A midweek facebook message from Davie a work colleague asking if I fancied a trek up to the Pentland Hills Regional Park just 10 minutes outside Edinburgh for a cycle there was only one answer...Aye!
The photo's will explain my enthusiasm, as I said the Pentlands are only 10 minutes from Edinburgh but you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in the middle of the Scottish Highlands.
Starting of from the car park & picking up free maps of various routes around the hills we set on our way.
Starting on our way & already Davie's breaking the speed limit !
Taking our chosen route which takes us around the local reservoirs, starting with the biggest uphill climb of the day.
The Ministry of Defence firing range within the hills, all quiet today though.
Castlelaw Hill Fort is an Iron Age fort with a souterrain built in one of the ditches. More than 2000 years old the fort has three concentric rings of ramparts & ditches girdle a low foothill. There are no signs of internal structures, but the middle ditch has a stone earth house built into a section of it.
Stunning views of the area, bottom picture of Glencoarse reservoir.
Still gaining height but nearly at the top & seem to be stopping every couple of minutes to take photos of these views !
Up & over now with a huge downhill but still having to stop for photo opportunities.
Views over part of Edinburgh.
(Top) The west end.
(Middle) A zoomed in shot of the iconic & world famous Forth Rail Bridge.
(Bottom) The east end of Edinburgh with Edinburgh castle top right of photo.
What a blast this was bombing down this loose gravel road at silly speeds almost out of control....Brilliant buzz !
The volcanic plug of Arthur's Seat.
The routes seem to be well signposted but we still managed to take a wrong turn !
Some tricky rooty paths to negotiate along the wrong turn, but just part of the exploratory fun of mountain biking :-) An owl nest box high up in the pine tree.
More views over Edinburgh's west end.
Passing by Bonaly reservoir, of all the reservoirs that we passed on this route they all seemed to be well below there average level.
Great trails throughout the hills, not too challenging but great just to admire the scenery at a nice pace along the way, MoD warning sign & Glencoarse reservoir.
Lots of marked out cycle routes as there are parts that the park authorities request that cyclists stay clear of due to some areas being vulnerable to erosion & the vegetation takes a long time to re-establish.
Harlaw reservoir with some cormorants sitting digesting their last meal, cormorants are a real pest to trout fisheries due to the quantity of trout that they take, a license has to be obtained to shoot them if they are a persistent problem.
Threipmuir reservoir situated right next to Harlaw reservoir & now for a bit of a hill slog.
Climbing up hill through an avenue of beech trees we spotted loads of different types of colourful fungi growing around the trees.
Stopping for a wee breather before pushing on.
The hills showing their autumn colours with the trail meandering between them.
Spotted this strange looking fungus that looked like plastic poking through the grass, never seen one like this before.
The 'Howe waterfall' which as the sign highlights how the land around the waterfall had become eroded & native plant species were in decline due to people scrambling up paths & sheep grazing beside the waterfall, a fence was erected in 1992 to stop people & sheep & now native species have regenerated this area.
The last wee bit of off road before the return road back to the car park & Davie getting his feet wet !
Loganlea trout fishery my favourite fishing venue. I've had a great catch record here at this water drifting down the wind lanes in the boat, but as a cyclist or pedestrian as the sign says you have to keep an eye on the bank anglers back casting, you don't want to get hooked, been there done that & it's not nice.
A little historical information about Kirkton farm & back to the begining again at Glencoarse reservoir.
A brilliant day spent cycling around the Pentland hills,I hope you enjoyed the blog as much as Davie & myself did cycling around it, will be back to this place very soon as it's only a half hour from my home.
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, until the next adventure keep on pedaling :-)