Heather Moors, Waterfalls & Peregrines
Duration: 3 hours aprox. Difficulty:
Experience the Scottish Highlands in miniature. Walk from the sheltered Eastside glen out onto wild heather moorland following the ancient drovers' road. Turn back into a steep-sided glen with rugged, rocky outcrops. There a picturesque waterfall and a river winds down to a wider valley with lochs, a scattering of quaint cottages and local pub at road end.
From Eastside farmyard head out past the kennels, past the sheep shed & over the ford. Head up the track on the right-of-way towards Balerno.
Don't forget to stop and look behind you as you progress up the hill. The views down the valley behind are well worth a snap or two.
Once you get to the top of the track or 'Poles' follow the track straight on. It's signed towards 'Balerno'. The track follows a fence-line out onto the moorland, home to the red & black grouse, snipe, & curlew.
A patient afternoon can be spent on the moor quietly observing these birds although they can often be heard (if not seen) as you pass through.
Turn of the road | Red Bridge | Red Gate
The road turns to the right, heads down to the red bridge, then up to the red gate. Cross the stile & leave Eastside for the time being. Follow the sandy track down the hill, crossing a few slightly boggy areas (with bridges!), as you make your way towards Bavelaw Castle.
As you head down the track, keeping the stone wall to your right, pass through a gate and towards woodland. The second gate lies on the woodland boundary. Once through this gate, turn right along a farm track signposted Balerno.
At the next junction an arrow-straight, tree-lined avenue follows the hill down toward Balerno. Follow the signs to Glencorse & Penicuik straight on and right at the corner toward Bavelaw Castle. Follow the castle wall past the entrance and through a gate onto the old pasture beyond. Head along the grassy track until it turns into a well worn footpath. Looking back offers glimpses of Bavelaw Castle in the trees.
Returning to Eastside | The Green Cleugh
The footpath heads through the rolling fields, gradually narrowing as the heather hills push the path into a narrow steep sided glen. This glen skirts the base of the Black hill and the Hare Hill.
Peregrines and Waterfalls
The Green Cleugh, with rugged rocky outcrops and picturesque waterfall, is home to the peregrines often seen hunting overhead. The waterfall on the Red Burn falls from the raised bog to the valley bottom. it is famed for its diverse and unusual flora as well as being a perfect picnicking spot. Following the meandering burn as the glen widens again into a wide grassy path towards Howe Cottage and Loganlea reservoir.
Just before you reach the Howe on the right of the glen, look for the vertical rock strata. Much of the Pentlands has a rich and interesting geology. More can be found here or from the British Geological Survey.
Flotterstone Glen / The finish
Leaving Eastside once again, pass the Howe following the road winding down the glen by the river. Pass the reservoirs lined with Scots pines, country cottages and bobbing fishing boats. Easy walking, slightly downhill and country-pub-bound - the Flotterstone Inn is a welcome sight!