls at Castlelaw Hill Fort, featuring a souterrain (ancient, underground storage passage) which is well worth viewing. Those with surplus energy could easily incorporate the busier trig point of Allermuir Hill itself (though we prefer climbing this hill from its more charismatic north side).

[View southwest into the Pentlands from Capelaw Hill]

Location & info

📌 Walk: Capelaw & Castlelaw - Kirk Burn round ★★★
Crawley Cottages, just off A702 2 mi north of Penicuik, G.R.: NT 232631 ///shuttle.modest.blown
🚌 Bus stops nearby on A702 | 🚗 Car park at start, or at Castlelaw Hill Fort elsewhere on the route

▶ 10 km / 6 mi | ▲ 400 m | ⌚ Half a day
Features: Glencorse Reservoir; △ Capelaw Hill (454 m); △ Castlelaw Hill (488 m); Castlelaw Hill Fort ★★★
Moderate | Clear paths & tracks throughout, but some steep, rough or boggy sections, especially on Castlelaw Hill. Tough route for this grade.

Route: Start - path through The Glen - Glencorse Reservoir - Knightfield Rig - Phantom's Cleugh - Capelaw Hill from the west - skirt Fala Knowe - Castlelaw Hill - Castlelaw Hill Fort - start

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On our visit

Wildlife: Little grebes, cormorants and geese on Glencorse Reservoir. Sheep, robins, treecreepers.
Weather: Sparkling sunshine and lying snow; temperature just below freezing.

Chronological photo guide

[Path just beyond the car park]

[The Glen]

[Glencorse Reservoir]

[Turnhouse Hill (left) from Knightfield Rig]

[Capelaw Hill (left)]

[Castlelaw Hill (right) & the Kirk Burn]

[Phantom's Cleugh]

[Capelaw Hill]

[View southwest into the Pentlands from Capelaw Hill]

[West Lothian seen from Capelaw Hill]

[View over Edinburgh]

[The way down from Capelaw Hill has good views of Allermuir Hill]

[Looking down the Kirk Burn]

[Capelaw Hill from the ascent to Castlelaw Hill]

[Allermuir Hill (left) & Caerketton Hill (right) from Castlelaw Hill]

[Heart of the Pentlands]

[The steep descent from Castlelaw Hill has grand views of Midlothian]

[Looking back up Castlelaw Hill]

[Turnhouse Hill (left) from the descent]

[Castlelaw Hill Fort]

[Contrasting colours]


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