Update 19th December 2020 : New festive restrictions & Tier 4
We’d like to take you through the changes so that you can understand what might be a bit different during your stay at Eastside, what we are now expecting you to do and what we are doing at this time.
This year is going to be slightly different, but it doesn't mean you can't taste the best restaurants in your own cottage, support some fabulous local shops and producers or see some safe socially distanced attractions.
All around Edinburgh and the Lothians our little independent shops and attractions are slowly reopening and getting back on their feet. Here we have listed some of our favourites, all would be throughly delighted to see you.
Frosty mornings, long walks, Bonfire Night, St. Andrew's Day and some festive cheer...
At the building site
As with this entire year everything got put back as the country came to a stand still. We were closed for 3 months all cottages lay empty & the building work we had started stopped. We have started building again though, slowly and safely.
Gordon, Clifford and their team have the roof on & the drains in the two new bothies. Iain drawing beautiful architectural details as we go. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ as dad always says but we’ve made a good post lockdown start.
Everyday we feel lucky to live where we do.
Today while looking our sheep from a hilltop I could see a two pairs of curlew soaring in the valley, hundreds of little birds hopping about the wild grasses finding insects and grubs, the wheatears flitting over the old dykes, the odd plover with its head periscope-like above the grass and a buzzard carrying off a young hare. I also passed a great bank of bleaberries flowering on the hill and the first of the bracken shoots pushing up through the wild grass.
These things do not immediately present themselves though. You have to be slow, wait a while sat quietly, listen, look, and you will see the hills are not empty after all but teaming with life. I love the philosophy behind slow-living and exploring. You see so much more when you take your time.
The Pentland Hills: Their Paths & Passes
The photograph shows the pioneering mountaineer the Reverend AE Robertson at Eastside Farm road-end in 1946.
In 1885 the Scottish Rights of Way Society first surveyed paths, negotiated with the landowners and erected the first signposts to facilitate access on most of the Pentland paths. The same year they also published the first walking guide book to the Pentlands titled : The Pentland Hills: Their Paths & Passes. Copies of the guide were presented to the Edinburgh Trades Council for distribution amongst working men ‘in order that healthful enjoyment and recreation afforded by rights of way across the hills be better known.’ Now the hills are enjoyed by many all thanks to Rev Robertson, who was a bit of a dude by all accounts, he was also the first man to climb all the Munros in Scotland!
The Outlander series and books have amassed a huge following, thanks to both the captivating love story between Claire and Jamie but also the breath-taking landscapes that serve as a backdrop to their journey through time. But did you know that many of the memorable scenes from the TV series were actually shot in real-life locations near Eastside?
Selling our hill grown lambs and ewes is always a busy time of year. Then off to the tup sales to choose the fathers of next years lambs.
A mixed bag of lunch in town, country bites, speciality delis, farm shops and Sunday lunch gone posh! Some great ideas for eating well in and around Edinburgh at any rate...
Whether you are looking for the most swanky city spa or a delightfully rustic country spa day we've got it covered.
This morning we were playing hide and seek with the cloud as it rose and fell in the glens.
When the mist cleared we would grab a chance to move the binoculars over the ewes, checking each before the mist closed in again. Slowly moving through the clouds for closer inspections.
When above the cloud with the sun on my back I would be accompanied by a friendly Brocken Spectre. It was just him, me and the Pentland peaks for a while before the mist receded and we found some new born twins, up and running just a few hours old.
We have put together the perfect collection of wizarding and magical locations for fans of J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter. Using Eastside as a base, follow our must-see itineraries in Edinburgh and beyond.
We combine sublime Scottish scenery, magical architecture, filming locations, (owls!?) and some great places to eat along the way.
Looking for the best, seasonal British food but don't want to cook it? Get COOK to deliver it to your cottage door at Eastside.
Logs for the wood burning stoves
All of the timber we provide free to our guests in the cottages is grown and harvested on the farm. We also use a very efficient biomass gasifier to heat the Steading & Stable cottages fuelled using our own timber. When we have just planted 42,000 trees it doesn't get much more sustainable than that!
Press cuttings, travel blogs & reviews, online & in good old fashioned print. "...The cottage lights below beckoned us back down the ridge..." & more lovely words...
With Alexander Cowan's legacy of thoroughly ancient scots pines still gracing the hillsides we are now doing our bit, carrying on what he started in 1850!
Out of control wildfire Scald Law | Pentlands
Last July we rushed to put out a wildfire on the Scald Law with the help of the fire brigade. Having had some wild campers that were in the process of starting a fire!!... can we reiterate how important it is to not to light ANY fires or throw any cigarette butts/ glass etc onto the hillside. The ground come summer is so dry it is like a tinderbox, the damage to flora & fauna especially ground nesting birds at this time of year could have been devastating. We are so so grateful to the fast reactions of kind people & our wonderful fire brigade.
Autumn on the hill pasture
The autumn colours are often spectacular on a hill landscape with the purple of the heather, the orange browns of the bracken dying back for winter and the crimson and bleached ash of the hill grasses.
Festive cheer, entertainment, Christmas shopping, light-shows and fireworks! Amongst many other things...
The timings, the boys and the breeding. Tupping time on a Scottish hill farm.
Christmas tree harvest
The Eastside Christmas tree hunt : Harvested on the farm each year a few hours are usually spent walking the woodlands to make sure we get the perfect specimen for the Eastside farm yard. This years tree comes from the Braid Law hillside rising up the South side of our little glen. Now in situ looking just as spectacular in the farm yard as it did on the hill.
Hogmanay in Edinburgh / sledding / Burns Night ceilidhs among other things...
Heather on the hills needs managed for both the sheep and the grouse, plover and other wild birds we share it with.
6 Nations Rugby / evenings out at the theatre / Valentines Day among other things...
Mothers day celebrations/ family gatherings/ exhibitions galore among other things...
Spend Easter 2020 at Eastside, rolling eggs down the heather hills, hunting for the chocolate variety in Scotland's biggest maze, or getting the old lab coat on for Edinburgh's spectacular Science Festival!
Easter celebrations / Science festival fun/ Comic Con/ Fire festivals among other things...
Lambing ewes require our constant attention. Most lamb without intervention but we are always on hand if any need a little help. Learn about our 'lamb warming box' and other life saving lambing kit in our sheep-shed maternity hospital!
Spend a delightful weekend in the country, with family feasts, long walks, spa days and all the best of Edinburgh entertainment.
Lambing on the Farm / Arts festivals / Whisky & Beer Festivals / Children's theatre festivals among other things...
Warm summer days, Magic, Jazz and the Royal Highland 'spectacle' among other things...
This property is now under offer. An amazing opportunity to buy this beautiful cottage in one of the most stunning locations near Edinburgh. First time on the market. A former shepherd's cottage overlooking Loganlea Reservoir in the heart of the Pentland Hills Regional Park.
Shearing on the Farm / Magic & Jazz festivals / Carnival / The National Whisky Festival among other things...
Clipping at Eastside starts in June through July. With 1400 ewes, 400 hoggs & 30 tups, it's a lot of work!
Edinburgh Festivals galore / Heather hills in full bloom / Book festival / Military Tattoo among other things...
Cooler autumnal days, golden leaves, chances to see beyond the (usually closed) doors during Edinburgh's Doors Open Day among other things...